It is no secret I oppose capital punishment. I don’t oppose it because I don’t believe the guilty should pay for their crimes. I do oppose it because revenge is not justice. I oppose it because it is the ultimate punishment that is carried out far too easily in a flawed justice system.
We have risen beyond an eye for an eye. Capital punishment is an emotional punishment. Emotion has no place in a justice system. What does it say about us, as a society, that we are willing to kill our fellow citizens without remorse? Yes, that is exactly what happens on the streets of Chicago every day. But does that mean that murdering a murderer is the correct option?
There are several countries left on the planet that still impose the death penalty, about twenty percent of countries, in fact. Among them: Afghanistan; Botswana; China; Egypt; India; Iran; Iraq; North Korea; Lebanon; Pakistan; Singapore; Somalia. That is certainly not a list I’m proud to be on.
Proponents of capital punishment often argue that it serves as a deterrent against murder. Studies show that is not the case. Well, in the case of the person being executed by the state, yes, they are now deterred from committing another murder.
We are all members of this society and, as such, are complicit in each execution. Yes, we are all responsible for the deaths of the 1379 people who have been executed by states since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.
The National Academy of Sciences recently released a study showing one in twenty five people on death row are innocent. In recent times, 138 people on death row have been released because their innocence was proven. One person is one too many. 138 should be terrifying to all!
Think about that for a minute. 138 people were sentenced to die using a justice system that we still trust today to take someone’s life. How is it possible that we are still accepting of state sanctioned murder when it has been proven that people are incorrectly sentenced to die?
Emotions are a part of life. But when determining whether a person lives or dies, emotions have no place. Just the facts, ma’am. It’s truly astounding to me that we are accepting of such injustice.
I realize proponents say that capital punishment provides justice to the victims and the victim’s families. While that may be true, I once again say, two wrongs do not make a right. Killing a person who killed a person does nothing more than make us all killers.
If we desire to be a society of killers, then we’re on the right path. I would like to believe we’re better than that, though evidence is contrary. What can be done? It’s actually rather simple: no more capital punishment. Period. The death penalty does not deter. It costs taxpayers an absurd amount of money. Yes, it costs more than life in prison. Why do we still execute people then? Revenge. Plain and simple. It makes us feel better. What does that say about us? Certainly nothing good, nothing good at all.