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The Death Penalty: To Be Or Not To Be Abolished

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The death penalty has been present for decades. It is commonly sentenced to perpetrators guilty of serious crimes, such as murder. It has been debated and controversial for as long as it has been enabled. Typically, people are either for or against the death penalty. Many believe that the killing of someone as punishment is wrong, whereas others believe the opposite. The death penalty should not be abolished because it provides justice to murder victims and their families, it lowers crime rates and protects citizens from criminals that may strike again.

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When someone gets murdered, their life is ripped away from them, left to be nothing but a memory. They are not the only victim. Their families are just as much a victim as they are. They often experience trauma, in some instances their mental health deteriorates, and they lose trust. Those who act upon such a crime deserve to be punished the way they punished their victims. Multiple families that lose loved ones to murder wish the same upon the killer. In what way is it fair that the killer gets to live on while they stole the life of an innocent citizen? Take the case of Minnie and Ed Maurin for example. They were an elderly couple, grandparents, adored by their community. They owned a Christmas Tree farm in Washington, eighty-one and eighty-three years old. They were killed just before Christmas eve by two brothers that worked on their farm. Their grandson Mike and his family wished for the death penalty to get closure and justice for their loss. In fact, Mike was ready to hunt the brother’s down and get them himself. This is extremely common in murder cases. Families want justice.

According to Washington Times, the murder of the individual is the most heinous crime, demanding the death penalty as the ultimate punishment for destruction of the ultimate value, individualization (To be or not to be). Murder is a vicious act, an act few people dare to commit. A poll recorded that 74% of Americans believe that the death penalty is acceptable. (Jones, 2006) They believe that families who go through the loss of a loved one deserves closure. While the death penalty is helpful for families to feel at ease, wouldn’t they feel better if it never happened at all? If the death penalty scared away people with the thought of acting out on murder?

If someone is planning on taking someone’s life away, would the guarantee of execution not deter them? In the early 1980s, the return of the death penalty was associated with a drop in the number of murders. Since 2001, there has been a decline in executions and an increase in murders. George W. Bush once wrote, “Capital punishment us a deterrent against future violence and will save other innocent lives.” (Bush, 1999) Killers are often charismatic and manipulative. They know what to say, how to act innocent. They know how to persuade authorities, or so they think. For example, Edward W. Edwards was a serial killer during the 1970s through the mid-1990s. He participated in a game show and wrote a book about his murders. He was not caught until 2009. While on the game show, To Tell the Truth, they clearly stated he has been on the FBI’s list of the ten most wanted criminals in America. He was charming. He made viewers believe he was a good, changed citizen. (PodcastOne, 2017) Killers often believe that they will get away with what they have done. If the death penalty remains, the likeliness of them getting away with their crimes will significantly decrease. With the death penalty in existence, it is believed that it will scare people considering committing the crime, resulting in a decrease in crime rates. This is similar to stories parents would tell their children, like Santa Clause giving out coal rather than presents if you act out. It scares children to be good, just like the death penalty scares people to be good. “I believe in the people’s right to impose capital punishment for most serious murder offenses.” (Reagan, 1983)

Historically, the death penalty has always been controversial. Debates on whether it is ethical or unethical have been going on for centuries. In certain cases, suspects have been wrongfully convicted. Larry Peterson spent eighteen years in prison for rape and murder, which he was innocent of. Law enforcement discovered further evidence as well as the true, guilty perpetrator. In an interview with reporters Peterson states “If you take a life, you can’t turn around and correct the wrong that has been done.” Another reason the death penalty is wrong is the fact that capital punishment is about revenge rather than justice, and that is immoral. People only care about getting revenge rather than closure. They want punishment for the killer, not to see them change. While these arguments may be true to those who believe them, with the death penalty still active, suspects will often be on death row for years. For example, Ted Bundy sat on death row for a total of ten years before execution. John Wayne Gacy sat on death row for a total of fourteen years before execution. This demonstrates that there is still time for mistakes to be corrected, and the same goes for Mr. Peterson. People argue that the death penalty is immoral and that it is against religion. That you should not be killing a killer as punishment for killing. How is it immoral to sentence one to death when they took someone’s life? An innocent life? Is murder not immoral? Is murder not against religion?

In conclusion, the death penalty should not be abolished for the sake of grieving families and their desire for justice, and to ward off people considering murder. People should continue to enforce the death penalty so the number of crimes decreases.

07 September 2020

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