Bloodthirsty America Essay, Research Paper
Bloodthirsty America On June 7, 1998, James Byrd was decapitated when he was chained behind a pick-up and dragged down a country road, three men are being held without bail on charges of capital murder. James Byrd was a black man, and the three men accused of his death are white; thus, the murder is believed to be a hate crime. These three men, for no other reason than the color of his skin, took the life of this man; who was somebody’s son, somebody’s husband, and somebody’s daddy. Now, I propose a question. Should there be such a thing as the death penalty? Before answering, allow me to ask another question. Do you believe it is wrong to kill an innocent human being despite the person’s race, creed, sex, or color? I am assuming that the majority would answer “yes” to both of these questions; however, this is impossible. If you answered “yes” to the first question, then you must answer “no” to the latter. Since 1900, three hundred and fifty prisoners have been found not guilty while on death row awaiting execution; unfortunately, since then at least twenty-three prisoners have been executed but were later found to be completely innocent, nine of which have taken place since1977. What if you or somebody you know is the next innocent victim of capital punishment? Perhaps you are thinking that that is not likely; however, that is probably what the previous victims thought. For example, in the court case of Herrera V. Collins, Herrera was convicted of murder in the first degree, put on death row, and then executed. However, after Herrera’s execution, new evidence not only proved his innocence, but showed that his sister was the person guilty of the crime. Herrera’s sister is now on death row in Texas awaiting execution. Do you still think that there should be a death penalty? Studies have shown that, throughout history, America is extremely biased and discriminatory. In fact, collected data shows that a black man who kills a white woman is nineteen times more likely to receive the death penalty than a white man who kills a black man. The gender nor the color should have anything to do with the decision of executing somebody. In both cases a human being’s life was taken; not a black man’s life and not a white woman’s life, but a human being’s life. If the government uses the death penalty as a form of punishment, should it not then be used with extreme consistence, and not be race or gender-biased. Take into consideration the cost of capital punishment and that we the taxpayers fund these executions, which are not cheap. In fact, an execution cost somewhere in the circa of three million dollars per execution; therefore, being three to six times more expensive than charging a criminal with second degree murder and giving the person life in prison without parole. The United States has spent one billion dollars on capital punishment since 1976 alone. This is money that could be used to heighten law enforcement, better the education system, aid in medical research, or help the needy; instead, it is being used to end lives. If there is going to be capital punishment should not it be done in a cost efficient manner? What ever happened to the guillotine, firing squad, draw and quartering, and the gallows? A tarp could be lain down and the prisoner could be pushed off a tall building. I would say that would cost no more than thirty dollars.
In all seriousness, would there not be an ample amount of suffering in knowing that you will never set foot in the free world again and will die behind the bars of a prison cell? It seems that the majority of the people in America do not think so, otherwise there would be more than just twelve states which do not practice the death penalty. Since the 1900’s, the United States of America has executed approximately thirteen thousand individuals. Is it really necessary? Many people believe that, because of the death penalty, criminals will be deterred from committing a homicide. However, most homicides are not thought out carefully, but are crimes of passion or anger; therefore, the person is not thinking about the consequences during the time in which the crime is being committed. In actuality, states that have the death penalty also have a higher rate of homicides than states which do not, which is known as the “brutalization theory”. For example, Canada’s homicide rate has dropped twenty-seven percent since they did away with the death penalty. The only downside for states that do not practice the death penalty is that police are more apt to open fire on a suspect. Cooper’s Law: No nation can expect its citizens to obey its authority when it punishes those who commit murder by carrying out the very act its laws are meant to prevent: murder. This has been and will continue to be one of the strongest arguments for the abolition of the death penalty as long as capital punishment is used in the justice system of the United States. State execution will not bring back the victims of our murderers; however, even through the perspective of an abolitionist, it is hard to justify clemency in such cases as with convicted mass murderers and serial killers. But keeping the death penalty, if for nothing less than a few extreme cases, is illogical. Think of some little boy’s or girl’s mother having to tell them that their father was executed even though he was innocent of any crime. Think of your mother having to tell you that. As long as there is such a thing as the death penalty there is the chance that this could happen to you.