Capital Punishment, cruel or just?

An Essay By Hannah // 10/22/2011

Capital Punishment, cruel or just? Of the 1099 executions carried out in the whole of the USA from 1977 to the end of 2007, Texas accounts for 406 or 37%. Texas carries out far more executions than any other American state; between 1982 and 2007 it executed 404 men and 2 women. America is one of the few countries that still has a death penalty, but it still has one of the highest murder rates in the world, whereas most of Europe has outlawed capital punishment and has some of the lowest. However, Singapore has a very brutal punishment system, and they have crime rates that most countries dream about having. It’s a very mixed message. It also has to do with cultural differences as well as the punishment method. Capital punishment has many problems though, one of the biggest being the thought that it is inhumane. Is it? Reports claim that more then half of all prison and jail inmates have mental health problems. Another line of thought is that anyone capable of doing heinous crimes worthy of the death penalty can only be committed by someone who is acting under the influence of something else, be it drugs, pressure from another source, or mental sickness. I believe that capitol punishment is inhuman and needlessly cruel, and that while retribution is very much needed, killing a human being is not the answer to stopping crime. Throughout the centuries, murder has always been a crime to repay with the death of the one who committed the act. Yet the notion seems skewed to me. We teach others not to kill by killing people who kill other people. It doesn’t make sense in my mind. Not only is it horribly cruel to the recipient, but think of the hell that the family and loved ones go through. Losing someone is never easy, but the guilt and pain of losing someone to capital punishment would be horrific. Now, the perpetrator should have to face the consequences, but I firmly believe in rehabilitation. If the money spent on the inmates on death row and their appeals and such was spent on keeping children off the streets and out of trouble, and on rehabilitating criminals, not only would lives be saved, but society would function better. Some think that people capable of such acts are purely evil and need to be wiped from the earth and removed from society permanently. But where do we draw the line between the victim and the oppressor? The child molested grows up to be a molester, the young man seeing violence his whole life turns to the only thing he’s ever seen, and the girl raised to flaunt her body and use it sells herself to earn a living. Minds warped from birth and suddenly the broken child is a heinous criminal in the eyes of the world. Is there no compassion? Does no one care? Given up on, rejected, hurting hearts are crying out to be saved and all anyone cares about is getting them out of the way. God’s heart hurts at the pain of His children. What right do we have to kill each other? God does not choose sins as better or worse. Liars with rapists, and petty thieves with mass murderers, all who have not chosen God are in one group and hell bound. Death is an interesting concept. Life is so fragile, so easily snatched away by a careless move. When I was 10 my father died and the foundation of my life fell away, leaving me in freefall, dazed and disoriented. Then I hit the ground a few years later when I fully realized he was gone and the pain was like being ripped into by whip of barbed wire, over and over again. A ruthless master is pain, and anger stemmed and overflowed out of my life as the scars of my past refused to completely heal and the pain was a river, constantly flowing and mingling with my hatred as I was thrown about like a ragdoll. When I think of anyone else going through a time as dark as that my heart breaks. No one should ever have to face that; no child should be forced to grow up so soon. And killing someone on purpose? Deliberately ending a precious life? That is an evil thought to me. To die without forgiveness is an idea that haunts me. To have no hope of redemption, no belief in a better thing beyond this whirlpool of trouble and pain we call life, would be a horrific state of mind. The cruelty of putting another human through that kind of mental horror and agony is obscene. And if one goes with the thought that only a mentally injured person is capable of doing a crime worthy of death as I do then not only is capitol punishment cruel and inhumane, but also a horrible act of immense proportions. Rehabilitation is the answer, if only people will start caring enough to rehabilitate those accused and convicted.


 Well, there are a few things

 Well, there are a few things to consider: although America has the death penalty, it is very lax about giving it out. When someone is sentenced to death row, they are on it literally for decades sometimes, by which time a lot of them are pardoned. It's not going to put much fear in a criminal if they know that usually they won't be sentenced to death, and even if they are they might be pardoned. The Bible actually instated the death penalty for murder and other crimes. God is a God of justice, and yes, although all sin is sin, there are different degrees of sin. Which would you rather: that someone robbed you, or killed your family? Stealing is a very wicked sin, but murder is much, much greater. Sin has to be punished, and the government is supposed to be 'bearing the sword' (as it says in the Bible). It is supposed to be a terror to the ungodly.
Compassion should have no place in the justice system. If a crime has been committed, then the punishment should fit the crime. We, as individuals, can feel pity for a man brought up in a wicked environment who then goes on to do wicked things, but this doesn't mean that we should desire for him to be 'rehabilitated' and released on society again. 'Compassion' is turning our streets into a place where we can't feel safe taking a walk at night, or even sometimes in broad daylight.
And not every life is precious, either. If someone has committed a heinous crime, his life is worth less dirt, and he should not be allowed to live for one day after he has been found guilty.
Also, not trying to be rude, but your father (as a law abiding citizen) is no comparison to a vicious murderer who tortures his victims before he kills them.

Laura Elizabeth | Fri, 10/28/2011

The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

 I wrote this for an english

 I wrote this for an english assignment and merely thought I'd post it here. You're input has been most interesting however. Doesn't change my opinion though ;)

I disagree, Compassion SHOULD be in the justice system. But, I didn't post this for an arguement, so I won't debate this.

Hannah | Sat, 10/29/2011

I wholeheartedly agree with you!

Well, on the whole death-penalty part. I can't imagine someone seriously agreeing that it's fair to end someone else's life. I've often been puzzled over this. The person who commited the crime did something seriously wrong, of course, but can you imagine what they're going through as they realize: I'm going to die because of this. *shudders* 

I'm sure people realize the consequences of their crimes, but that doesn't make what we think right. People who have done bad "death-penalty worthy" things need to go into counseling, community service...there's countless things they could do as punishment besides death. And why does it always have to be punishment? Why can't we help them--especially if they're mentally unstable.

And how about the victim's family? They have fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, counsins, friends...what do you think they feel? I just don't believe people think before they act. People in general. We are often so focused on revenge, justice...whatever you want to call it. Think about the lives you are hurting by just ending one.

I watched The Conspirator not long ago. It was really well done. I can't imagine what Mary Surrat went through. One of the final scenes with her daughter was really sad. People need to watch that and think, " this really fair?" 

Maybe if we were more compassionate, the criminals who commited these crimes would be, too. The world needs people who care.

Well, a job well done! :)

Madeline | Sun, 10/30/2011

everything was better when/you would call and I'd be like/yeah babe, no way

Hear, hear!

 Excellent essay, Hannah! And I completely agree with all the sentiments. 

There is a man in the state penitentary in my town who has murdered 40+ women. A heinous crime. He is in prison for life, which is where I believe he should remain. He has been imprisoned since 2004. However, due to a dedicated prison ministry, he has become a Christian. To all appearances. How can we advocate executions of fellow living, breathing human beings when they yet have hope of redemption? I do not say 'let them live' for the power of life and death ought not to be in our hands, but to treat them with all the caution their acts have merited, while loving them enough to never cease striving with the enemy for their souls.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Matthew 10:28


And Laura Elizabeth: He that is without sin among you; let him cast the first stone. John 8:7 =)

Sarah | Mon, 10/31/2011

"Sometimes even to live is courage."

Blogging away!

I definitely don't want to start a big debate...

...but I agree with Laura and there are three things I would put forward as to why:
1.  God's Word is my authority, and as such I cannot bring myself to hold a view contrary to its teachings.  In Genesis 9:5-6, God makes very clear that he will require the death of any murderer.  This is not even part of the Mosaic law -- this is something laid down for Noah and all his descendants.
2.  The basic premises behind rehabilitation for violent criminals are humanistic in nature, namely, that their wickedness has been forced on them by a bad upbringing, rather than being a result of a sinful nature.
3.  John 8:7, "the one without sin should cast the first stone...", was something Jesus said to the Pharisees because of their hypocracy and evil motives.  I don't think it applies to this discussion.

That said, this can be a very tender subject, and this essay was well written.  You did a good job, Hannah.  :)

James | Wed, 11/02/2011

"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

Well thanks

Thank you very much :)

I'm just glad that I can share my beliefs and not can hazed for it. Thanks for being so polite everyone. I know its a crazy subject to discuss as everyone has a different view but I hope at least I made some people think

Hannah | Thu, 11/03/2011


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