Other Cheek? Essay, Research Paper
It is a time of mourning for the United States. They are now being compared with the countries they, themselves, condemn. The death penalty is cruel and unusual because it breaks sacred amendments and commandments. The death penalty should no longer be an option. According to many people, “we have progressed since the barbaric stone-age,” (Alexander 1) yet our Judicial system does not seem to show it. Murdering someone is a barbaric act, whether it is by an individual, society, or our government. Everyone has heard the saying, “two wrongs don’t make a right,” what would one call the death penalty? The death penalty must be eliminated because it kills innocents and destroys our fundamental human rights: “the right to life” (Reddall 1), it is racially biased, it is based on revenge not as a deterrent and it does not deter crime, it is more expensive, and it goes directly against The Bible.
Whether someone wants to believe it or not, innocent people have been sent to death row. “From 1900 to 1985, 350 people imposed with the death penalty were innocent, and 23 of those people were actually put to death” (Cruel 2). Supporters of the death penalty seem to show no remorse for these deaths. One supporter said, “In the medical profession almost 100,000 people are wrongly killed every year by errors, and we fix them and move on” (McLaughlin 2). These barbaric acts should not come as a shock, though. “The United States is one of only five countries in the world that execute minors. The U.S. joins Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen” (Cruel 1). It seems ironic that all four other countries the U.S. condemns for human’s rights violations. “Abma criticized the U.S. for using a ‘double standard’ in human rights cases. He said a large gap exists ‘between what the U.S. is saying to others and what the U.S. is doing to its own citizens.’ He cited cases of police brutality and poor prison conditions, aside the obvious death penalty, as examples” (Yashiro 1). ?I have full sympathy for the families of murder and other crimes, but I refuse to accept that one death justifies another? (Reddall 1). Capitol punishment is an act from ages ago and should no longer be used. Although, the argument already seems logical there is still more that can be argued.
?Contrary to popular belief, capitol punishment is 4 to 6 times more expensive than life imprisonment? (McLaughlin 2). Most arguments for capitol punishment are based on the belief that it is less expensive. Supporters say counting the shelter, food, electricity, water, and all other possible luxuries, life imprisonment would be much more expensive. In fact, due to all the appeals the courts have from death penalty recipients, it would be less costly to give an eight-teen year old life imprisonment without parole, rather than give him the death penalty.
?Thou shalt not kill? (Exodus 20:13). Everyone is familiar with this saying, although, everyone breaks it. ?70% of Americans support the death penalty? (McLaughlin 1). The majority, support the death penalty even when the majority of Americans are Christians. ?86.4% of Americans are Christians? (Religion 4). Almost all Christians support the death penalty, in other words. Has everyone become a heathen? What of the quote from The Bible, ?He who is without sin shall cast the first stone? (St. John 8:7). In other words, he who is perfect can condemn others for their sins; the rest of the population can sit and watch. There is only one person who is without sin and God explains it in this quote, ?Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord? (Romans 3:5). The pope even disagrees with the death penalty. The pope also speaks for a very large percentage of Americans. ?Over 60 million people belong to the Roman Catholic Church, which is the largest religious group in the United States? (Religion 2). Heathens or not most people disagree with murder, but yet they find it alright and non-binding to collectively kill someone.
This brings us to the fourth reason. Many claim it is a deterrent. It is not. ?In recent studies it has been shown that states with the death penalty have a higher murder rate than states that have already abolished it? (McLaughlin 1). It may not seem logical, but then again people with an illness do not think logically. The death penalty is not a deterrent; it cannot be. ?Lawes believed hat the death penalty?s defects made it a ?useless punishment too seldom applied by judge and jury to be a warning?? (Hughes 1). The death penalty is not used as a deterrent; it is used as revenge. ?Retribution is just another word for revenge? (Alexander 1). Revenge should not be the reason to kill another person. It should never be. Revenge is the number one reason murders are committed in the first place. ?If we collectively kill for revenge, we, in fact, give the green light for murder? (Alexander 1). Alexander made several good points. Killing someone or ?correcting a wrong with a wrong? (Alexander 1) is not right and never was. It also never will be right, as long as this nation stays civilized. ?Whether it be by the state (us collectively), whether it be by an individual for whatever reason, except in the case of self-defense where there is no alternative, the killing of one person by another or others for whatever reason should be something that is simply ?not done,? period? (Alexander 1). There is one final flaw with the death penalty, though.
This flaw is that it is racially discriminate. Discrimination is the plague of the land and it still lingers. Even where, tried by a group of his peers, discrimination should not appear, it does. ?Of the 4,016 people executed between 1930 and 1990, 53% were black, yet black people comprised only 12% of the American population. And death sentences are 4.3 times more likely to be imposed on convicted murderers if their victims were white than if their victims were black? (Cruel 2). When 12% of the population can declare ownership to 53% of the death row inmates a statement is being made. This is not a statement claiming black people commit more and more malicious crimes than whites, it is saying that there is discrimination in the legal system.
Capitol punishment is not something Americans should support or be proud of. Capitol punishment is a barbaric act that has drawn the United States back into the medieval ages. ?An execution is degrading and inhumane. Whether it is less horrible than other methods is not relevant? (Reddall 1). It is quite evident that capitol punishment has flaws. Of those flaws the worst is the violation of human rights. This is why capitol punishment must be abolished. Capitol punishment must be abolished because it is racially discriminate and it also goes against the very thing this country was founded on: The Bible. Capitol punishment, though, also is used for the very reason murders are committed in the first place: revenge, and it is not used as a deterrent as most would want one to believe. ?Of the 22,000 murders committed each year, only 250 death sentences are handed down? (Cruel 2). With figures as this how can anyone argue that capitol punishment is being used as a deterrent?
Works CitedAlexander, C.C. ?Death Penalty is Wrong For Revenge or Any Reason.? Capitol Times. 28 March 1996: 15A. (Electric Library)
?Cruel and Even More Unusual.? The Economist. 14 February 1998: vol. 346. (Electric Library)
?Exodus.? The Holy Bible. Cleveland: The World Publishing Co. Vs. 20:13
Hughes, Kyle. ? ?Useless? or Necessary Deaths.? Gannett News Service. 7 March 1995. (Electric Library)
McLaughlin, Abraham. ?98 Executions in ?99 Re-ignites a Capital Debate.? The Christian Science Monitor. 27 December 1999. (Electric Library)
Redall, Braden. ?Europe, U.N. Condemns Tucker Execution.? Reuters. 4 February 1998. (Electric Library)
?Religion.? The World Almanac and Book of Facts. New York: Newspaper Enterprise Assoc., 1998
?Romans.? The Holy Bible. Cleveland: The World Publishing Co. Vs. 3:5
?St. John.? The Holy Bible. Cleveland: The World Publishing Co. Vs. 8:7
Yashiro, Mitch. ?Dartmouth College Speakers Criticize U.S. For Use of Death Penalty.? University Wire. 5 May 1999. (Electric Library)