May 27, 2009
An Eye for An Eye Leaves the Whole World Blind
Is it right to kill a person? Is it sensible to teach a person not to kill by killing? What makes the prison guard who fires the shot or the doctor who inserts the lethal injection less of a murderer than the person whose life they just ended? What makes the judge and jury who just sentenced that person to death row any better than the man who convinced someone else to kill his wife? What constitutes killing a person? When is it moral? Is it ever moral?
The plain, black-and-white truth is that: no, it is never moral to kill a person. With this statement, it can be said that the people sentenced to the capital punishment (being that they are in fact people) should be spared on the grounds of morality.
Revenge means: "to seek or take vengeance for oneself or another person" (). Revenge is what is behind the death penalty. The death penalty has nothing to do with justice, morals, what is right, nor what is wrong. This type of death sentence is one that is executed in order to make the families of those wronged feel better. While it is not wrong to want justice, it is wrong to seek revenge. Revenge is a never-ending circle, it is train that never stops running, it is a screaming infant that can never be quieted, and it is a bloodthirsty tiger that can never be sated. "The need for revenge, for vengeance, is being curbed, the appetite is no longer there," argues Robert Hirschorn, a nationally known Texas attorney and jury consultant.
If a crime is so heinous that death is even considered as a punishment, it would only make sense that the offender should not be allowed to take the easier punishment. Once a person dies, life is over. After death there is no lesson to be learned. Death is the end of the road. In his essay "The Penalty of Death", Mencken states "All of us long for a swift and unexpected end" (Mencken 472). Much worse than dying is sitting in a jail cell and contemplating what was done. Life without parole means life without ever being able to walk outside the jail and live amongst free people. Freedom is a curios idea. It can drive people to fight inspiring and epic battles but it could also cause them to go insane. Wanting freedom when it is unattainable is the worst punishment that can be put on a person.
It is true that keeping these committers of crime in jail can cost taxpayers millions of dollars; it is also true that each capital punishment case costs at least $2 million. Many of the defendants are also denied adequate legal representation at their trials, race sometimes plays a major role in deciding who is sentenced to death and for what crimes. Juries are also "death qualified" which means that jurors with moral objections to the death penalty are removed from the panel. Judges and juries are also too quick to sentence innocent people to death as the recent clutter of DNA exonerations has shown. People think too often with their emotions and not often enough with their logic and reason, how can an emotional person be trusted to decide on the life of another?