The Death Penalty





3/12/04


English 3rd


Essay


As times goes on civilizations evolve. Obsolete traits are discarded and new ones are acquired which are better tailored to our times. One trait, which has become obsolete, is capital punishment. This hypocritical, ineffective practice is a relic of archaic times. In our current time it serves no practical purpose and is to blame for many innocent deaths.


One particularly deplorable aspect of the death penalty is its hypocrisy. Whether it be a legal execution or a murder on the street the end result is the same. The sentencer is guilty of the same crime as the person he is sentencing, murder. Killing to show killing is wrong simply does not make sense. Our society sets a horrendous double standard with the death penalty. However hypocrisy is hardly as terrible as other aspects of the death penalty.


One such aspect is the killing of innocents. Many who have been sentenced to death have later been proven innocent. How can our country condone a practice where innocents are sent to their death? Between 1900 and 1980 twenty-three people were executed who were later proven innocent. Had these victims been sent to jail they could have been simply released. Death however is quite irreversible. No matter how incredible our technology becomes at collecting evidence, there is still a risk of fallibility. Gambling life and death on that fallible evidence is purely unacceptable.


An even more heinous offense is that the death penalty does not deter crime. “Career criminals” (those most often sent to death) are not planning on getting caught and thus are not deterred by even the harshest of consequences. According to a study from the organization “Death Penalty Focus”, many other killers commit the act during, “great emotional stress… times when they are not thinking of the consequences.” The amount of people sent to death row in 1953 was one hundred. We now send around four thousand a year. It is ridiculous to continue this pointless slaughter in our country.


In spite of these strong arguments against the death penalty the US remains a stalwart supporter keeping company with countries such as Iran, Iraq, and China. The possible killing of innocents is shameful and depressing. Even more disturbing is the fact that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent of crime. The death penalty is archaic and it is an embarrassment for our country to be a proponent of such a backward practice. It is time that we end this disgraceful practice and abolish the death penalty.