Death Penalty Paper

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Mitch Paden

Let Justice Prevail

Almost all of us are familiar with the saying “An eye for an eye” and for most people, myself included, that is how the death penalty is viewed. In most people’s eyes, if a person is convicted of murdering someone, it is believed that they should pay for that crime with their own life. However, there are some people who believe that enforcing the death penalty makes society look just as guilty as the convicted. After all, if killing is wrong, what gives us the right to kill them? However, the death penalty eliminates the possibility of a convicted murderer to receive the freedom to commit another crime. Although controversial, in my opinion, enforcing the death penalty can create a safer environment for American citizens because capital punishment is capable of deterring criminals of committing future crimes that would eventually earn them the death penalty. The death penalty has been used throughout history. It has evolved from stoning women to death for committing adultery to giving lethal injections to serial killers. Today, the death penalty is reserved only for the most horrific criminals. It is estimated there is only one execution for every 1600 murders in the United States, which means that the possibility of someone being put to death if they kill someone is extremely low (Sharp). Those against the death penalty claim that the death penalty is barbaric, unconstitutional, and should be banned. This view is the most prominent in the media. In fact 65% of Americans support the use of the death penalty (Koch). So why is the anti-death penalty movement so prominent today? As previously stated, the anti-death penalty activists in this country would have you believe that every time a murderer is executed the justice system has just committed murder as well and that every person on death row is a victim. What one needs to ask is what that person did to get onto death row in the first place? We must remember the people that where killed, and the people whose lives where affected by the murders; these are the real victims, often innocent victims. The victims had a right to live just like everyone else in the world, but their lives were cut short by a murderer. In my opinion, every one has a right to live, but as soon as you murder another human being you forfeit that right. I will never see a convicted felon as some sort of victim, because it was their own actions that brought about their fate, not the actions of another person. After all, when the Navy Seals shot Osama Bin Laden, not too many people believed there was anything unfair or unjust about that, and in effect what you had there was a death penalty, an execution of someone who was a mass murder, and I think that was fair, and justice was served. (McAdams) Anti-death penalty opponents argue that putting a murderer to death will not bring their victims back to life or comfort their victims family, so what is the point? Well, putting someone in prison for the rest of their lives won’t bring their victims back to life either. What punishment would prevent the killer from ever killing again, and what better way to do that than to take their own life away from them. If the most severe penalty a person can receive is to spend the rest of his/her life in jail, then what do you do when this is no longer enough? For example, a New York prisoner named Lemuel Smith, while serving six life sentences for his various crimes, including murder, strangled a female corrections officer, then mutilated and dismembered her body. Because New York has no death penalty, there is nothing that can be done to punish him beside another meaningless life sentence (Koch). I can’t think of a better way to preserve innocent life than to eliminate the murderers that would seek to destroy it. As for consoling the victim’s family, the death of their loved ones murderer may not make them feel better, but at least they can rest easy knowing that the...
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