Capital Punishment Is Dead Wrong MAG

July 27, 2008
By Olivia Hoeft, Oneida, WI

Murder is wrong. Since childhood we have been taught this indisputable truth. Ask yourself, then, what is capital punishment? In its simplest form, capital punishment is defined as one person taking the life of another. Coincidentally, that is the definition of murder. There are 36 states with the death penalty, and they must change. These states need to abolish it on the grounds that it carries a dangerous risk of punishing the innocent, is unethical and barbaric, and is an ineffective deterrent of crime versus the alternative of life in prison without parole.

Capital punishment is the most ­irreparable crime governments perpetrate without consequence, and it must be abolished. “We’re only ­human, we all make mistakes,” is a commonly used phrase, but it is tried and true. Humans, as a species, are famous for their mistakes. However, in the case of the death penalty, error becomes too dangerous a risk. The innocent lives that have been taken with the approval of our own government should be enough to abolish capital punishment.

According to Amnesty International, “The death penalty legitimizes an irreversible act of violence by the state and will inevitably claim innocent victims.” If there is any chance that error is possible (which ­there always is), the drastic measure of capital ­punishment should not be taken. Also, it is too final, meaning it does not allow opportunity for th accused to be proven innocent, a violation of the Fifth Amendment which guarantees due process of law.

District Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ­argued against the death penalty: “In brief, the Court found that the best available evidence indicates that, on the one hand, innocent people are sentenced to death with materially greater frequency than was previously supposed and that, on the other hand, convincing proof of their innocence ­often does not emerge until long after their convictions. It is therefore fully foreseeable that in enforcing the death penalty a meaningful number of innocent people will be executed who otherwise would eventually be able to prove their innocence.”

As humans, we are an inevitable force of error. However, when a life is at stake, error is not an option. The death penalty is murder by the government. As a nation, we have prided ourselves in our government, its justice and truth. However, can we continue to call our government fair if we do not hold it to the same rules we do its people? Murder by a citizen will have consequences, yet a government-approved ­murder is not only acceptable, but enforceable. What message do we send the American people, and other countries, for that matter, if we continue to be a ­nation that kills its citizens, a nation that enforces the most barbaric form of punishment?

The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty states, “We don’t cut off the hands of thieves to ­protect property; we do not stone adulterers to stop adultery. We consider that barbaric. Yet we continue to take life as a means of protecting life.” No person, government-affiliated or not, has the right to decide if another human is worthy or unworthy of life. Our natural rights as humans, which cannot be taken away by the government, include the right to life. Humans are not cold metal coins that lose value; no act, no matter how heinous, can make a person less of a human being. However, for most it is easy to ­forget that each of the 1,099 executed since 1977 are fellow humans, not just numbers.

According to Amnesty International, “The death penalty violates the right to life.” Capital punishment contradicts our moral beliefs and claims of a fair and just government. The U.S. must join its political ­allies – including Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, South Africa, and most of Latin America – that have abolished the death penalty.

The death penalty is favored by some as an effective deterrent of crime; however, it is proven that states with the death penalty actually have higher murder rates than those without. It is proven that our nation does not need this extreme threat of punishment to prevent crime. In 2006, the FBI Uniform Crime Report revealed that the area of the U.S. that was responsible for the most executions (the South with 80 percent) also had the highest murder rate, whereas the Northern areas that had the fewest ­executions (less than one percent), had the lowest murder rates.

It can be said that the death penalty is the most overlooked form of government hypocrisy; we murder people who murder people to show that murder is wrong. It is this contradiction in policy that confuses criminals and undermines any crime deterrence capital punishment was intended to have.

Many people favor the death penalty as reparation for the wrong done to a victim’s family; however, in most cases, closure is not the result. Losing a loved one, no matter how that person is lost, is unbearable, irrevocable, and shattering. Pain like this is shocking and the victim’s family holds onto the hope that the execution of the murderer will bring relief and closure. Nevertheless, when execution day arrives, the pain is not eased. No relief can be gained, for their pain is an unavoidable, natural process of life. Victims’ families have founded such groups as the Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation and The Journey of Hope, which oppose the death penalty. They ­believe that they are different from those who have taken their loved ones and they demonstrate their ­difference by refusing to sink to a murderer’s level.

Capital punishment is immoral and a violation of natural rights. It is wrong for everyone involved: the prosecuted innocent, criminals, victims’ families, and our nation. We need to replace the death penalty and capital punishment with life without parole, a safer and more inexpensive option. The death penalty does not guarantee safety for innocent victims, it does not follow the goals and promises of our nation, it does not effectively deter crime, and it does not give closure to victims’ families. Nothing good comes of hate, and nothing good can ever come from capital punishment. It cannot continue to be accepted by a nation that claims to have liberty and justice for all. The death penalty is murder on the sly and it’s dead wrong.



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This article has 472 comments.


neenee_rawr said...
on Apr. 12 2011 at 6:12 pm
neenee_rawr, Port Angeles, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Well, you have to think of life in gernral first. Life is like  bouncey ball, when you drop it, it will bounce. Yet, you have the will to choose how high it bounces, to what direction it bounces, etc. So, take for instance: a person (drops thier ball of life) kills another humen out of cold blood (they just picked where thier ball is going) and did this knowing there will be punishment possibly death they themselves just screwed thier bouncy ball. Its commen for humens to arguee and do things that possbliy others don't like but is pleasing to them, its the normal humen Id (Id as in, Id, ego, and super-ego) to do something that is pleasing to them. but just think, this person that killed another that others family is now sad. Their Id is now flooded with emotions of pain, so thier Id wants something doen that would be pleasing to them, and fighting fire with fire seems to also be the norm.

So, i myself know that if someone kills any of my siblings or my parents or even best frieneds out of cold blood i would want them dead too. Why should they have a chance to live when they obviously didn't give someone else a chance? How come they get to see the next day, breath the summer air, watch snow fall when the person they just killed never gets any of those again? I know, the worlds not black and white so you still do have to consider the gray areas and the fact that yes, life is splattered with blood. 


on Apr. 11 2011 at 12:23 am
AgnotTheOdd GOLD, Aptos, California
17 articles 0 photos 315 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The reason for your unreasonable treatment of my reason so enfeebles my reason that I have reason to complain of your reason" ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

They can appeal as many times as they like, compared to Britain's two appeals.  And I'm not writing an essay, not am I writing anything other than a comment on a forum.  There is no significant reason why i should have to use correct grammar or spelling.  But way to try to make yourself looks smarter by pointing it out.  See, you understood my comment, that's all that grammar comes down to -- understanding.

on Apr. 10 2011 at 6:49 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

Well I am just so sorry that you think the "syringe" is the dumbest idea. It wasn't mine, you know. It was the U.S. government's. Take it up with them. And if someone is sentenced to death, they usually don't have a lot of appeals. Sure, more than usual, but not insane amounts, even though it's their life on the line. Please use proper capitalization methods and proper grammar as well when posting a comment.

on Apr. 10 2011 at 4:22 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

In response to your first comment...

Wow! I find that story interesting... And a little difficult to believe. But no matter, that's not my point, forget I said that. The man obviously should have been sentenced to life without parole. The trial might have been messed up, you don't know. I do agree, those area all heinous crimes that deserve to be punished. Where my agreeing stops is where you say, "He should die," and I say, "He should go to prison for life." And it is indeed justice, because that way, one less family has to be grieving.


on Apr. 10 2011 at 4:19 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

I beg to differ. If you have read any prison accounts, you will know that prison is by no means comfortable. The guards and warden know what the people have done and don't let them just relax. Everyone in prison has a job they must do. Why should the innocent waste tax money on killing a person they don't know? And if the killer or rapist - or whatever criminal they may be - is locked up, then what's the difference from killing them? We weren't put into this life to take other's away from them.

on Apr. 7 2011 at 6:28 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

Please do your research before you comment, as I did. 300 million may indeed be the number, but check your facts first. I can infer what TxDragon meant, as well, but they should have been more clear. Also, your comment was rather muddled. If someone killed my 2 year old brother, I would not want them dead. Yes, I would be grieving and terribly sad, but I would not want another family to be feeling that same way. And so, I have "answered you that," to quote you in so many words.

C.Pearl BRONZE said...
on Apr. 4 2011 at 6:01 pm
C.Pearl BRONZE, Wayland, Massachusetts
3 articles 5 photos 7 comments
I think that this a very well written opinion piece. I agree that the death penalty is inhumane. However, I think that what could have made this piece even stronger, would be to have acknowledged the pros to the death penalty. The best opinion pieces introduce counter arguments. Thus, when you attack these points in your main argument, your thesis becomes all the more stronger. Also, I think you may have been skewing some facts to fit your argument. That's not necessarily a bad thing, because it is obvious that you are very passionate about this topic. Besides those things though, this is really excellent.

on Apr. 4 2011 at 11:23 am
RainbowLeprechaun SILVER, Hanover Park, Illinois
6 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"...And your shame won't erase my features. The little girl still spins in circles, swinging her pigtails and studying her pure world. And i will make her proud." -Weezie Haley

Plus, not to mention, death sentence, at this day, is rarely ever used. It is more common for somebody to be convicted life in prison. The death sentence is only used in extreme cases where everybody is positive that the suspect is guilty of an extremely heinous crime. Such as the examples i have given most recently. In the past, yes there were many innocent people sentenced death but it is extremely uncommon now even for somebody who commited especially heinous crimes.

on Apr. 4 2011 at 11:14 am
RainbowLeprechaun SILVER, Hanover Park, Illinois
6 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"...And your shame won't erase my features. The little girl still spins in circles, swinging her pigtails and studying her pure world. And i will make her proud." -Weezie Haley

I can infer that TxDragon didn't mean all murderers are child murderers its only an example. Just recently i read another of your comments that there has been over 150 cases where an innocent person was convicted of murder. That's sad, but that's comparing to the over 300 million (i may be exaggerating a bit) murderers that were allowed to walk or get the life sentence. Why do they deserve to live? Answer me that. If somebody were to kill my 2 year old brother, out of cold blood, I'd want them dead. Why do they deserve to live when they killed somebody too young to commit one sin, so innocent? Answer me that.

on Apr. 4 2011 at 11:06 am
RainbowLeprechaun SILVER, Hanover Park, Illinois
6 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"...And your shame won't erase my features. The little girl still spins in circles, swinging her pigtails and studying her pure world. And i will make her proud." -Weezie Haley

It may not make the crime rates go down, but it gets rid of one more person that has possibly killed many people I respect your opinion, and you are entitled to it. But i just don't agree, by all this you are saying that if a man murders hundreds of people, tortures, rapes, terrifies his victims does things to them that are so heinous it makes you vomit, he deserves to live? Because just maybe, though its unlikely, there might be ONE person in an entire prison that could very unprobably but possibly be innocent. And that serial killer, who tortured all his victoms, gets to sleep comfortably. As you can see I strongly disagree with this. There are very sick people out there who in my eyes deserve to die. Why should the innocent waste their tax money on another murderer, another rapist, another killer, kidnapper, torturer, when they took so many innocent lives.

on Apr. 4 2011 at 10:57 am
RainbowLeprechaun SILVER, Hanover Park, Illinois
6 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"...And your shame won't erase my features. The little girl still spins in circles, swinging her pigtails and studying her pure world. And i will make her proud." -Weezie Haley

Its right because that commonfolk could be killing innocent people, and the government is putting a stop to it. If that commonfolk is a vigalante then i understand but, that "commonfolk" could be a serial killer, a druglord killing people. And you want to let them live?

on Apr. 4 2011 at 10:54 am
RainbowLeprechaun SILVER, Hanover Park, Illinois
6 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"...And your shame won't erase my features. The little girl still spins in circles, swinging her pigtails and studying her pure world. And i will make her proud." -Weezie Haley

You have a point, but i respectfully disagree. my stepmom's grandfather was murdered in his toy shop in front of his wife. Before the murderer murdered him, he kidnapped and killed a 15 year old girl. After killing my stepmom's grandfather he was only sentenced 12 years, a few years after being freed he killed a mother and suffocated her child in its crib. Sorry if you don't agree, but i don't think that he should be let to live in the comfort of a padded jail cell, be fed, sleep at night. How is it justice to have all those people be murdered and then he be allowed to live even somewhat peacefully?

on Mar. 27 2011 at 1:27 am
AgnotTheOdd GOLD, Aptos, California
17 articles 0 photos 315 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The reason for your unreasonable treatment of my reason so enfeebles my reason that I have reason to complain of your reason" ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

umm the price really is all about the amount of appeals.  As for the syringe, thats the dumbest idea.  Its expensive, if applied wrong it results in slow painful death.  The french revolution had it right with their "humane" methods

on Mar. 26 2011 at 3:20 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

The price has nothing to do with the unlimited appeals. It has everything to do with the fact that capital punishment trials cost more because there are two: the guilty or not guilty one, and then the sentencing one. Also, getting the syringe with the drugs in it costs plenty as well. Lastly, there is a special chamber that has to be built in the prison where the execution is taking place. They have to build that (if one is not already there) because prisoners cannot leave the prison to be "put to sleep" (if we are just going to compare humans to dogs). There are many other things that have to be paid for that make it so much more expensive than a life sentence. 

on Mar. 26 2011 at 3:16 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

I'm not replying to anything in that comment because of other rude comments I have received from you. I don't know what it is about me that makes you not like me, but I am personally tired of having my opinion degraded, so I am not replying to any other comments from you.

on Mar. 26 2011 at 1:20 pm
Jakethesnake SILVER, Hernando, Mississippi
6 articles 0 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Read, Read... Read everything, then write."-William Faulkner

I replied but it is sumbmitting

on Mar. 26 2011 at 1:20 pm
Jakethesnake SILVER, Hernando, Mississippi
6 articles 0 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Read, Read... Read everything, then write."-William Faulkner

Sri p., we put inocent people in jail for life and sometimes don't find out untill after they have rotted in jail. Plus, even if we do figure it out, we have ruined their life. It will be much harder to get a job when you have to check yes on the "have you ever been convicted of a felony?"

 

As for you aspiringauthor, I can assure you that I am not generalizing. I know that some murders are crimes of passion or accidental kills. But it is EXTREMELY difficult to get the death penalty. It only goes to those who the psychologists say that they have problems and can't just turn their lives around- that they WILL kill again. Now these men and women are the people that run around killing for the hell of it, raping because thats the only way that they can get off. Sometimes they even know what they are doing is wrong and know that they can't stop. These individuals wish to die, but do not have the strangth to kill themselves. There was a man in florida that rapped women in 2 states. The first one didn't have the death penalty, so he asked where he could do it that would get him killed. The judge said Florida. So the man went there, rapped a few women, then got the death penalty in florida. Also, as I tried to look on google for this man's name, I saw a man named  John Maden of Manchester, England who tortured and killed an 83 year old man. Then, before he was caught, he invited his 12 year old neise to babysit his ten year old. He then raped her for 45 minutes then stabbed her to death.

This man should be given the death penalty, but instead of that, he is serving life in prison for murder. Don't you think so?


TheJust ELITE said...
on Mar. 26 2011 at 1:13 pm
TheJust ELITE, Ellenton, Florida
254 articles 202 photos 946 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I feel that a hero is somebody who will stand up for their values and what they believe in and that can take any form. People that have values and have thought them through rather than those who just do what they’re told."-Skandar Keynes

"When it’

Premeditated and planned are the same thing. You still have an anger built up in your body. With one, you just lose control of that anger and act on it and the other is simply one with more self-control to hold back that anger long enough to plan how to act on it.

Honestly, when you think about it, premeditated is more dangerous than planned, because they have less self-control meaning they could lash out and harm or kill anyone, not just the person they are mad at. So, really, you're point is invalid.


on Mar. 26 2011 at 12:53 pm
AgnotTheOdd GOLD, Aptos, California
17 articles 0 photos 315 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The reason for your unreasonable treatment of my reason so enfeebles my reason that I have reason to complain of your reason" ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

To say you have ethics on your side is subjective since each person abides by their own moral or ethical code.  When a dog is nasty and bites another dog (just bites!) we are so quick to euthanize it.  Why don't we throw dogs into prisons too?  Ethically, we have no qualms putting them down, but when it comes to a serial killer (who does more than just bite), its a big deal.  Furthermore, I devoutly believe in innocent until proven guilty and would rather let 10 guilty men go free than one innocent, so i believe in appeals.  However, I am saying that appeals should be limited, not eliminated.  As for taxes, maybe not everyone in the US realizes this, but the countries that enjoy the highest quality of life, and are the happiest, have some of the highest taxes.

Unlimited appeals = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ thats why its expensive


on Mar. 26 2011 at 12:31 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 326 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." - MLK Jr.

To pplofdac:

I completely agree with you. And with the taxpayer money thing... The death penalty costs about six times more than life in prison does. You really know what you're talking about! :)

P.S. To AgnotTheOdd: Why are you being so nasty about it? It's just a debate! 



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