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 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

This should have been a comment to the comment below me :D the article's grammar was fine..... lol

SeasonalFog said...
on Dec. 4 2011 at 1:15 pm
SeasonalFog, Irvine, California
0 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
Omne ignotum pro magnifico.

You didn't address that prisons are overcrowded leading to more violence, a waste of innocent taxpayer's money, and that more people forced into a cell than the capacity allows.

Remember- Supreme court ruled that 3 people to a 2 person cell is "cruel ad unsual punishment" whereas the Death Penalty was not ruled cruel.

on Dec. 3 2011 at 6:48 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.

It varies on which state it's occurring in. But no matter what, the death penalty is more costly.

on Dec. 3 2011 at 6:39 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.

Please don't tell me what I can and cannot think. I am capable of making decisions for myself, thank you.

on Dec. 3 2011 at 6:36 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.

I think you should comment on the content of the article, not on the mechanics.

chandler said...
on Nov. 15 2011 at 2:12 pm
death is wrong both by normal people and wrong by government

on Nov. 11 2011 at 5:34 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

I think you should correct your spelling.

Bones96 BRONZE said...
on Nov. 10 2011 at 5:21 pm
Bones96 BRONZE, Charlotte, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 108 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't about finding yourself it's about creating yourself-

I agree somewhat. For murder I think that it should stand such as first degree and serial killing. I am not agesnt or agreeing with the death penlety.But if some has taken the life of more than on victum for the fun that is wrong and I would not just want that person to be in jail I would want that person dead. So for serial killing and murder first agree it should stand other crimes we should find other ways of punishing that person who did the crime. 

on Oct. 19 2011 at 7:57 pm
subliminal96 GOLD, Kent, Ohio
10 articles 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I have no nation to fight for... my country is the earth and I am a citizen of the world."

I completely agree with you. An eye for an eye makes the world go blind

packers22 said...
on Oct. 5 2011 at 10:20 pm
packers22, Moultrie, Georgia
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Capital Punishment is only the tip of the iceberg


Should capital punishment be completely abolished? Possibly.  But unfortunately there are much deeper problems with the judicial system. Take, for instance, the Casey Anthony Trial.  Regardless of her innocence, was it not absurd to have court on national television?  Some may call this increasing public awareness, which sounds very romantic.  Yet is it really?  Nationally televising a  trial can easily turn criminals into celebrities and murderers into martyrs or possibly even millionaires, depending on how the cards fell.  

Another trial in America has also displayed the absurdities of the American judicial system’s openness.  Was any consideration given to the victim’s family of the Troy Davis murder?  How would you feel, having your son, mother, or brother killed, only to witness the nation declaring the murderer’s innocence due to the media’s persuasion and not solid facts.

Common sense needs to be brought back into our judicial system, because all signs of reason have been lost.  People can argue endlessly about the degree of change, but until someone takes the initiative, offers to compromise, and presses onward for change will it actually occur.  America is just as hardheaded as it always has been, and it still requires time and work to right the wrong.  However, change is possible, and it inevitably will occur as always.

dis kid said...
on Sep. 30 2011 at 1:03 pm

i think if some one kils a nother or raps a kid they should be killed.


on Sep. 28 2011 at 3:30 pm
lzcelloplayer BRONZE, Wayland, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It seems that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little." ~ Oscar Wilde

I very much agree with your opinion that capital punishment is wrong. I think that we should find a different way of punishing those who have committed murder. If we drop down to their level, then who will we be? Just because it is the government doesn't mean that they have the right to murder people themselves. 

I say we abolish capital punishment! 

Great work by the way! :D

on Sep. 27 2011 at 12:10 am
shapeshifter56 GOLD, Cave Creek, Arizona
14 articles 0 photos 136 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain."
--Unknown Author

I meant to say two wrongs don't make a right. Sorry about that.

on Sep. 27 2011 at 12:09 am
shapeshifter56 GOLD, Cave Creek, Arizona
14 articles 0 photos 136 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain."
--Unknown Author

I  have to disagree. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." And two rights don't make a wrong.

Redwriter said...
on Sep. 16 2011 at 9:57 am

The goverment has been given a sword for a reason.

Not to say that you haven't given some good arguments, you have, and this is a very well written article. But, the fact is, capital punishment does deter some crime.

It definitely doesn't deter all of it. But there is a small percentage that will be intimidated by the fact that there will be justice. You say that it's a proven fact that countries with death penalty have higher murder rates. Could you please state your sources? There is no reason for more people to murder when there's a higher penalty. 

Humans, yes, make mistakes. Unfortunately, murder is not just a 'mistake.' Murder is intentional killing. Not a mistake.  

Of course, just murdering a person for revenge is wrong. But justice is important. 

As you said in the beginning, murder's wrong. How do you punish the taking of another's life? 

There are many cases of murderers who have been let free after serving jail time, or while they're on probation, murdering again. 

We could just fill the jail cells. But supporting the life of someone who hast not allowed others the same, is not justice. 

Death penalty, in my opinion, is necessary. 

on Sep. 13 2011 at 10:42 am
HeartBreaker2010 SILVER, El Paso, Texas
8 articles 0 photos 8 comments
if the person who killed a loved one it doesn't really help the loved one, it just means they wanted the person who killed the loved one to feel the pain, but think again that's someone else's loved one too, its just doesn't make since. but this is so true. GOOD WORK!!!

human6 GOLD said...
on Sep. 10 2011 at 9:50 pm
human6 GOLD, Fasd, New Jersey
12 articles 0 photos 132 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you cannot convince a fascist aquaint his head with the pavement-trotsky
The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world, here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute.“ durry

c.astrate rapistis instead.

on Sep. 6 2011 at 7:52 pm
Rocinante SILVER, Wexford, Pennsylvania
7 articles 1 photo 386 comments
Wow. Before I read this article, I thought the death penalty was wrong, but I wasn't sure exactly where I stood on that. Now I am 100% convinced: It's wrong. You're right that it doesn't help the victim's family: their loved one is still gone! It doesn't bring them back to kill the guy that did it. They need love and forgiveness and a second chance. Sure, they should be punished, but killing is irreperable. And what about the innocent souls who are, essentially, murdered, for no reason at all? This is starting to sound like some kind of medieval regime. I agree totally that nothing good comes of hate. Only war, killing, violence, and other terrible things. Excellently written article, by the way!

on Sep. 5 2011 at 5:08 pm
spiritiris BRONZE, Blacksburg, Virginia
4 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Writing a story is like driving through the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can get the whole way that way."
~E. L. Doctorow

Like that quote:

"Why do we kill people who kill people to show them that killing people is wrong?"

AsIAm PLATINUM said...
on Sep. 5 2011 at 1:03 pm
AsIAm PLATINUM, Somewhere, North Carolina
48 articles 3 photos 606 comments

Favorite Quote:
"According to some, heroic deaths are admirable things. (Generally those who don't have to do it. Politicians and writers spring to mind.) I've never been convinced by this argument, mainly because, no matter how cool, stylish, composed, unflappable, manly, or defiant you are, at the end of the day you're also dead. Which is a little too permanent for my liking." — Jonathan Stroud (Ptolemy's Gate)

I totally disagree with you.  An eye for an eye.  If it is certain that the person was the killer (as in pleaded guilty, caught on camera, dirty ******* sure), then I think they should be killed, and I'm not going to lie - I think it should be in the painfully-evil electric chair.