The Death Penalty

March 12, 2012
March 2004, Alfred Bourgeois received his sentence for the extensive abuse and murder of his two year old daughter. His wife testified about the terrible cruelties that he made his daughter endure over a six-week period. He had taped his daughter’s mouth shut while he spanked her so hard that he broke the belt. He also beat his daughter with a cable and made her drink his urine from her baby bottle. He staged a fall when he brought her to the hospital where she died shortly after. An autopsy showed very clearly that she had not fallen, and found over 300 injuries including whip marks, healed scars, cuts, bruises and bite marks. An attorney on the case commented, "It is impossible to adequately describe the incomprehensible cruelty demonstrated by Mr. Bourgeois. It is equally impossible to conceive of a case more deserving of the death penalty.”

It’s unfathomable that someone could argue to me how Bourgeois does not deserve his sentence of the death penalty. Certain people, simply, deserve to die. The death penalty needs to remain intact, if not our society would regress and could very well erupt in havoc. Red Forman from That 70‘s Show said it best, “Do you know how they treat their criminals in Russia? First offense, five years in Siberia. Second offense, ten years. Believe you me, there is no third offense.” It’s completely true. While the death penalty is still intact people will consider their actions more. Without it families would be faced with the thought that the person who brutally murdered their loved one is probably sitting in an air-conditioned cell, watching cable, waiting for his next free meal, and has the ability to go to college that they will pay for. In many instances the death penalty is too harsh, but in order to truly serve justice the punishment should fit the crime. So when someone plans to viciously murder another human being, it seems very fit that the punishment of the perpetrator should be death.

Critics may have this witty bumper sticker on their cars, “why kill people who kill people to show killing is wrong.” This clever little slogan made me pause. It is very thought provoking. However, it’s casual use of the word “kill” could use another look. The death penalty is not used in cases of killings, but murders. Killing is arguably justified when in the act of self defense. But murder, on the other hand, is defined as, "the unlawful and malicious or premeditated killing of another human being without justification." Those two words are not synonyms, and are very far from being morally equivalent. A more accurate bumper sticker would be, “Why execute malicious murderers to uphold justice and save the tax payers from contributing to the millions of dollars to keep them in prison?” It would take an estimated million dollars more for a Life without Parol case verses a death penalty case. To quote another critic, “We as a society have to move away from the ‘eye for an eye’ revenge mentality if civilization is to advance.” And I ask why? If someone committed an especially heinous crime, how would it be ‘cruel and unusual’ for something equally bad to be inflicted onto that criminal. The notion of ‘eye for an eye’ shouldn’t be taken literally. However certain people that have done unspeakable things shouldn’t have the luxury of obtaining their life.

You may have heard on the news about a man who randomly murdered about twenty people in a foreign country. In that country the maximum sentence for any crime is 35 years. Each life will only cost that man 1.75 years of his life. I don’t want our families to endure a heartless act like this, but if it does at least the nefarious person will have the option to lose their freedom or life as well. We cannot do anything but attempt to preserve what is right. I implore anyone who at least wants the option to put baby murderers and other truly evil people to death to give these reasons, to share these stories, and ask any critics, what would you want if that was your mom, sister, brother, best friend? What is fair?

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