It is a time of mourning for the United States. They ate now being compared with the countries they, themselves, condemn. The death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment 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 one would call the death penalty? The death penalty must be eliminated because it kills innocents and destroys our fundamental human rights: “the right to life” (Reddal 1), it is racially biased, it is based on revenge not as a deterrent and it does not deter crime, it is more expensive.
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 were 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 that ironic that all four other countries the U.S. condemns for human 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). “I have full sympathy for the families of murder and other crimes, but I refuse to accept that one death justifies another” (Reddal 1). Capital 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, capital punishment is four to six times more expensive than life imprisonment” (McLaughlin 2). Most arguments for capital 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 more expensive. In fact, due to all 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.
This brings us to the fourth reason. Many claim it is a deterrent. It is not. “In recent studies it has been shown that the states with the death penalty have a higher murder rate than the states that 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 that the death penalty’s defects made it a useless punishment too seldom applied by a judge and a jury to be warning” (Hughes 1). The death penalty is not used as a deterrent; it’s used as revenge. “Retribution is just another word for revenge” (Alexander 1). Revenge should not be the reason to kill another person. 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 for correcting a wrong with a wrong is never right it never was. “Whether it be by the state, individual, or except in self-defense killing of one person by another or others should simply not take place.
There is one final flaw in the death penalty, it is racially discriminative. Even where, tried by a group of peers racial discrimination appears. “Of the 4,016 people executed between 1930 and 1990, 53 percent were black, yet black people comprised only 12 percent of the American population. And the death sentences are 4.3 times more likely imposed on convicted murders if their victims were white rather than being black”(Cruel 2). When 12 percent of the population can declare ownership to 53 percent of the death row inmates a statement is being made. This is not a statement claiming black people commit more malicious crimes than whites, it is saying that there is discrimination in the legal system.
Capital punishment is not something Americans should support or be proud of. Capital punishment is a barbaric act that has drawn the U.S. back into the medieval ages. It is quite evident that capital punishment has flaws. Of those flaws the worst is the violation that the person maybe or was innocent. Capital punishment is a final say in our legal system and it may wrong, and if it’s wrong two families suffer. The death penalty is an ineffective deterrent, morally violating, and goes against the basic human rights.
McLaughlin, Abraham.”98 Executions in ’99 Re-ignites a capital debate.” The Christian science monitor. 27 December 1999.
Redall, Braden. “Europe, U.N. condemns Tucker execution.” Reuters. 4 February 1998.
Alexander, C.C. “Death Penalty is Wrong For Revenge or Any Reason.” Capital times. 28 March 1996: 15A.
Yashiro, Mitch. “Dartmouth College Speakers Criticize U.S. for use of Death Penalty.” University Wire. 5 May 1999.