Death penalty needed in society
Published: Monday, October 29, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 29, 2012 20:10
Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is one of the most hotly debated topics in our country. Some argue the death penalty is constitutional and is an appropriate punishment for capital crime, murder in particular.
Others believe the death penalty is unconstitutional and qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment and see it as revenge. Those individuals feel the death penalty represents “an eye for an eye” analogy that should not exist in a civilized society. In my opinion, capital punishment should remain legal and not be abolished.
However, I understand and can even identify with arguments opponents of capital punishment present. Let’s analyze the other perspective for a moment. Opponents of the death penalty claim the capital punishment is unfair and inhumane.
Those who say capital punishment is unfair claim the courts use capital punishment to discriminate against minorities and underprivileged citizens. Based on extensive research, reviewing many crimes and court cases and even witnessing this discrimination, sadly, their claim is true. There are more cases of minorities convicted in homicide cases and receiving the death penalties than there are of caucasians convicted of homicide and receiving the death penalty. We also know homicides involving parties of different races result in an uproar and usually includes very harsh sentencing of the minority party. To ignore these facts would be delusional. They also claim innocent people have been executed, and keeping the death penalty in tact risks more innocent people being executed.
Although this is hard to stomach, I’m afraid that this is true, as well. With our broken and flawed judicial system, we all know sometimes innocent people are wrongly convicted, mainly because those individuals lacked a fair trial and were poorly represented (usually by a public defender) because they couldn’t afford to hire a good attorney.
There are a number of cases that can prove this. Opponents of capital punishment also claim the death penalty is inhumane and cruel because they see death as the worst kind of punishment.
While these are very accurate and convincing arguments, I don’t think abolishing the death penalty is a good idea. I think the abolishing of the death penalty is mostly centered on ideology. I recognize death sentencing is executed unfairly, but abolishing it is not a wise decision either.
Much of the reasoning behind my stance is my empathy for victims and more importantly, their families. I know some families of victims by homicide disagree with the death penalty and vehemently oppose it. Then again, there are families whose loved ones have been slaughtered (in very vicious ways in some cases, I might add) who support the death penalty.
Who’s to say who’s right and who is wrong? Can you really say a family of a deceased victim is wrong to want their loved one’s killer sentenced to death given the vicious way the loved one’s life was taken away? Yes, I know there is a possibility the court can convict the wrong person, but what if that person really did do it? Can you really call the pursuit of justice “vengeance?”
Think of the pain, anguish and grief the family feels as a result of a loved one’s untimely death. People react to grief differently and have different feelings.
While some believe seeking death against the perpetrator who murdered a loved one is vengeance, some see it as justice. It is only natural to want the criminal to pay for what he or she has done.
I know the death of the criminal won’t bring the victim back (because nothing will) but the death penalty may provide some closure for the victims’ families (heavy emphasis on the word “may” because this is too complex to be certain). Families of those who were murdered by someone on death row may find it easier to live knowing the person who killed their loved one is deceased, instead of having tax dollars pay to keep him or her alive.
Other families of victims feel otherwise and think seeking death may make them feel worse or make them feel vengeful. The point here is no one can decide this but the families themselves.
I’m sorry, but I just can’t stomach the idea of saying a grieving family is wrong, immoral or evil for wanting their loved one’s killer executed, just as the loved one was killed. Imagine if this situation happened to you. It’s easy to judge when you’re on the other side of the fence. One can never know how he or she may react to a tragedy until it actually happens to them.
Now if you have experienced a tragedy like this and you still feel as though capital punishment is nothing short of revenge and you have “forgiven” the person who took your loved ones life, then I am happy for you (although I am very sorry for your loss).
However, to force that ideology and belief on other families is wrong. They are different and feel differently than you do, and it is wrong to assert that you are right and they are wrong.
I agree our criminal justice system is very flawed along with procedure of the death penalty and something needs to be done about it, but I think trying to outlaw capital punishment is too rash and may cause more harm than intended.