Capital Punishment Is Dead Wrong MAG

July 27, 2008
By Olivia Hoeft, Oneida, WI

Murder is wrong. Since childhood we have been taught this indisputable truth. Ask yourself, then, what is capital punishment? In its simplest form, capital punishment is defined as one person taking the life of another. Coincidentally, that is the definition of murder. There are 36 states with the death penalty, and they must change. These states need to abolish it on the grounds that it carries a dangerous risk of punishing the innocent, is unethical and barbaric, and is an ineffective deterrent of crime versus the alternative of life in prison without parole.

Capital punishment is the most ­irreparable crime governments perpetrate without consequence, and it must be abolished. “We’re only ­human, we all make mistakes,” is a commonly used phrase, but it is tried and true. Humans, as a species, are famous for their mistakes. However, in the case of the death penalty, error becomes too dangerous a risk. The innocent lives that have been taken with the approval of our own government should be enough to abolish capital punishment.

According to Amnesty International, “The death penalty legitimizes an irreversible act of violence by the state and will inevitably claim innocent victims.” If there is any chance that error is possible (which ­there always is), the drastic measure of capital ­punishment should not be taken. Also, it is too final, meaning it does not allow opportunity for th accused to be proven innocent, a violation of the Fifth Amendment which guarantees due process of law.

District Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ­argued against the death penalty: “In brief, the Court found that the best available evidence indicates that, on the one hand, innocent people are sentenced to death with materially greater frequency than was previously supposed and that, on the other hand, convincing proof of their innocence ­often does not emerge until long after their convictions. It is therefore fully foreseeable that in enforcing the death penalty a meaningful number of innocent people will be executed who otherwise would eventually be able to prove their innocence.”

As humans, we are an inevitable force of error. However, when a life is at stake, error is not an option. The death penalty is murder by the government. As a nation, we have prided ourselves in our government, its justice and truth. However, can we continue to call our government fair if we do not hold it to the same rules we do its people? Murder by a citizen will have consequences, yet a government-approved ­murder is not only acceptable, but enforceable. What message do we send the American people, and other countries, for that matter, if we continue to be a ­nation that kills its citizens, a nation that enforces the most barbaric form of punishment?

The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty states, “We don’t cut off the hands of thieves to ­protect property; we do not stone adulterers to stop adultery. We consider that barbaric. Yet we continue to take life as a means of protecting life.” No person, government-affiliated or not, has the right to decide if another human is worthy or unworthy of life. Our natural rights as humans, which cannot be taken away by the government, include the right to life. Humans are not cold metal coins that lose value; no act, no matter how heinous, can make a person less of a human being. However, for most it is easy to ­forget that each of the 1,099 executed since 1977 are fellow humans, not just numbers.

According to Amnesty International, “The death penalty violates the right to life.” Capital punishment contradicts our moral beliefs and claims of a fair and just government. The U.S. must join its political ­allies – including Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, South Africa, and most of Latin America – that have abolished the death penalty.

The death penalty is favored by some as an effective deterrent of crime; however, it is proven that states with the death penalty actually have higher murder rates than those without. It is proven that our nation does not need this extreme threat of punishment to prevent crime. In 2006, the FBI Uniform Crime Report revealed that the area of the U.S. that was responsible for the most executions (the South with 80 percent) also had the highest murder rate, whereas the Northern areas that had the fewest ­executions (less than one percent), had the lowest murder rates.

It can be said that the death penalty is the most overlooked form of government hypocrisy; we murder people who murder people to show that murder is wrong. It is this contradiction in policy that confuses criminals and undermines any crime deterrence capital punishment was intended to have.

Many people favor the death penalty as reparation for the wrong done to a victim’s family; however, in most cases, closure is not the result. Losing a loved one, no matter how that person is lost, is unbearable, irrevocable, and shattering. Pain like this is shocking and the victim’s family holds onto the hope that the execution of the murderer will bring relief and closure. Nevertheless, when execution day arrives, the pain is not eased. No relief can be gained, for their pain is an unavoidable, natural process of life. Victims’ families have founded such groups as the Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation and The Journey of Hope, which oppose the death penalty. They ­believe that they are different from those who have taken their loved ones and they demonstrate their ­difference by refusing to sink to a murderer’s level.

Capital punishment is immoral and a violation of natural rights. It is wrong for everyone involved: the prosecuted innocent, criminals, victims’ families, and our nation. We need to replace the death penalty and capital punishment with life without parole, a safer and more inexpensive option. The death penalty does not guarantee safety for innocent victims, it does not follow the goals and promises of our nation, it does not effectively deter crime, and it does not give closure to victims’ families. Nothing good comes of hate, and nothing good can ever come from capital punishment. It cannot continue to be accepted by a nation that claims to have liberty and justice for all. The death penalty is murder on the sly and it’s dead wrong.



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This article has 472 comments.


on Jun. 19 2012 at 6:23 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

How will this help us resolve anything? I think that's what the author wants to get across. Let's say - for the sake of arguement - that the death penalty is indeed okay (which it definitely is not). Why use the electric chair? Just to cause them physical pain? You don't think they've been mentally tormented enough? Sitting in jail for years and years, waiting for your sentence to be carried out, is torture in itself. Which leads me back to why the death penalty is necessary. Is it really just to cause them physical pain? To get back at them? If you're sane, you'll see that that's simply not logical.

on Jun. 19 2012 at 6:18 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

I can state my sources, when I say that it doesn't deter crime in certain states. Just go to deathpenaltyinfo.org. They're website that shows stats about the death penalty. And trust me, there are plenty of facts and percentages and any hard evidence you may need to see. So have fun checking out that source!

on Jun. 19 2012 at 6:15 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

Well said. Well said indeed.

on Jun. 19 2012 at 6:11 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

So... Our government should be punished severely? They choose to kill every time they execute someone who was sentenced to the death penalty. Just saying.

on Jun. 19 2012 at 6:11 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

That's what the trial is for - to determine whether or not someone should be sentenced to the death penalty. The real issue at hand here is whether or not capital punishment should be allowed, which, clearly, it should not be.

on Jun. 10 2012 at 8:22 pm
Caleb.Andrews, London, Other
0 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
Multi vad, putini pricep.

*repetition

on Jun. 10 2012 at 8:22 pm
Caleb.Andrews, London, Other
0 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
Multi vad, putini pricep.

That saying makes absolutely no logical sense; unless, of course, you are willing to provide such sense. I have heard this quote many times, but repitition and popularity do not necessarily form the premise for sound or reasonable arguments.

on Jun. 10 2012 at 8:16 pm
Caleb.Andrews, London, Other
0 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
Multi vad, putini pricep.

I could not have said this better myself! I agree completely.

on Jun. 5 2012 at 1:05 pm
swcricket98 GOLD, Williamson, Georgia
13 articles 17 photos 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

I absolutely disagree. I understand that the mindset for today's society just happens to be that you shouldn't kill, but it truly is necessary in certain cases. Take Saddam Hussein, for example. Did he deserve to sit in jail for the rest of his life with friends, outdoor time, and 3 square meals a day, or did he deserve to have a painless death, which was much better than what he did to his victims? Yes, he was hanged by his people, but it would have been the same over here. We waste too much money feeding and housing mass murderers (psychotic people) with no hope of getting out or recovering for what? If the person has a hope of changing his ways, then by all means keep him in jail, but there is no reason for the US to waste our valuable resources and facilities to house and feed maniacs.

Redeem'cion said...
on May. 29 2012 at 4:09 am
Matthew 5:38-39 (KJV)

Redeem'cion said...
on May. 29 2012 at 4:06 am
If it was built on the Bible, then wouldn't that mean Capital Punishment is wrong? 

Redeem'cion said...
on May. 29 2012 at 4:03 am
:) Sup! 

on Feb. 28 2012 at 2:08 pm
thelogicoflove SILVER, Camden, South Carolina
7 articles 0 photos 15 comments
An eye for an eye will make the world blind.

123Sesame said...
on Feb. 27 2012 at 6:08 pm
123Sesame, New York, New York
0 articles 0 photos 36 comments
This country was built upon the law and principles of the God and the Bible. Haven't you ever taken a glance at The Declaration of Independence? 

on Feb. 13 2012 at 2:18 pm
LivingforGodsince2003, BRONZE, Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee
2 articles 0 photos 10 comments
I agree. I got in a big debate with my guy friend over this today. He said it should be used more.

on Feb. 2 2012 at 9:50 pm
BuddyJiles BRONZE, Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Since when did the Bible control the USA ?

on Feb. 2 2012 at 9:48 pm
BuddyJiles BRONZE, Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 3 comments
First off the Bible does teach peace, but with many contradictions and flaws. And you say that there is not enough room in prison, I know the reason. Marijuana and other drugs usage being a crime. Also, if you as a Christian claim to love and accept all people then why would you support there death? But revenge is not the answer let karma pan out and give them a second chance. How about you think about your true beliefs and values before claiming yourself a Christian.

RedDaisy said...
on Jan. 28 2012 at 2:38 am
RedDaisy, Guayanilla, Other
0 articles 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's not just having the courage; you also need the strength. What's the point of having courage if you lose and can't get back up after the first fail?" -Me-

A local TV show in my country stated that Death Penalty should be brought in to fight crime. But they do not analyze why there is so much crime. Social problems, economy, no jobs...these things make a man/woman turn to the things they should not turn to for help, such as drugs and stealing. And yet what will Death Penalty do? Justice for the rich. The law will sway to one extreme of the scale: greed, money, and power. An innocent, hard working man will not have money to pay for a lawyer; a person who sells drugs will. Justice for the rich is no justice at all.

on Jan. 25 2012 at 6:59 pm
savetheplanet PLATINUM, Anaheim, California
45 articles 9 photos 565 comments

Favorite Quote:
It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

I completely agree, the death penalty is a horrible form of punishment that stops nothing and only endangers the innocent. It even costs more than just locking them up!

on Jan. 24 2012 at 6:56 pm
ThunderBOLT12 BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 6 comments
In a perfect world, there would be no need for a death penalty because no one would kill. But this isn't a perfect world, and Unfortunately there needs to be a death penalty. P.S. Kiersten, ROGATE rules!


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