The Death Penalty

March 12, 2010
By frogloe BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
frogloe BRONZE, Reno, Nevada
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The life of one human being is generally very valued; however we lose millions of lives around the world and in the United States. People die for various reasons such as car accidents, crashes, disease, poisoning, unfortunate accidents, murders, and even the death penalty. A trend is clear in these deaths; most of them are up to chance and are for the most part random. Clearly though, there are those few deaths that are caused by the human hands. Some human caused deaths are horrifying murders and others are of the hypocritical death penalty, where our own justice system decides the fate of a very mislead man.

The death penalty is not to be lightly considered. Hundreds of people a year are executed by the justice system every year here in our own country. In fact according to recent statistics we’re in the top five for death penalty executions. In 2008 we killed less than a hundred and that was our lowest amount in several years. Since 1976 we have killed 1194 people. Our very own country has deliberately killed over one thousand people in a little over 30 years! How could our country hold such horrifying statistics? The US should not be executing at all and should it be entirely necessary our death penalty numbers should not be so high! According to a 2008 statistics chart we are only beaten by China and a few Middle Eastern countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. It’s shocking to know just how heartless our country can be.

The fact that we have killed many people as punishment alone feels unjust and is frankly terrifying. But these statistics one skim the surface of this deeply disturbing issue. Now why do we execute all of these criminals? A majority of the offenses committed that lead to the death penalty are related to first degree murder or some other type of murder. Already this would prove the death penalty to be highly hypocritical. But why does the death penalty exist in the first place? According to many of its supporters the death penalty should remain an active punishment because it’s cheaper and it helps any suffering families cope with their loss. Suffering families cope with their loss… wouldn’t that mean that the death penalty is not only hypocritical but extremely revenge orientated. The truth is the death penalty is indirectly the legal revenge murder.
Next the supporters mention the cost which is quite a useless point to make in the first place. Generally the cost to kill somebody is actually higher than just keeping them in prison for life due to the many processes it takes to make the execution allowable and the cost of simply killing the criminal in the first place. It is proven that it costs $90,000 more to sentence an inmate to death that it does to keep him in prison without parole annually. One case in Maryland cost $37 million just to kill one man. That fact out of the way this suggests that we value that cold green paper in our pockets more than the life of a human being.
In the human heart there is almost always good no matter what has happened. No human being deserves to die no matter what he’s done in the past. There’s always room for a change, even if this criminal spends the rest of his life dwelling in a prison he can still consider his life and change. He has a chance to consider everything he’s done and spend the last years of his life as a new person, even if it’s behind bars. Even while confined within a single building the possibilities are still endless. To take all of those possibilities away is unthinkable.

Should any of these facts be proven wrong the question still remains; is the death penalty even effective? According to many studies it can actually be the complete opposite. It has been found that the existence of the death penalty has actually increased the amount of crimes committed in those states. A recent study in California found that during the years the death penalty was enforced the number homicides actually doubled. Clearly the death penalty is not an effective punishment or threat in fact I believe that the existence of it sometimes challenges murderers to kill or gives them new reasons. I’m not entirely sure of their motives but they never the less prove that death penalty certainly doesn’t reduce crime.
Another factor of its effectiveness would be innocence. What if an innocent person is accused and sentenced to death? It’s not impossible; in fact it has occurred a number of times. Since 1976 about 139 people have been proven innocent and were scheduled to be executed. This doesn’t even account for the amount of innocents that were executed. The courts don’t keep track of the innocents they’ve killed as innocents but a number of them have been recorded. Only a small amount has been found so far but many more people who have been executed have been questioned on how guilty they really were. Not only does the death penalty fail to be effective but it also has questionable accuracy. Unlike prison, it isn’t possible to take back a death. An innocent prisoner can always be released… an innocent corpse can’t be resurrected. It’s simply impossible to deny, the death penalty just isn’t effective.

No matter how hard we try we may never stop criminal activity. The death penalty has been one of our most futile attempts to rid our society of crime. It is ineffective to begin with and the motives behind its existence are almost as bad as those of the criminal. There are very few ways to vindicate this cruel and unusual punishment and many of them can be biased and lack any support from facts. This is a very controversial issue and personally I’ll never understand why. The death penalty is just wrong no matter how you look at it. The best way to punish these criminals is to let them dwell on their mistakes confined within justice and give them the opportunity to consider what they’ve done, an opportunity that they never would have gotten after the electric chair. I think it’s time that we focused less on preventing homicide and more on not committing it ourselves. This country should be less barbaric; it’s using the vile capital punishment, and only the people have the power to put an end to it.


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