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.


on Mar. 3 2010 at 6:32 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

Thanks, I'm glad you liked the writting - I definitly appreciate it. I still must disagree with you though...

I'll be the first to admit that in the past, there have been occasional mistakes made, where the evidence brought forth truly was inadequate for conviction. However, what many people fail to realise is that one of the main contributions to the cost of capital punishment is the fact that the trial must be conducted repeatedly to ensure fair and true convictions. And nowadays, the rate of innocent-killings has decreased signifigantly enough that I feel we should use it more frequently.

As to your first comment, perhaps it is merely a matter of opinion, but I do not believe that those who envoke capital punishment on a murderer are doing anything that even begins to equal that of the murderer. For me, knowing that the murderer was willing to take an innocent life - something that should never be a worry or problem - is absolutely disgusting. I would feel much better knowing that someone who committed murder who be given exactly what their willing to give first.

I'm sorry if this response was poorly developed, but I gotta head out soon.

on Mar. 3 2010 at 5:28 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 to disagree with you but my personal opinion is we think murderers are bad for taking a life yet the people who take the murderers life are doing the same thing. To add on to that what if a mistake was made? What if a guy or girl was accused of murdering some one when really they didn't do it at all. Then we would be taking an innocent person's life. The article was definitely well written, but I disagree with your opinion. I must warn you though before you begin to contradict me I am very opinionated and don't give up.

on Jan. 11 2010 at 12:21 pm
DreamWriter17 PLATINUM, Marengo, Indiana
34 articles 1 photo 682 comments

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

I love it. Great writing. Write more ;)