Capital Punishment Is Dead Wrong | Teen Ink

Capital Punishment Is Dead Wrong MAG

July 27, 2008
By Anonymous

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 473 comments.

on Mar. 24 2010 at 7:02 pm
Destinee BRONZE, Oakville, Other
3 articles 0 photos 303 comments

Favorite Quote:
Blegh. - Abraham Lincoln

I agree with you completely. Quite honestl if I was a murderer, I would much rather die than spend my life rotting in a cell with no chance of getting out or fulfilling my dreams.

kmcemo said...
on Mar. 11 2010 at 11:18 pm
kmcemo, Mission Viejo, California
0 articles 26 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
MPAS (don't know what it is? Ask.)

Eloquently said, and i couldn't agree more.

kmcemo said...
on Mar. 11 2010 at 11:09 pm
kmcemo, Mission Viejo, California
0 articles 26 photos 47 comments

Favorite Quote:
MPAS (don't know what it is? Ask.)

Capital punishment is justified. Ask yourself this: would you rather be killed painlessly and quickly, or rot away in a stinky cell? America wastes too much time and money on these people who have proved themselves inadequate to contribute to society. This isn't about some sort of immature retaliation, this is about making life more efficient and safer for everybody else. The board of education had 7 billions dollars taken out of it two years ago, and this money was poured into prisons. What is more important: students or prisoners? Or rather, the future leaders of America or criminals?

Also, this is a matter of survival of the fittest. In this case, rather than fittest, it is the one with the most common sense.

These people realize what they're doing is wrong, then they should not have done it. They committed their crime, they deserve to die. Again, survival of the fittest.

on Mar. 10 2010 at 8:53 pm
xLokiFoxx BRONZE, Bellingham, Washington
2 articles 21 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Memento Mori."

Good point, but in my opinion, those are examples of cases where the murderer could spend life in captivity with no possibility of parole. I just don't think it's quite necessary to KILL them when there are other ways to keep them from killing.

on Mar. 8 2010 at 4:02 pm
naturelover123 BRONZE, San Francisco, California
2 articles 0 photos 50 comments
I know it's hard to imagine a murderer not feeling sorry for what they did, but some of these criminals have serious mental issues. After their time in jail, they go back and claim their next victim. Some don't's a vicious cycle, and innocent people are getting hurt.

MountainGirl said...
on Mar. 5 2010 at 12:25 pm
MountainGirl, Boulder, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 15 comments
Doesn't it also teach us forgiveness?

on Mar. 4 2010 at 3:34 pm
LoveOfWords BRONZE, Ascot, Other
4 articles 3 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
I reject your reality and substitute my own! -- Adam Savage

Two wrongs don't make a right, but if they are dangeros, they should be stopped. Mostly this is satisfiable by jailing people, but in extreme cases, the death penalty is the only way. I don't like it, especially because it's irreversable, but if it's the only option, it's the only option. I don't think we're stooping to their level; we're protecting others. They kill for no good reason, our government does. It's a hard choice for a hard situation. It's a case of which choice is the least unethical.

sassafrass said...
on Mar. 4 2010 at 9:25 am
They need the death penalty. If you kill someone, you should be killed.

BeatlesFreak said...
on Mar. 4 2010 at 9:02 am
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind- Ghandi

on Feb. 20 2010 at 7:03 pm
PearlX PLATINUM, Ypsilanti, Michigan
25 articles 20 photos 18 comments
Agreed. [:

MountainGirl said...
on Feb. 17 2010 at 4:33 pm
MountainGirl, Boulder, Colorado
0 articles 0 photos 15 comments
I can think of one more reason to add to your list; the number of wrongful convictions that are now being overturned using DNA evidence. For example, in Colorado Tim Master's conviction was overturned and he was also given a lot of money because of all of the time he spent in jail. Here's a link to the story: http ://www.fortcollinsnow .com /article/20080123/NEWS/712527101

on Feb. 16 2010 at 2:43 pm
StevenH1028 SILVER, Fort Worth, Texas
7 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I promise not to make age an issue in this campaign. I will not make an issue out of my opponent's youth and inexperience."-Ronald Reagan

You are aware that the same person who said "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" also took a whip and drove people out of the Temple right?

on Feb. 16 2010 at 2:40 pm
StevenH1028 SILVER, Fort Worth, Texas
7 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I promise not to make age an issue in this campaign. I will not make an issue out of my opponent's youth and inexperience."-Ronald Reagan

dude, I hate to break it to you; but I live in Texas, and we use lethal injection, not capital punishment.

on Feb. 16 2010 at 2:39 pm
StevenH1028 SILVER, Fort Worth, Texas
7 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I promise not to make age an issue in this campaign. I will not make an issue out of my opponent's youth and inexperience."-Ronald Reagan

We are not murdering them. We are punishing them. If we do not punish crimes, than what exactly is the point of having a government? Capital punishment is simply the form of punishment that some states; including my own, have chosen for the person who murders. Would you disagree that there are some actions, such as infanticide and cop killing, that are deserving of death?

on Feb. 14 2010 at 9:48 pm
BabyGirlBrittany SILVER, Cincinnati, Ohio
8 articles 0 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life isnt about finding yourself, Its about creating yourself,"

Its absolutley contradictary. I dont understand how our goverment doesn't see that.

on Feb. 10 2010 at 8:18 am
carolinestarr PLATINUM, Ellicott City, Maryland
28 articles 2 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's not about who we are, but who we choose to be."

I completely agree. You know the saying 'don't stoop down to their level'? Well that's exactly what we're doing when we give the death penalty! We are killing he ones who kill. And to me, if I had committed a crime like that, being dead would be a much pleasanter punishment than to be stuck in jail for the rest of my life without a chance of parole! I always hear about the people who kill and then kill themselves, but if their state has capital punishment, they don't have to worry about that! It will be taken care of! There was a case about an innocent man who rotted away in jail for like, 23 years or something. Finally, someone proved he was innocent and they let him go. If he had been a victim of capital punishment, it would be too late! The damage would be done! Murderers should be put in jail. They should have to face what they've done. Seeing the damage would be far worse than being killed.

on Feb. 10 2010 at 6:40 am
samanthanyx BRONZE, Somers, New York
4 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"I choose the labyrinth." - John Green, LOOKING FOR ALASKA

I totally agree with you. Murder is wrong and inhumane, no matter who it's directed to.

on Feb. 9 2010 at 9:08 pm
The death penalty should be abolished ASAP. I think that there are worst punishments then death. A murderer gets off too easy when they don't have to see the effects of what they did. They should be made to suffer with a life in jail without parole, so that they can see the effect of what they did on the people close to them and the victim's family, and hopefully repent. Also, the chance that the innocent could be killed is just to great to be ignored. Anyway, good writing.

on Feb. 6 2010 at 9:49 pm
slightlymad BRONZE, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 12 comments

Favorite Quote:
“I can't dislike you, but I will say this to you: you haven't got long before you are all going to kill yourselves, because you are all crazy. And you can project it back at me ... but I am only what lives inside each and every one of you.”

We don't murder those who murder. We punish them. they dont want to live by norms, well, it's their choice. I think there is nothing wrong with capital punishment

on Feb. 3 2010 at 6:19 pm
YouthfulLight SILVER, Forest Park, Illinois
5 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
Whoever says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain

I completely agree.

If we muder those who murder, how are we different from the killers themselves?