Capital Punishment | TeenInk

Capital Punishment

December 31, 2009
By Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand


Since her founding, America’s citizens have always debated with a fiery yet unyielding air. This mindset has led our fine country through the direst of experiences; from declaring our independence from England’s tyranny, to battling with today’s heinous hordes of terrorists that fight to see us fall, the firm stance we take has always held. This state of mind stretches farther than the battlefield of course. Philosophers, lawyers, writers, and soccer moms alike, the people of America use their strong wills to further their stance in all areas. The topic of capital punishment, however, receives criticism and praise alike, without ever obtaining a definite consensus. The state sanctioned execution of murderers has always been a controversial subject, as some individuals are no longer able to see the obvious decision that must be made. Some have taken America’s persistent manner to such extents that they become blind to the logic and reason that must be seen. Unfortunately, there are those who are merely veiled beneath a screen of false morality, self indulgence, and misinterpreted religion; although some people value the life of a murder victim, others prefer to give their resources and energies towards the protection of the murderer.
When attempting to justify an opposition to capital punishment, many question the morality of killing a murderer; notice, though, that this is inquired while no words are spoken about the morality of the murderer’s actions. What distorted form of logic is this? If executing a murderer is immoral, why are the murderer’s violent acts not considered astronomically worse? If the victim’s life is to be honored and valued to any degree, then the murderer must receive in full that which they were eager to dispense. Sentencing anything less is an absolute insult to the victim and his survivors, and reveals just how highly a person values human life.
Despite illogical protests about the morality of capital punishment, there are those who bring the legitimate concern of its possible contradictions to religious teachings. Contrary to popular believe, none of the three major religious philosophies instruct against executing murderers. In fact, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all instruct their followers to enact capital punishment. Certainly, one of the Ten Commandments reads, “though shall not kill”; however, this verse is not opposing the death penalty (Teaching New Testament Ministries). The Ten Commandments is a guideline by which Christians are to live, and this particular commandment reprimands those that would take an innocent life (Teaching New Testament Ministries). On the issue of executed murderers, however, the Bible is quite clear. Exodus 20: 12 of the Holy Bible states, “Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death.” This exact verse is included in the Jewish Talmud as well. In the Koran, the Muslim is instructed, “O you who believe, equivalence is the law decreed for you when dealing with murder – the free for the free, the slave for the slave, the female for the female” (Koran 2:178). Those who assert that religions speak against capital punishment should probably spend a few days researching the subject first.
Another legitimate worry brought up when dealing with the capital punishment is the cost. Fearful that executing criminals may lighten their wallets – a genuine worry with today’s unstable economy – many favor life without parole in an effort to save their hard-earned resources. Admittedly, the annual costs of a death penalty case are larger than those of a life without parole case, $26,000 larger in fact (Justice for All). Unfortunately, most of the attacks on expenses of capital punishment stem from this fact alone, and a crucial point is missed. The thirty four thousand dollar cost of a life without parole case is taken from citizens every year until the inmate’s death; with the average convict living for fifty years, America’s people would pay 1,710,000 dollars per inmate, and this doesn’t even include state tax or trial and appeal costs (Justice for All). Logic applied to the most basic of mathematics clearly concludes that those whose concerns are primarily economic ought to favor capital punishment over life without parole.
Not only cost effective, capital punishment is also a prime deterrent to future crimes; however, relatively few people belief this to be true. With a seemingly endless list of assault, murder, and other violent crimes streaming out of the morning news stations, why would they? Yet looking at true criminal statistics reveals that capital punishment is in fact a great murder deterrent, especially when shown next to crimes not punishable by death, such as forcible rape. Between the years 1960 and 1965, the average number of state sanctioned executions was thirty-one, with the average number of annual murders staying at 8890; large numbers to be sure, but when weighed against the next fifteen years, things are put into perspective (Federal Bureau of Investigation). During years 1966 to 1980, executions in the United States went into a lull, with a total of six during these fifteen years. Simultaneously, as the number of executions dropped, the average murder rate per year soared to twenty one thousand, two hundred and sixty three murders per year (Federal Bureau of Investigation). Once capital punishment became used more frequently again, the murder rate slowly began to drop.
Overall, support of capital punishment is unquestionably the means in which murderers should be dealt justice. Aside from its cost efficiency, religious support, and use as a crime deterrent, capital punishment is the most ethical form of justice American applies. In order to adequately show our appreciation for human life itself, we can only give to the murderer an equivalence of what he gave to his victim. Consider this: you are the victim’s brother, his sister, his coworker, his friend. How do you respond to the loss of someone so close to you? Would you let their murderer live on? What if the victim was you?

The author's comments:
This piece was one written for English class, (which is also the reason for the in text citations). I feel incredibly strongly on this topic, and would be happy to discuss it with anyone.

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This article has 23 comments.


123Sesame said...
on Feb. 23 2012 at 12:52 pm
123Sesame, New York, New York
0 articles 0 photos 36 comments
I'm in total agreement with you.

on Jun. 18 2011 at 11:02 pm
Sacrifice SILVER, Fostoria, Iowa
6 articles 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
"One life is all we have to live, and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without beleif, that is a fate worse than death" ~Joan of Arc

"To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice."
-Desmond Tutu

"Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders."
-Albert Camus, French philosopher

What gives us the choice of who lives and who dies? By allowing the death penalty, we become worse than the murderers we are slaugtering.


on Jun. 9 2010 at 8:30 pm
DreamWriter17 PLATINUM, Marengo, Indiana
34 articles 1 photo 682 comments

Favorite Quote:
learn from your past to live for the future.

I see your point about the sexist thing, and I thought about that myself while I was writing it, but it seemed a bit of a stretch to write son/daught/father/mother/brother/sister/ect

so I just wrote the male part.  Sorry about that.

 

Also, concerning the point about the accident thing, I understand where you're coming from.  "Whether or not it was an accident" was not a fair statement to all the murder victims out there, because the definition of "murder" is "killing on purpose" (give or take a few intellectual dictionary words).  I was thinking more across the scenario of where like someone was robbing a store or something and they accidentally shot the casheer or something.  If it's an accident, it's not murder.  My bad for not being very intuitive on my point.  Sorry.

 

Also, another thing I forgot to mention before that I forgot while writing, when you said "someone who is murdering a murderer isn't bad" that depends on who is doing the "murdering".  If it is someone who is a friend or is in some way related to the murder victim and they're out for revenge, then, yes, it is the same crime, but that is not the case in this aspect.  ("Justice is mine," sayeth the Lord--Hebrews 10:30, just a case in point, if anyone here is religious)  In the question of capital punishment, the murderer deserves to die, and when the law sees it fit to deal out the death sentence, it is not murder, it is justice.  Justice is not revenge.   (Also, in case anyone is interested again, God said that if the law does not punish murderers or criminals the way it says it will, then that is the wrong thing.)

 

And, no, counseling may help drug addicts or alcoholics or the like, but murderers need to die, not sit in a cell for the rest of their lives, they need to die.


on Jun. 9 2010 at 7:43 pm
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

Actually you are going to be answered! Hurray! One thing not so related to this topic is that I think you made a very sexist point when you stated the family may hate the government for killing their son/father/brother/ect. You completely excluded the girls from this statement making it seem like boys are the only killers. 

 

Anyway back on the topic of this article you said at the beginning of your post "whether or not it was an accident... the murderer deserves to die" then later you say "it was that person's own fault" which is contradicting your earlier point. Because let's say someone is playing soccer or whatever and they are trying to get the ball from someone and the other person trips over their legs, but it's all an accident. This happens all the time, but let's say this person happens to hit their head really hard and they die. Does the innocent person fighting for the soccer ball deserve to die? I don't think so!!! If you disagree with me on this I would like to know why so please reply.

BTW Crawford Kid I am back at full force if you would like to continue our debate. With the end of the school year coming around I have more time on my hands and feel we can continue if you wish. Thanks!


on Jun. 9 2010 at 4:40 pm
DreamWriter17 PLATINUM, Marengo, Indiana
34 articles 1 photo 682 comments

Favorite Quote:
learn from your past to live for the future.

So...I was just reading this and I know no one will probably bother to answer me, but I hafta say I agree with crawfordkid.  The person, regardless of how or why or whether or not it was an accident, killed another person.  That other person may have been a terrible person, too, but the point has been made that a murder has been committed.  That person deserves to die.  End of story.  Sure, the family may hate the government for killing their son/father/brother/ect. but it was that person's own fault, and, like crawfordkid said, the knowledge that their family member is a murderer is worse than death.  I also agree with Destinee that a life sentence would be more inhumane than a death sentence.

Alright, point made, I'll stop talking.  But I whole-heartedly agree with crawfordkid, and once again say great writing and intuition.  :)


on Jun. 9 2010 at 1:40 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Thanks!  

on May. 11 2010 at 5:32 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

I know it would hurt to have a son or daughter be sentenced to death - but would it really hurt as much as the knowledge that they are a murderer? I do feel sorrow for those whose loved ones are put to death by the law, but I feel even more sorrow for those who had loved ones that lost there lives for no reason at all.

Templar314 said...
on Apr. 26 2010 at 2:47 pm
This essay shows pity for the friends and relatives of murder victims, but what about the friends and relatives of murderers? I expect that if one knew someone who was executed, one would feel the same way as if one had known someone who was murdered. The death penalty can create as much sorrow as schadenfreude.

on Apr. 1 2010 at 5:17 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

No worries, I've been really busy lately, so I was gonna suggest continuing it at a later date anyway.
Hopefully one day you'll change your mind and come to the good side, but if you're as stubborn as I am, I won't hold my breath. ;-)
Happy Thursday!

on Apr. 1 2010 at 5:02 pm
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

Sorry for the long break in my replies. I have decided this arguement is pointless, as I know that sadly, I cannot change your mind. And as stubborn as I am there is no way to change my mind. If you still want to continue I will keep writing, but i think it's pointless. Sorry.

on Mar. 29 2010 at 3:53 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Thank you destinee. *bows*

on Mar. 24 2010 at 6:53 pm
Destinee BRONZE, Oakville, Other
3 articles 0 photos 306 comments

Favorite Quote:
Blegh. - Abraham Lincoln

Sorry to invade on what is obviously between you two, but quite honestly, I think that a life sentence is much more inhumane than death. To be stuck in a cell your whole life with no chance of ever getting out isn't exactly humane.

Also, you've got to try to put off potential murderers. The thought of dying is much more likely to prevent murderers from killling than the thought of (as crawfordkid mentioned) getting fed, having a bed, etc, in a prison.

on Mar. 15 2010 at 3:32 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

Words can't begin to describe how much I disagree with you on that. Counciling? Really? I mean come on, if I REALLY didn't like someone - to the point that I had violent thoughts - I would have no second thoughts on murder if I knew the worst I had to look forward to was prison and counsiling. 3 square meals a day? Gyms? Visits from the fam. and friends? Sounds nearly as good as life know...I wouldn't even need a job!

No, attempting to councile murderers in place of capital punishment would be - forgive me my frankness - absolutely idiotic. To put it lightly.

on Mar. 13 2010 at 8:47 am
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

Okay , so I know counciling them mught not work, but it's worth a try.

on Mar. 13 2010 at 8:47 am
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

If someone truly is bad, murdering more than once without thought, I agree that is horrible but first they should be given chance to change. A chance to understand their actions, and fix them. I think these people should be put in jail and then told their is no way of them getting out, and council them to try to get them to see their wrong. If they don't believe this is going to help them get out of jail they will be serious and won't lie about their thoughts (hopefully). Also there are cases where the people who murdered had a serious lack of judgement. Or what if they were drunk and got into an arguement and under the influence of alchol decided the best way to get out was to kill somebody. Sure drinking is irresponsible, but we don't kill everyone who gets drunk. Also if we keep them in jail until their death they wouldn't be out their anymore and it would be the same as killing them except without killing them.

on Mar. 11 2010 at 7:46 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

I respect the victim's life as they are innocent victims who are no longer able to fulfill their role as beneficial and productive members of society, are no longer able to spend time loving others and being loved, raising families, or grow old with those they loved.

The murderer, however, has lived a corrupt life, cutting away threads in the lace of life with often less than a whim, never caring of the life lost, the families uprooted, the lives worlds upheaved.

That, little-miss-sunshine, is why I respect the use of capital punishment, because if the murderer doesn't respect the lives of others, why do others agree?

on Mar. 11 2010 at 3:37 pm
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

I'm sorry about how repetitive I'm getting I just never get your point of view so I say mine again. It's a pretty bad tactic, I know.

on Mar. 7 2010 at 3:37 pm
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

Sorry about the putting words into your mouth thing. I didn't mean that's what you were saying I thought maybe if you read it that way you would see that it's not okay, but I didn't put it in a context that looked like that, did I? Sorry.

You said you must respect the victim's life yet it is not only the victim's life that should be respected it is everybody's life, including the murderer's. That's what I was trying to say in my last post. One life may have been taken, but why for every one life must we take another? Losing one life is bad enough, but two?

How are those people who take a murderer's life not committing the same crime as the murderer?

I guess I understand your point about soldiers now.

on Mar. 6 2010 at 1:32 pm
Karma_Chameleon SILVER, English, Indiana
8 articles 0 photos 236 comments

Favorite Quote:
To be able to say "I love you" one must first be able to say "I" - Ayn Rand

I am in fact saying that someone who is enacting capital punishment against a murderer is not bad. Why? Because I believe that if we are unwilling to give a murderer what the same that they gave to their victim, we are not showing the respect and value to that victim's life that is deserved. And you're second sentece is incorrect logically, as those who carry out capital punishment are not comitting an unlawful crime. No, I never said it can be done because the executioners didn't "Start it", you are putting words into my mouth. What I am saying is that not executing those who take innocent lives - emphasis on the word innocent - does not reflect well on how highly one places value on human life. (Hint: sarcasm doesn't translate well via forum post, so let's use more sophisticated tactics in our debates, shall we?)

In response to the second half of your post, no, I would never execute a soldier, as they are protecting the wellfare of our great country. Yes, casualities of war do happen, and yes, they are incredibly unfortunate, and efforts must be taken to ensure they do not happen. But if we remove war completely, our countries enemies are going to in turn invade America - and you can be sure they won't be so kind on sparing the innocents.

Don't worry about offending me, it takes more than an opposing opinion to ruffle my feathers.

on Mar. 4 2010 at 6:27 pm
Lost-In-Life GOLD, Whitby, Other
11 articles 0 photos 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
It's never to late, if it weren't for the last minute many things would never get done!

So you're saying that someone who is murdering a murderer isn't bad? So they are committing the crime but they didn't "Start it" so that's okay. They can take a life, but they have a reason so it doesn't matter. (Hint: that was sarcasm) It doesn't matter what the person has done, they are still human and deserve the same respect. I understand that what they have done is horrid, of course, but we have to forgive. they aren't going to learn their lesson in a coffin now are they? I think they should be punished, like what about jail, but killing them isn't giving them a chance to see how bad their deeds were. On the same subject but different angle, what about the soldiers? Are you going to kill all the soldiers now cuz they killed some people that had brothers and sisters and moms and dads and wives or husbands and children, who maybe were forced to be in that war? i don't think so. And don't say well that's their job, because if some one's job is to kill someone that doesn't make it any better than if they decided to kill someone on their own. To tell you the truth I'm getting pretty worked up here, so sorry if my comment seems rude in any way.