There is no nice way to say it. The death penalty is the cold-blooded, premeditated taking of a person’s life — sometimes called murder in the first degree. The people who are committing this murder are the citizens whose government carries out the penalty — you and me. Yes, we are the murders! The criminal being penalized (murdered, or as we euphemistically refer to it — executed) was convicted of committing an egregious offense, typically in some deranged state of mind. We the citizens, on the other hand, are hopefully not in a deranged state. We have deliberately, with malice-aforethought, decided to kill someone and then done it. That’s the definition of ‘Murder in the first degree’.
One very puzzling aspect to this dilemma is the juxtaposition of society being both pro-life and pro-death penalty.
There wasn’t much of an outcry against it, though some would certainly deem the juxtaposition a bit ironic. Indeed, it raises a difficult question for the pro-life crowd: Is it possible to be pro-life and still endorse the death penalty?
It’s a difficult question because abortion and capital punishment are different. One victim is innocent and the other criminal, but each directly ends human life — which is why a thorough pro-life movement should oppose both.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. According to Pew Research, 59% of Republicans say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, but 77% favor the death penalty. Clearly, many pro-lifers are not applying their ideology consistently, or there would not be such high support for capital punishment.”
The people who are strongly pro-life refer to abortion as murder, but do not realize that being pro death penalty makes them murderers.
Now we must consider the ‘fairness’ of the use of the death penalty.
“From initial charging decisions to plea bargaining to jury sentencing, African-Americans are treated more harshly when they are defendants, and their lives are accorded less value when they are victims. All-white or virtually all-white juries are still commonplace in many localities.
· A report sponsored by the American Bar Association in 2007 concluded that one-third of African-American death row inmates in Philadelphia would have received sentences of life imprisonment if they had not been African-American.
· A January 2003 study released by the University of Maryland concluded that race and geography are major factors in death penalty decisions. Specifically, prosecutors are more likely to seek a death sentence when the race of the victim is white and are less likely to seek a death sentence when the victim is African-American.
· A 2007 study of death sentences in Connecticut conducted by Yale University School of Law revealed that African-American defendants receive the death penalty at three times the rate of white defendants in cases where the victims are white. In addition, killers of white victims are treated more severely than people who kill minorities, when it comes to deciding what charges to bring.”
What makes this situation even more tragic is that the death penalty does not work. Go to the Amnesty International website and click on “Death Penalty Facts.”
“Know the Facts About Capital Punishment
Capital punishment does not work. There is a wealth of mounting evidence that proves this fact.
The death penalty, both in the U.S. and around the world, is discriminatory and is used disproportionately against the poor, minorities and members of racial, ethnic and religious communities. Since humans are fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.
Furthermore, the astronomical costs associated with putting a person on death row — including criminal investigations, lengthy trials and appeals — are leading many states to re-evaluate and re-consider having this flawed and unjust system on the books.”
Specifically, the ACLU responds to the question:
“Q: Doesn’t the Death Penalty deter crime, especially murder?
A: No, there is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment. States that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates.
The death penalty has no deterrent effect. Claims that each execution deters a certain number of murders have been thoroughly discredited by social science research. People commit murders largely in the heat of passion, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or because they are mentally ill, giving little or no thought to the possible consequences of their acts. The few murderers who plan their crimes beforehand — for example, professional executioners — intend and expect to avoid punishment altogether by not getting caught. Some self-destructive individuals may even hope they will be caught and executed.
Death penalty laws falsely convince the public that government has taken effective measures to combat crime and homicide. In reality, such laws do nothing to protect us or our communities from the acts of dangerous criminals.”
There are so many things wrong with this death penalty situation. It’s murder. It’s racially biased. And it doesn’t work. We need to do away with the death penalty.