The Controversy of the Death Penalty
The death penalty is a controversial topic that will not go away; mainly because it creates mixed emotions. Some people may question within themselves why is the issue so contentious? But the reason is clear: it is an internal conflict with morality. The conflict of the conscience; was it right or wrong. Some individuals have argued an eye for an eye while others noted; who gives them the right to take someone’s life; they are no better than the murders. While both emotions are human, we have to take into account that there is no supporting evidence that suggest the death penalty deters people from committing murders. Instead it manifests mixed feelings of pain and retribution from the families and love ones of the victims, and yes to the families of the individuals’ sentenced to the death penalty.
Many individuals who are opposed to the death penalty have used the statement “The federal government is prohibited from imposing cruel and unusual punishment” stated in the eighth amendment in the constitution to argue why barbaric treatment should not be administered when debating their point of view against the death penalty. Since the constitution is stating this, then why is the federal government still doing it since it violates human rights? A few suggestions: Power, Heartlessness, and Money. For every life ended on death row the government saves money for no longer providing for the prisoners well-being.
Even with the politics surrounding the government’s reasoning the advocates’ voices have not gone unfounded. Due to the fact that many people believe it is inhumane to use a lethal injection drug to stop the heart from beating as the other internal organs are shutting down fully aware the individuals are dying right before their eyes. They watch them suffer as the breath leaves their bodies while some beg for their lives before the drug is administered. This procedure is done with conscious. Believe me the individuals who are giving the drugs have first-hand knowledge of the process as they had done it previously or witnessed it themselves. While some people will feel a moment of weakness they don’t. Their hearts have become immune to fulfilling the duties of their positions.
However, a religious person will probably see it in a different light and challenge the decision of the death penalty from a biblical standpoint “Do not take revenge, thou shall not kill.” And elaborate on how two wrongs do not make a right. While the individuals who are for the death penalty will stand their ground but just from a different perspective. They will argue retribution as philosopher Immanuel Kant indicated “The only punishment possibly equivalent to death is the amount of harm inflicted, which is death. In other words “The guilty must be punished in the proportion to the severity of their crime.”
But no matter what stand a person takes on the death penalty there is no right or wrong way to feel about the controversial issue. Some individuals are pro death penalty while others are anti-death penalty. Those individuals have their own personal reasons why they agree or disagree with the death penalty. Do we judge them for their own personal beliefs or do we take the time to rationalize their reasons behind their beliefs? These are only two of several questions we should ask ourselves.
For me the thought of how do I formulate an opinion about someone’s emotion when I have not experienced their pain. A part of me believes it is a natural reaction to want someone to suffer the same way the victim did when that victim was a loved one. But I also know the strength of compassion and forgiving. And I give the outmost credit to those individuals who can say I forgive him or her, their death will not bring back my love one. It takes a mentally strong person with a strong faith in God to reach to that point of forgiveness. I am not saying that a person who wants vengeance does not have a strong faith in God I’m only saying that it is understandable why people generally will have mixed feelings about the death penalty. Their emotions do not make one a better person than the other it only clarifies that we all have a right to feel and cope with our own pain the best way we know how.
When I think of a few cases that comes to my mind where innocent people were convicted of crimes they did not commit, and executed for those crimes it pains a part of my heart.
In the early 90s a man was convicted of arson murder. They were convinced he set the fire where three children lost their lives. Almost a decade later he was put to death. During that time several individuals were sentenced to the death penalty for vile murders, and later put to death.
In each of these cases all the individuals who received the death penalty sentence was later proven innocent but only after they were all deceased. With that said how can we truly expect someone who has lost a love one in that matter to support the death penalty? It is just not realistic to believe any individual could, or even find it in their heart to forgive a failed system.
Most people can argue various situations and elements that can either support or disagree with the death penalty. But there are two things that are certain, and they are the death penalty does not deter people from committing crimes, and administering the death penalty to murders or alleged murders will not bring their love ones back. It may only bring some form of solace in some peoples’ hearts.