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The Highest Controversy in the World

It is a topic that inevitably comes up with every solemn conversation; one I have often heard my parents broach upon with friends over coffee, dinner, or a simple walk. Somehow, (when outside of politics), it comes up casually and conversationally… although this question evokes the highest controversy in the World.
What are your thoughts on the Death Penalty?
As a young girl, (upon hearing adults discuss this concept that leads its way into small-talk), I pushed the horrible thought out of my head. Being youthful and naive, I did not want to hear of people dying, regardless of their crime. I also despised the fact that there were people who existed evil enough to deserve death. And so, quietly listening in to the adult’s discussion and playing with my Barbie dolls, I began to think of my own opinion:
The Death Penalty was a cruel, unforgivable punishment. Yes- there are bad people in the World. But nobody deserves death! My heart ached at the thought of a person being sentenced to death. I put myself in the shoes of a murderer, and felt the pain they must feel once given the set time they were sentenced to be killed. I did not care of whatever crime they had committed, but to think of punishment by death was sickening.
I grew, (as people do with food and water), and suddenly, my opinion changed to the polar opposite. Perhaps it was under the influence of my parents, or maybe it was the fact that I was becoming aware of how cruel and evil people can truly be. Whatever it was, I came up with a harsh and controversial opinion on this horrible subject:
I saw the Death Penalty as being justifiable and even necessary. I put a lot of thought into this opinion, and was proud of my conclusion. I realized that there were some people who simply did not deserve to live.
Life is a privilege that people both abuse and treat.But breathing still a gift, and we are put on this Earth to help each other- not harm them. There are people (such as Hitler and Saddam Hussein) that do not warrant that right. They deliberately took away the lives of other people, and ruined countless numbers as well. They deserved to die. Full stop. Without question.
There are few angels and devils in this World. But those selective few that really are cruel, I felt, deserved death. I am not talking about misdemeanors. Humans do bad things, which is why they are given a second chance. But I know that, unfortunately, there are some humans who are sick enough to deliberately ruin- or take- a person’s life. Those people, who murder ruthlessly, do not deserve even to breath.
But this causes another controversy! I worded my recent sentence as people meriting the death penalty being “sick.” They are, without denial, incredibly mentally ill. Who, in the right mind, would be so cruel as to murder? A person who is sane and mentally stable would not assassinate. A person in the right mind would not kill by torture, weapon, hate-crimes, rape, kidnapping, and so on. So, is the “murderer” in any given case deserving of the death penalty? It’s debatable that whoever committed the crime needs major help- and not death.
But murder is murder. A molester, kidnapper, hijacker, or terrorist is knowingly killing a person. Does that alone make them deserve the death penalty- despite their mental state (which is unarguably disturbed)?
Mentally retarded citizens do not receive the death penalty for capital offense. And the death penalty is not just handed out. The evidence towards the accused murderer must be absolute. All facts must insure that the killer in question knowingly, purposefully, and needlessly committed murder. Once this is all done- and the accused has been proven guilty- then the death penalty is given. And this only happens after years following the crime.
And so- with the controversy that has no right or wrong answer- I decided to become opinion less. I have no outlook on the death penalty, because I haven’t deciphered right from wrong in this case. There are people who deserve to die. Those words seem harsh and unfitting, coming out of my fourteen-year-old, quiet and calm mouth. And yet, it is something I have not questioned for a while. A person who knowingly and needlessly takes a life does not merit the right of living. Also, the death penalty renders people into fear of committing murder, so they don’t act upon it. Yet, I could not get the thought out of my head that a murderer is mentally ill. And mentally ill people need physiotherapy. Maybe some people are just cruel and evil, maybe they are crazy. I cannot let go of the anger I have for suicide bombers, assassinates, rapists, and terrorists—and there is no doubt that they need to be locked up. But death? Is that really for us, human beings, to decide?
It is not our choice to kill another person. Life is so precious…we cannot take it away… even from a person who definitely deserves it. Besides, a life-time sentence to living in a barred, expose prison with no rights certainly is not living. Nor is the constant guilt that a killer will have to live with forever more.
I am so glad I do not have to worry about this! But the Death Penalty does exist. It is a beautiful and hideous thing in this world that we can decide such systems for ourselves. But, in order to obviate this concept, we must strive to be the best that we can be. And… by that… I mean: Don’t spy, rape, terrorize, assault, or murder under any circumstance. It seems crazy to preach people upon such an obvious fact. But then why are actual horror stories all over the news? These things happen every day.
Yet, with kindness, agreement and compromises, there is no need for someone to kill. So make the best out of your life, and devote it only to goodness. One day, little children will not have to consider the death penalty while playing with toys- nor will adults have to discuss it over coffee. It will be a world up peace. Nobody will ever again have to live in trepidation.
Until then, however, the Death Penalty is just part of life. No pun intended.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm
I have to agree with the younger you. Although, perhaps it is wisest to hold no opinion. I encourage to read my article on the topic in about a week, the one currently 'pending approval.'
 
Thesilentraven This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 24, 2010 at 6:53 pm

You brought up many good points here, on both sides of the argument. But I think I have to agree with the younger you. I, also, think that anyone who would kill or rape is not in their right mind.

Maybe it is wisest not to have an opinion for the time being. The only thing is: if you held the needle that would end a person's life and you looked into their sad and fearful eyes, would you still inject them?

 
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