The United States is one of a few developed democracies that still enforces the death penalty. The death penalty is common practice in a variety of authoritarian countries such as the People's Republic of China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. This unjust action has continued in the United States in a variety of states, states that still enforce brutal practices from a different time.
Capital punishment is inherently cruel and unusual and has no place within a "civilized society." Capital punishment is the process of killing someone no matter how it is framed. Do we really want a government to have its hand in deciding who lives and who dies? Is it not a massive overreach of government?
The United States continues to be a pariah in legal proceedings with the rest of the industrialized world. A society that respects lives of its citizens should never under any circumstances endorse lethal fury on those who may or may not have been guilty of heinous acts.
The most common argument that I often hear is that if I had someone I loved who was murdered, would I not wish the same on them? Of course I would. My own opinion shouldn't dominate the judicial and political process, for revenge even for the most inhumane acts can never be justified. If someone murdered someone I truly cared about, I would want the worst upon them, there is no doubt about that. This is why an independent judicial system is key, for my emotions should not take the life of another. On the other side of this, a justice system that kills its citizens is endorsing killing as a viable means serves no example to those who inflict the most heinous actions against another.
According to a recent study, "more than 4 percent of inmates sentenced to death in the United States are probably innocent." That means that 1 in 25 people sentenced to death are likely to be in fact innocent. What if you were that 4 percent who may very well end up on death row for a crime you did not commit? It's bad enough to be in prison for a crime you did not commit, but there is no coming back after the death penalty.
One of the most abhorrent things I remember hearing in the 2012 Republican Primary Debates was Rick Perry on the death penalty. Governor Perry claimed that he had never been concerned about the execution of innocent people, and that it is the "ultimate justice," in Texas. What was even worse was the massive applause after the governor's statement, showing that there is still a massive block of the United States who believes in the death penalty.
I personally have often went back and forth on this issue. When I hear about a prolific murderer, an abhorrent and twisted person, my first reaction is that they should pay the ultimate price. Yet when I take the time to reflect what service does it does for society? Outside of the financial costs for the death penalty, which are in fact more costly than life in prison, what does it say about a society which practices these killings?
When you reflect upon these divisive issues, what is your reaction? Why do you have that reaction? Is it justified? Why or why not? It seems simple enough, yet this is the process we must go through when we make our opinions on these types of cases. We are not playing a game, we are playing with people's lives.