Sunday, May 2, 2010

If you kill someone you should be killed back.

That’s capital punishment in a nutshell. This seems fair to me. Yet, those who believe in capital punishment are hypocrites. I am aware that I just called myself a hypocrite. Follow my logic…
A person kills someone. Bad! This person is convicted of a capital crime and sentenced the death penalty. Another person administers the killer a lethal injection. Good? Should the second killer also be killed, and so forth? At what point does the killing become justified? Granted, the original kill was out of cold blood and the other out of justice. However, both victims end up in the same place. The world has pardoned the second killing as an act of justice; rightfully so.

Capital punishment exists not because it is effective and flawless. There simply exists no alternative. Practices such as capital punishment, marriage, and even war have existed throughout mankind; as a species we struggle with alternatives to these practices. In regards to capital punishment, we simply do it by default. Hammurabi, Genghis Khan, Ivan—they all used such punishment as a fear tactic. It will never prevent murder or crime, but it will take a murderer off of the street.

There is no logical stance about capital punishment. If you are for it, you are labeled as some redneck right-winged nut that lives in Texas and drives a Chevy. If you are against it, you are a liberal ass (as in the mascot for a Democrat) who believes killers have a heart of gold and they are sorry for what they did and promise to not do it again. Both stereotypes, entirely false and counterproductive, illustrate the difficulty in forming an opinion about capital punishment. On one hand, you feel that the killer needs to be given what he gave out and should be killed. On the other hand, you feel that the state is just as guilty as the killer for administering the death penalty. Both sides offer strong arguments, yet only one is productive. Killing the killer ends the chain. Justice is served. Jailing the killer solves nothing. It just lets him sulk and whine in a prison cell. Many believe that reflecting on a murder in jail is punishment enough. But honestly, do you believe that a cold- blooded killer is going to feel bad for an action he or she was clearly aware of committing? No. You may choose to believe that killers have a heart but when in jail, they are not thinking about how terrible they are for killing someone. Frankly, they are probably more concerned about not dropping the soap. Jesse Jackson, a political activist as blunt as they come, states that “Capital punishment turns the state into a murderer. But imprisonment turns the state into a gay dungeon-master.”

Capital punishment is a lose-lose situation. No matter how you look at it, there is no correct way to form an opinion about capital punishment. Either you’re a right-winged nut job or a liberal human rights wacko. You choose.


  1. According to Robert, I an a liberal human rights wacko. Thank you, Robert. Anyways, I agree with Robert's statement that capital punishment is a lose-lose situation. However, I have to debate his claim that cold-blooded murderers will not understand the consequences of their actions. Unless the murderer is legally insane, which some are, they most likely have a conscious. I could understand that Rob may think that all murderers are just psychos but sometimes it has a bigger meaning. For instance, some murders may be self defense. In that case, some innocent, working class, single parent, mother or father of three may be convicted of a crime unintentionally and be sentenced to death.

  2. For some reason I kind of getting a feel that Robert is more interested in bashing liberals in this essay than actually talking about the issue at hand. I do agree with Robert’s assertion that there are no good solutions to the question concerning the validity of the death penalty. What I have problems with is the feeling that Robert is suggesting that nothing should be done to those who commit murder. It seems that he dismisses the effectiveness of the capital punishment and at the same time undermines the utility of its alternative. This, I could imagine, is a representation of both sides of the capital punishment debate: One side states that capital punishment is useless thus should be abolished while the other side states that life in prison is bad so that the prisoners should just be killed.