Pro Capital Punishment

March 29, 2010
By ErinWantsToPlayAGame BRONZE, Millington, Maryland
ErinWantsToPlayAGame BRONZE, Millington, Maryland
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
If you want to be happy, be. - Leo Tolstoy

Imagine you’re at work. You know your daughter is getting off the bus just about this time. The thought of something bad happening to her never even crosses your mind--this is the same routine every day.

A man is sitting in her closet. He knows what time you leave for work in the morning. He knows what time she gets on the bus to go to school. He knows what time she gets off the bus, and the time you get home. He knows everything because he’s smart. He’s calculating and he’s done this before. He has been planning this for a while. He’s been watching the way your family lives, and waiting, and today is the day he’s planning to attack.

She gets off the bus and goes into her house, the same as she does every day. Later on, you wonder what was going through her mind: If she felt something strange when she entered the house, maybe she did, maybe not. Either way, she’s gone now and you know by the haunted look in the detectives eyes, that she didn’t go peacefully.

Imagine you’re sitting in the courtroom. You are watching her killer, you’re trying to figure out, why, why my baby? Why did you pick my family to ruin? You watch him day after day. His eyes are cold, steely blue and lifeless. What is going on behind them? What is he thinking? How could a human being do something like this to another human being? You keep thinking about life in prison vs. the death penalty. You keep thinking about your daughter and how she didn’t get to choose. She didn’t get a chance to do anything she planned for her future. You think about how you may feel as you watch him being executed. You wonder about the families of the other victims. You wonder if he had an accomplice who will continue to kill after he’s locked up or dead. Every once in a while he turns and looks at you. While the medical examiner is giving his testimony and describing what he found, the killer turns and looks at you. He smiles. He’s proud of what he’s done. He’s thinking, ‘look at me, look what I did. You won’t ever forget me.’ He’s right. You will never forget him. But you may get peace knowing that he’s gone. Knowing that another parent will not have to go through what you are going through because of him. Knowing that another young girl will not know unspeakable horror at his hands. Knowing that he can’t tell people the horrible things he did to your baby, or write a book about it or gain the fame that he so desperately craves or have your baby’s horrible demise turn into a made-for-tv movie. His story, his actions, his sickness can die with him. And that makes you grateful.

More and more states are adopting the death penalty. As of April 1, 2008, the death penalty was authorized by 37 states, the Federal Government, and the U.S. Military. 2/3 of Americans support capital punishment.

Death penalty laws can be traced back as far as the 18th century B.C., when the code of King Hammaurabi of Babylon established death as the penalty for 25 different crimes.

I believe capital punishment is appropriate because it provides a strong deterrence against future crime, it protects the rights of victims, and because everyone benefits from it.

My first reason for supporting capital punishment is that it is less expensive than life without parole. Abolitionists claim that it’s more expensive, but, the annual cost of incarceration is $40,000 to $50,000 a year for each prisoner or more, and life without parole prisoners spend on average 30 or 40 years in prison. The up front costs of the death penalty are a lot higher than equivalent life without parole cases, but JFA: Justice For All, a criminal justice reform organization, says that life without parole costs over time are from $1.2 to $3.6 million more expensive than death penalty cases. TIME Magazine found that, nationwide, the average cell cost is $24,000 a year, and the maximum security cell costs $75,000 a year (as of 1995). Cost comparisons are only valid if you compare the costs of death penalty to life without parole cases. People claim it’s more expensive because they improperly compare the cost of all life without parole cases to death penalty cases, when only the death penalty equivalent life without parole cases are relevant. People are comparing death penalty cases to life without parole cases that aren’t about murder.

Many people believe that costs to appeal a death penalty case are high. It’s over estimated that death penalty cases will cost twenty times more, on average, or $1.5 million. This exaggerated estimate says that the death penalty will have twenty times more investigation costs, defense and prosecution cost, including court time, guilt/innocence stage, sentencing stage and appellate review time and cost than death penalty equivalent life without parole cases. Even though abolitionists have greatly exaggerated the cost of death penalty cases, death penalty cases still prove to be a lot less expensive over time than death penalty equivalent life without parole cases. Death penalty costs are mainly appeals costs, and life without parole prisoners get the same appeals and should be considered to bear the same costs.

I think that it shouldn’t be so expensive to execute a murderer. If we only allowed appeals that are relevant in proving someone’s innocence and eliminated the others that are pretty much just delaying tactics, we’d save taxpayers millions of dollars.

My second reason for supporting capital punishment is that it deters crime. Studies over the past dozen years have shown that capital punishment is a deterrent to murder. They say that between 3 and 18 lives would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer.

Abolitionists claim that people are just as safe when murderers are in prison, but some of them recruit other people to kill while they are there.

Charles Manson, a man that led “the Manson Family”, a quasi-commune in California in the late 1960s, plotted with one of his followers, Lynette Alice Fromme, from his prison cell to kill President Gerald Ford in 1975. Fortunately, they were unsuccessful, because the gun didn’t shoot.

Some prisoners kill guards, and other inmates. For example: In the Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center in 1994, a man was serving two life sentences, and was sentenced to three more after he was convicted of stabbing three prison guards. Or, in 1999, when a Beeville, Texas prison guard was killed by an inmate already serving a sentence for murder.

At the Florida State Prison in Starke in 1995, Two death row inmates were killed by their fellow inmates.

Life in prison doesn’t ever seem to last either. Murderers end up getting out because of law changes, parole board changes, and because people forget the past.

A man named James Moore raped and strangled 14 year old Pamela Moss in 1962. Her parents decided not to go with the death penalty as long as he got life without parole, but thanks to a change in sentencing laws in 1982, James Moore is eligible for parole every two years.

A Fort Worth jury ruled that Kenneth McDuff, a Texas man, should die in the electric chair after he shot two boys and strangled and raped a girl friend of their’s. He was sentenced to life in prison after the U.S Supreme court struck down the death penalty as then imposed. McDuff was released in 1989 when Texas prisons were overflowing. Within days, the naked
body of a 31 year old prostitute named Sarafia Parker had shown up in a field near Temple,
beaten and strangled. McDuff’s freedom in 1989 was interrupted briefly. Jailed after a minor racial incident, he got past the system and was out again in 1990.

He enrolled at Texas State Technical College in Waco in early 1991. Texas prostitutes began disappearing. One, a 22 year old woman named Valencia Joshua was last seen alive February 24, 1991. Her body was discovered in a shallow grave decomposed in some woods behind the college.

Regenia Moore, another one of the missing women, was last seen kicking and screaming in the cab of McDuff’s pickup truck.

Colleen Reed disappeared from a car wash in Austin during the Christmas Holidays in 1991, and witnesses reported hearing a woman screaming that night and seeing two men speeding away in a yellow or tan thunderbird.

Melissa Northrup disappeared on March 1, 1992, a little more than two months later, from the Waco convenience store where she worked. McDuff’s Thunderbird was found broken down a block from the store, and a fisherman found her body floating in a gravel pit in Dallas County fifty seven days later. McDuff was the target of a nationwide manhunt. Days after Melissa Northrup’s funeral, Kenneth McDuff was on America’s Most Wanted. He was arrested May 4th in Kansas City,

In 1993, a Houston jury ordered him executed for the kidnap and killing of Melissa Northrup. In 1994, a Seguin jury assessed him the death penalty for the abduction-rape-murder of Colleen Reed. The current sheriff of Fall’s County appeared at McDuff’s Houston trial for the 1992 abduction and murder of Melissa Northrup.

"Kenneth McDuff is absolutely the most vicious and savage individual I know,'' he told reporters. "He has absolutely no conscience, and I think he enjoys killing.'' If McDuff had been executed as scheduled, he said, "no telling how many lives would have been saved.''

Texas authorities say that probably 9 or more lives could have been saved, if had been sentenced to the death penalty.

He was finally executed on November 17th, 1998 by lethal injection.

Capital punishment is the best way to keep people safe, to make sure murderers won’t ever kill again and it prevents parole boards and criminal rights activists from giving him the chance to repeat their crime.

My final reason for supporting capital punishment is because it‘s in the Constitution, and because it‘s in the Bible.

Abolitionists claim that the death penalty is “cruel and unusual punishment”, quoted from the 8th Amendment, but the 5th Amendment says “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The Constitution does allow capital punishment.

In several cases, the Justices of the Supreme Court have held that the death penalty isn’t cruel or unusual, but is actually a Constitutionally acceptable remedy for a criminal act.

“… in a day when [the death penalty] is still widely accepted, it cannot be said to violate the conceptional concept of cruelty” - Chief Justice in Trop vs. Dulles

The Supreme Court says “The punishment of death is not cruel, within the meaning of that word as used in the Constitution. It implies there is something more inhuman and barbarous, than the mere extinguishment of life.”, which goes back to my introduction- the sadistic person who plans, plots, and executes his fantasies.

Syndicated columnist Jeff Jacobs wrote “It is up to the law to speak to them-to speak for all the grief-stricken survivors confronted with the butchery of someone near and dear. Capital punishment says to them: We, the community, take your loss with the utmost seriousness. We know that you are filled with rage and pain. We know that you may cry for vengeance, may yearn to strangle the murderer with your bare hands. You are right to feel that way. But it is not for you to wreak retribution. As a decent and just society, we will do it. Fairly. After due process. In a court of law.

I also support capital punishment because it’s in the Bible. The Bible is the most important book to ever be written, and Christianity is what our country was founded on, which is why I believe there is no reason to abolish capital punishment. It’s listed in several different verses throughout the Bible that a man ought to be killed himself if he kills someone else.

Capital punishment was first used by God Himself in Genesis 9:6: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." And Exodus 21:12 says, "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death." We did not invent capital punishment, so we have no right to abandon it,

People claim that that’s Old Testament law, and it didn’t apply after the New Testament was made, but in Revelation 13:10, it says “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”

In conclusion, I would like to say that our Founding Fathers could not imagine a nation without capital punishment. Back in those days, there was no question of the value of public safety and personal responsibility, which brings me to my final thoughts: we as Americans have become so tolerant and have failed to discipline our children, to teach them right from wrong that we have created a generation of people who take no responsibility for their actions and expect no consequences for their behavior. I believe this is the reason the country is in the trouble that it’s in.

Get involved in supporting capital punishment by contacting, and by writing to your congressperson. Find out his views on capital punishment and let him know that you support it.

The author's comments:
I had to write this for my English class. I got a 98% on it :)

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This article has 5 comments.

Westlake said...
on Feb. 6 2016 at 1:36 pm
Really well written essay!

Ciara Brown said...
on Apr. 28 2015 at 10:46 pm
Ciara Brown, Lakeland, Florida
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Great essay. Good points and statistics !

on Dec. 18 2014 at 12:37 pm
alexiswantstoplayagame, Deerfield, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
The beginning of this honestly freaked me out a lot.

Mathex said...
on May. 5 2014 at 1:26 am
A mind is a terible thing to waist you sheep. goahead and clutch your bible in fear knowing this "Law" of yours will keep you safe for now...   good lil essay y'got here

Sayj said...
on Jan. 9 2014 at 8:44 pm
I really found this article/essay really well written. i like it :D

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