Sunday, May 2, 2010

Journal Entry 5/3/10 - Capital Punishment

When someone mentions capital punishment, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the death penalty, or execution via lethal injection or electrocution. The death penalty has existed all throughout time and has been put into place using everything from the gallows to the guillotine. Capital punishment is used in our country today for people who commit extremely serious crimes, usually involving multiple murders or cases of rape, etc. A big debate arises and is still very prevalent whenever someone asks whether we should keep employing this punishment tactic. Is it worse to be kept in prison without parole than to just be put to death? In some cases, yes; I believe that sometimes, depending on the individual, it would be worse to suffer in solitary confinement than to just be put to death immediately. Some people, however, just hate knowing that they are waiting to die, just sitting in prison knowing that their day will come and yet not having any control over the situation. Another issue about the death penalty is the topic of innocent victims. What if you were convicted of a serious crime, yet innocent, and was sentenced to the death penalty. How horrible would that be? I have heard cases in which some people have been proven innocent via DNA testing years after being put to death. Although this might be rare, it still has happened enough for the death penalty to be evaluated in its effectiveness. I think however that the death penalty does more good than harm and when false accusations lead to innocent deaths, I think that is faulted to the court system not the death penalty. I am for the death penalty for the most part because it ends people's lives who do not deserve to live after committing evil, gruesome acts. But, at last, there is another debate: the morality of the death penalty. Who is the US to say who gets to live and who gets to die? They are almost playing the "God" role in the court system. If the system ever gets corrupted, there is the deadly potential for everyone just to be put to death, though this is unlikely due to checks and balances. Although many countries have retained capital punishment, there are many nations in Europe that have abolished it. I saw a statistic stating that since colonial times, around 13,000 people have been put to death. This actually surprised me because I would have thought over the course of 300 years, there would be many more people killed due to all the ruthless murderers that have existed throughtout history. The death penalty offers no second chance and this is the only aspect of capital punishment that I am less fond of. Everyone is capable of change and I think that bad people can become good, however the death penalty greatly eliminates this. Overall, I appreciate capital punishment for taking cruel people out of society and lessening the chance of other violent murders and grotesque crimes to occur within our countries boundaries.

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