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 Jan. 24 2012 at 6:56 pm
ThunderBOLT12 BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 6 comments
In a perfect world, there would be no need for a death penalty because no one would kill. But this isn't a perfect world, and Unfortunately there needs to be a death penalty. P.S. Kiersten, ROGATE rules!

on Jan. 24 2012 at 6:42 pm
ThunderBOLT12 BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 6 comments
Oh, yeah. Don't disrespect the bible by basically saying that it old and now inaccurate. It primarily teaches peace!

on Jan. 24 2012 at 6:38 pm
ThunderBOLT12 BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 6 comments
They are not dying because there isn’t enough room. Yet. However, if we kept every criminal who killed someone, most likely more than once, we would have to build new prisons because the old ones would fill up. And I am a Christian. The bible states multiple times eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth, ECT. And before you say not everyone is Christian, it goes the same for the Jewish and Muslim people! If they have chosen to kill, to take a sacred thing, they should be punished accordingly. Justice is never about revenge!

on Jan. 16 2012 at 11:50 am
I agree completely with you. As the article said, innocents do get wrongly charged, and then what happens when you find the real criminal. "Woops, we murdered the wrong guy?" And another thing you hit in the article, if we are killing killers to show that killing is wrong, shouldn't at least half the government be subjected to this themselves? Especially when it comes to the fact that they just murdered somone who could possibly innocent.

Rogersright said...
on Jan. 15 2012 at 8:19 pm
i 100% agree with this . If you really want to punish people for awful crimes give them an awful punishment. Death to me just seems to be the easy way out. i would much rather the person spend the rest of there days locked in a jail house then being murdered easily .

on Jan. 15 2012 at 8:52 am
I agree completely

on Jan. 15 2012 at 8:49 am
Idiotic fool is a term more suitable for you my fellow writer. Although I understand what it is like to lose someone in something as undeniably diabolical as a crime, it is still not right to kill someone as a form of justice. And you must remember that the Bible was written in a time when it was right to hang someone for being different, when it was OK to cut someones hand off for stealing bread to feed their family. Scottyman, who are you to say that the writer can't understand the death penalty? Maybe they do, maybe like you someone in their family was subject to cruel circumstances, you decided to make that public, maybe they did not want to. You DON'T KNOW so quit calling people "idiotic... Moronic", you have NO RIGHT. P.S. If you didn't notice this site is called TEENink so who are you to call these writers work "Moronic Adolescent thoughts" When you yourself are to young to call yourself anything other?

on Jan. 15 2012 at 8:39 am
I completely disagree, while an eye for an eye is a "Tried and true statement" No one should revert to revenge as a form of justice. And as for the lack of space for death row inmates, This is still no reason to kill people. no one should have to die because there isn't room for them!

on Jan. 13 2012 at 7:12 am
purpleyobes BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 3 comments
I agree and disagree with this article . If someone kills a person it all depends on who they killed and why. If they killed someone for self defence they dont deserved to get punised. If someone kill the president they deserve the death penalty.

on Jan. 11 2012 at 7:30 am
bergKnayR BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 3 comments
I completlyagree with ThunderBOLT12. There is no justice in murder. If a mand chooses to kill, he should be punished severely

on Jan. 11 2012 at 7:28 am
SingingIsMyLife BRONZE, Chesterfield, New Jersey
2 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream." -unknown

Im very sorry but i strongly disagree with you. Some people diserve the death penalty and i have npo problem with that. I belive if someone killed someone else, for their punishment they should be killed. What they diserve is what they should get!

K-Berg13 said...
on Jan. 11 2012 at 7:20 am
K-Berg13, Columbus, New Jersey
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
What I don't get is if some one takes a life I don't get why the convict can get away with no charges or just 3 years. To take an innocent man's life is terrible. Those criminals should think before they acts and maybe we wouldn't need capital punishment.

on Jan. 11 2012 at 7:17 am
ThunderBOLT12 BRONZE, Columbus, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 6 comments
Although you have Noble intentions, the death peanilty is nessesary. For one, there is not enough prision room tho hold all of prisoners who are on death row. And there is the tride and true saying "an eye for an eye."

scottyman said...
on Jan. 5 2012 at 12:13 pm
you my dear are an idiotic fool and you cant evan began to understand the death penalty. my younger cousin of 23 years was shot in the head by a piece of criminal trash when he witnessed the man rob a gas station and now you are so bold to go online and post your foolish moronic adolesent thoughts online and say capital punishment is wrong? as the bible says "whoso sheddeth a mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed"

on Dec. 11 2011 at 6:36 pm
swcricket98 GOLD, Williamson, Georgia
13 articles 17 photos 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

Agree 100%.

on Dec. 11 2011 at 6:33 pm
swcricket98 GOLD, Williamson, Georgia
13 articles 17 photos 102 comments

Favorite Quote:
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

I love this comment and agree completely.

miss'pretty said...
on Dec. 9 2011 at 8:46 am
Sorry to say but this story does'nt make any sence to me at all.

on Dec. 4 2011 at 4:45 pm
aspiringauthor_ BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 324 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.

My apologies. Pay me no mind.

on Dec. 4 2011 at 4:36 pm
anna_banana BRONZE, Wilmington, Delaware
4 articles 1 photo 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent- Eleanor Roosevelt

The comment belonged as a reply to the comment below me, I mistakenly posted it as a new comment, not a reply..... 

on Dec. 4 2011 at 4:34 pm
anna_banana BRONZE, Wilmington, Delaware
4 articles 1 photo 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent- Eleanor Roosevelt

ignore this... its soooo difficult to reply & im getting confused.