Death Penalty: Let it Die

By Sapna David, Staff Writer

School shooters. Just those two words start a rush of numerous feelings to our brains. We get scared, anxious, angry and sad when we mourn those who have been victims of these people’s atrocious acts. When these tragic events become personal, the emotion that always seems to fill our heads is anger. Anger towards the shooter. Many shooters end up killing themselves after harming others, but what punishment should they receive if they survive?

A number of states still allow the death penalty, most of them including southern and western states. These states only consider this penalty in severe crimes such as first degree murder.

But even school shooters should not receive the death penalty. The death penalty is inhumane and cruel. Regardless of who commits the crime or what crime is committed, the death penalty should not be considered, as it takes away a person’s right to live.

The justice system is bound to make mistakes. With the death penalty, a mistake may end up costing an innocent being’s life. Many convicts have been taken off of death row due to evidence that proves them to be innocent. The government should not be allowed to take the risk of possibly killing an innocent person.

Believing in the death penalty means not believing in second chances. It means not believing that after years of imprisonment, a person cannot have a change of heart and want to turn his or her life around.
According to a 2015 Mic article, “11 People Who Used to Be in Jail — But Are Now Changing the World,” a man named Marlon Peterson spent over 10 years in jail, convicted for second degree murder, but he plead guilty to first degree assault. While in jail, he sent letters to people in his hometown about the issue of gun violence in his neighborhood. Now that he is out of jail, he has created youth empowerment programs in order to create safer environments and get rid of the violence that he grew up being used to. This just one example of ex-convicts turning their lives around. Others get married, help others, start their own businesses and are able to put their past behind. They can make something better out of their lives, granted that they are given the chance.

Punishing someone with the death penalty doesn’t deter the crime that was committed. There is no evidence to prove that the death penalty is better than imprisonment, or that capital punishment has reduced the rate of homicide. There is no evidence to prove any kind of purpose or effect the death penalty has besides retribution, the act of punishing someone as vengeance, which should not play a role in people’s lives.

It is completely normal for a family that had lost the child in these horrific shootings to feel angry and want revenge. But, there are laws that prevent a someone from going after the perpetrator. If someone attempts to murder the convict, then he or she will go to jail and have to pay the price for it. In a way, wanting a criminal to be faced with the death penalty is the same as seeking revenge.
The death penalty does not provide a family with closure. With more and more court hearings that prolong the case, it takes a long time for the accused to be handed a death sentence. But, when an offender is given life in prison, the process is much faster and the victim’s family is more able to move on knowing that justice has been served.

Some people claim that it is not fair to taxpayers to pay for a criminal’s life in prison. However, according to studies of the California death penalty system, capital punishment costs almost 18 times more than life in prison.

If a crime is committed, such as rape, the punishment for the perpetrator should not be rape. So people who commit murder, with that knowledge, should not be punished with death. If America is teaching people around the country that murdering is wrong, then it is against American teachings for our government to legally murder criminals. It does nothing but continue the cycle of violence.
If a person commits multiple atrocious acts, they should not be able to get off so easily by a lethal injection or by being hanged. It doesn’t teach the perpetrator a lesson. A person who has hurt many lives deserves to sit in prison for their whole life being confronted with what they have done and trying to fix it. It means much more for someone to face years in prison reflecting on their crime.

March For Our Lives, school walkouts and sit-ins, are just a few of the events that students who believe in gun reform laws are participating in. These forms are protest are to end the violence that is recurring in the US. It is time to end the violence all around.