February 27, 2004
penalty fails to carry out justice, should be abolished
due to inhumanity
Sieker is a junior philosophy and English major from
week, the United States will prepare to carry out its
900th execution since the policy of capital punishment
was reinstated in 1977. As I read this statistic, I can
hardly believe it.
How can a country claim the title of moral watchdog
of the world and No. 1 leader in executions
at the same time? How can a country whose mission is to
rid the world of terrorism and evil doers
stand alone in admission to the practice of killing? How
can a country that prides itself on justice and respect
for humanity continue to enforce the most cruel and inhumane
punishment possible, the taking of someones life?
There should be many valid reasons for why the most dominant
power in the world would practice such a policy, but I
cant find a single one.
Despite popular police mythology, the death penalty has
never been proven to deter more crime than life in prison.
The death penalty isnt even economical. It costs
more money to execute someone than it does to have them
serve a life sentence.
The death penalty is discriminatory. Studies have shown
that the majority of people executed in the United States
are poor and/or minorities. A study in Philadelphia reported
95 percent of all people sentenced to death couldnt
afford their own attorney, and 80 percent of people executed
since 1976 were convicted of killing a white victim (while
people of color make up more than half of all homicide
victims.) Are we to believe that only poor minorities
commit capital crime?
The death penalty is irreversible. An execution is the
one and only punishment that cannot be taken back. Day
after day we read about misapplications and misjudgments
in our justice system (what exactly was the reason we
waged war on Iraq again?). Unless we can claim with absolute
certainty to have a perfect judicial system, we cant
be absolutely certain of someones guilt. It doesnt
seem right to take someones life if there is even
the possibility for error.
Even such a factor as vengeance cannot stand the test
of just application. If we do indeed have the right to
adapt to the logistics of an eye for an eye
(which I do not believe we do), then we must fully adapt
to that policy. We must then rape all the rapists and
molest all the child molesters and other things
of that nature. I know that example may seem a bit extreme,
but surely not any more extreme than killing someone who
The death penalty is nothing more than an uneconomical
and discriminatory excuse for cold-blooded killing. And
most of all, why do each one of us (whether we are for
or against the death penalty) believe killing to be wrong?
Because no one has the right to take away anothers
life, no one has the authority to judge whether or not
someones time is up, or whether or not someone has
the intrinsic right to live. Until humanity changes and
we acquire this right, the death penalty must be abolished.
It would be nice if someday we could live in a country
that prides itself on a commitment to the practice of
mercy and morality rather than a system of violence and
vengeance, that doesnt even work.