Capital Punishment This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

December 31, 2009
Since her founding, America’s citizens have always debated with a fiery yet unyielding air. This mindset has led our fine country through the direst of experiences; from declaring our independence from England’s tyranny, to battling with today’s heinous hordes of terrorists that fight to see us fall, the firm stance we take has always held. This state of mind stretches farther than the battlefield of course. Philosophers, lawyers, writers, and soccer moms alike, the people of America use their strong wills to further their stance in all areas. The topic of capital punishment, however, receives criticism and praise alike, without ever obtaining a definite consensus. The state sanctioned execution of murderers has always been a controversial subject, as some individuals are no longer able to see the obvious decision that must be made. Some have taken America’s persistent manner to such extents that they become blind to the logic and reason that must be seen. Unfortunately, there are those who are merely veiled beneath a screen of false morality, self indulgence, and misinterpreted religion; although some people value the life of a murder victim, others prefer to give their resources and energies towards the protection of the murderer.
When attempting to justify an opposition to capital punishment, many question the morality of killing a murderer; notice, though, that this is inquired while no words are spoken about the morality of the murderer’s actions. What distorted form of logic is this? If executing a murderer is immoral, why are the murderer’s violent acts not considered astronomically worse? If the victim’s life is to be honored and valued to any degree, then the murderer must receive in full that which they were eager to dispense. Sentencing anything less is an absolute insult to the victim and his survivors, and reveals just how highly a person values human life.
Despite illogical protests about the morality of capital punishment, there are those who bring the legitimate concern of its possible contradictions to religious teachings. Contrary to popular believe, none of the three major religious philosophies instruct against executing murderers. In fact, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all instruct their followers to enact capital punishment. Certainly, one of the Ten Commandments reads, “though shall not kill”; however, this verse is not opposing the death penalty (Teaching New Testament Ministries). The Ten Commandments is a guideline by which Christians are to live, and this particular commandment reprimands those that would take an innocent life (Teaching New Testament Ministries). On the issue of executed murderers, however, the Bible is quite clear. Exodus 20: 12 of the Holy Bible states, “Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death.” This exact verse is included in the Jewish Talmud as well. In the Koran, the Muslim is instructed, “O you who believe, equivalence is the law decreed for you when dealing with murder – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the female for the female” (Koran 2:178). Those who assert that religions speak against capital punishment should probably spend a few days researching the subject first.
Another legitimate worry brought up when dealing with the capital punishment is the cost. Fearful that executing criminals may lighten their wallets – a genuine worry with today’s unstable economy – many favor life without parole in an effort to save their hard-earned resources. Admittedly, the annual costs of a death penalty case are larger than those of a life without parole case, $26,000 larger in fact (Justice for All). Unfortunately, most of the attacks on expenses of capital punishment stem from this fact alone, and a crucial point is missed. The thirty four thousand dollar cost of a life without parole case is taken from citizens every year until the inmate’s death; with the average convict living for fifty years, America’s people would pay 1,710,000 dollars per inmate, and this doesn’t even include state tax or trial and appeal costs (Justice for All). Logic applied to the most basic of mathematics clearly concludes that those whose concerns are primarily economic ought to favor capital punishment over life without parole.
Not only cost effective, capital punishment is also a prime deterrent to future crimes; however, relatively few people belief this to be true. With a seemingly endless list of assault, murder, and other violent crimes streaming out of the morning news stations, why would they? Yet looking at true criminal statistics reveals that capital punishment is in fact a great murder deterrent, especially when shown next to crimes not punishable by death, such as forcible rape. Between the years 1960 and 1965, the average number of state sanctioned executions was thirty-one, with the average number of annual murders staying at 8890; large numbers to be sure, but when weighed against the next fifteen years, things are put into perspective (Federal Bureau of Investigation). During years 1966 to 1980, executions in the United States went into a lull, with a total of six during these fifteen years. Simultaneously, as the number of executions dropped, the average murder rate per year soared to twenty one thousand, two hundred and sixty three murders per year (Federal Bureau of Investigation). Once capital punishment became used more frequently again, the murder rate slowly began to drop.
Overall, support of capital punishment is unquestionably the means in which murderers should be dealt justice. Aside from its cost efficiency, religious support, and use as a crime deterrent, capital punishment is the most ethical form of justice American applies. In order to adequately show our appreciation for human life itself, we can only give to the murderer an equivalence of what he gave to his victim. Consider this: you are the victim’s brother, his sister, his coworker, his friend. How do you respond to the loss of someone so close to you? Would you let their murderer live on? What if the victim was you?

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This article has 23 comments. Post your own now!

Sacrifice said...
Jun. 18, 2011 at 11:02 pm

"To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice."
-Desmond Tutu

"Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders."
-Albert Camus, French philosopher

What gives us the choice of who lives and who dies? By allowing the death penalty, we become worse than the murderers we are slaugtering.

NighttimeVesper replied...
Feb. 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm
I'm in total agreement with you.
Templar314 said...
Apr. 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm
This essay shows pity for the friends and relatives of murder victims, but what about the friends and relatives of murderers? I expect that if one knew someone who was executed, one would feel the same way as if one had known someone who was murdered. The death penalty can create as much sorrow as schadenfreude.
crawfordkid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm
I know it would hurt to have a son or daughter be sentenced to death - but would it really hurt as much as the knowledge that they are a murderer? I do feel sorrow for those whose loved ones are put to death by the law, but I feel even more sorrow for those who had loved ones that lost there lives for no reason at all.
little-miss-sunshine said...
Mar. 3, 2010 at 5:28 pm
Sorry to disagree with you but my personal opinion is we think murderers are bad for taking a life yet the people who take the murderers life are doing the same thing. To add on to that what if a mistake was made? What if a guy or girl was accused of murdering some one when really they didn't do it at all. Then we would be taking an innocent person's life. The article was definitely well written, but I disagree with your opinion. I must warn you though before you begin to contradict me... (more »)
crawfordkid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 3, 2010 at 6:32 pm
Thanks, I'm glad you liked the writting - I definitly appreciate it. I still must disagree with you though...
I'll be the first to admit that in the past, there have been occasional mistakes made, where the evidence brought forth truly was inadequate for conviction. However, what many people fail to realise is that one of the main contributions to the cost of capital punishment is the fact that the trial must be conducted repeatedly to ensure fair and true convictions. And now... (more »)
little-miss-sunshine replied...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 6:27 pm
So you're saying that someone who is murdering a murderer isn't bad? So they are committing the crime but they didn't "Start it" so that's okay. They can take a life, but they have a reason so it doesn't matter. (Hint: that was sarcasm) It doesn't matter what the person has done, they are still human and deserve the same respect. I understand that what they have done is horrid, of course, but we have to forgive. they aren't going to learn their lesson... (more »)
crawfordkid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 6, 2010 at 1:32 pm
I am in fact saying that someone who is enacting capital punishment against a murderer is not bad. Why? Because I believe that if we are unwilling to give a murderer what the same that they gave to their victim, we are not showing the respect and value to that victim's life that is deserved. And you're second sentece is incorrect logically, as those who carry out capital punishment are not comitting an unlawful crime. No, I never said it can be done because the executioners didn'... (more »)
little-miss-sunshine replied...
Mar. 7, 2010 at 3:37 pm
Sorry about the putting words into your mouth thing. I didn't mean that's what you were saying I thought maybe if you read it that way you would see that it's not okay, but I didn't put it in a context that looked like that, did I? Sorry.
You said you must respect the victim's life yet it is not only the victim's life that should be respected it is everybody's life, including the murderer's. That's what I was trying to say in my last post. One ... (more »)
little-miss-sunshine replied...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 3:37 pm
I'm sorry about how repetitive I'm getting I just never get your point of view so I say mine again. It's a pretty bad tactic, I know.
crawfordkid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 7:46 pm
I respect the victim's life as they are innocent victims who are no longer able to fulfill their role as beneficial and productive members of society, are no longer able to spend time loving others and being loved, raising families, or grow old with those they loved.
The murderer, however, has lived a corrupt life, cutting away threads in the lace of life with often less than a whim, never caring of the life lost, the families uprooted, the lives worlds upheaved.
That, little-... (more »)
little-miss-sunshine replied...
Mar. 13, 2010 at 8:47 am
If someone truly is bad, murdering more than once without thought, I agree that is horrible but first they should be given chance to change. A chance to understand their actions, and fix them. I think these people should be put in jail and then told their is no way of them getting out, and council them to try to get them to see their wrong. If they don't believe this is going to help them get out of jail they will be serious and won't lie about their thoughts (hopefully). Also there a... (more »)
little-miss-sunshine replied...
Mar. 13, 2010 at 8:47 am
Okay , so I know counciling them mught not work, but it's worth a try.
crawfordkid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm
Words can't begin to describe how much I disagree with you on that. Counciling? Really? I mean come on, if I REALLY didn't like someone - to the point that I had violent thoughts - I would have no second thoughts on murder if I knew the worst I had to look forward to was prison and counsiling. 3 square meals a day? Gyms? Visits from the fam. and friends? Sounds nearly as good as life know...I wouldn't even need a job!
No, attempting to councile murderers in place of capit... (more »)
Destinee This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 24, 2010 at 6:53 pm
Sorry to invade on what is obviously between you two, but quite honestly, I think that a life sentence is much more inhumane than death. To be stuck in a cell your whole life with no chance of ever getting out isn't exactly humane.
Also, you've got to try to put off potential murderers. The thought of dying is much more likely to prevent murderers from killling than the thought of (as crawfordkid mentioned) getting fed, having a bed, etc, in a prison.
crawfordkid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm
Thank you destinee. *bows*
little-miss-sunshine replied...
Apr. 1, 2010 at 5:02 pm
Sorry for the long break in my replies. I have decided this arguement is pointless, as I know that sadly, I cannot change your mind. And as stubborn as I am there is no way to change my mind. If you still want to continue I will keep writing, but i think it's pointless. Sorry.
crawfordkid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 1, 2010 at 5:17 pm
No worries, I've been really busy lately, so I was gonna suggest continuing it at a later date anyway.
Hopefully one day you'll change your mind and come to the good side, but if you're as stubborn as I am, I won't hold my breath. ;-)
Happy Thursday!
DreamWriter15 replied...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm

So...I was just reading this and I know no one will probably bother to answer me, but I hafta say I agree with crawfordkid.  The person, regardless of how or why or whether or not it was an accident, killed another person.  That other person may have been a terrible person, too, but the point has been made that a murder has been committed.  That person deserves to die.  End of story.  Sure, the family may hate the government for killing their son/father/br... (more »)

Lost-In-Life replied...
Jun. 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Actually you are going to be answered! Hurray! One thing not so related to this topic is that I think you made a very sexist point when you stated the family may hate the government for killing their son/father/brother/ect. You completely excluded the girls from this statement making it seem like boys are the only killers. 


Anyway back on the topic of this article you said at the beginning of your post "whether or not it was an accident... the murderer deserves to di... (more »)

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