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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Death Penalty Is Dead

The death penalty, the ultimate form of punishment used by our criminal justice system since the earliest of times to deal with criminals. Over the course of history many ask two questions. Is the death penalty really worth it? Is it worth the risk of sending innocent people to their graves? Some say yes while others say no. There is no exact answer, only opinion but ask yourself how you would feel being on death row for something you didn't do. Tell me that the death penalty is worth it when you are laying cold and alone waiting for death to slowly wash over you, dying for the wrongs of another. Tell me then that it is alright for innocent people to be murdered.

Imagine yourself laying in a brightly lit room with machines all around, bound tightly to a metal table completely restrained as the world stares you down waiting for you to die. Imagine your family sitting at home or wherever they may be, watching, waiting for the life of a loved one to cease. Imagine all your friends watching you die. The machines start to pump chemicals into your body, now taking you past the point of no return, no going back. You feel your heart start to slow. The world around you fades to black and you are dead. The life you once had has been sucked dry by the forces of destruction. Some cheer, others cry. Your body goes cold and the medical examiner pronounces you dead, gives a time, signs the paperwork. It is over. The sound of a phone ringing on a wall echos through the room. Everything stops. A lone soul walks hesitantly closer to the wall, closer to the source of that dreadfully loud noise. “Hello” they ask as they pick up the receiver, a frantic voice cries out “Stop!”. It would appear that new evidence has cleared you of all charges and found the true criminal. Your dark eyes stare blankly into oblivion now unable to ever see the freedom you so rightfully deserved. The rest of your life has been taken from you and no longer will you have the chance to see your kids, your family, your friends. No longer will you be able to enjoy the taste of food, no longer will you feel the sun shining on your face. You are dead.

Imagine yourself watching your son, daughter, mother, or father as they lay awaiting the end. How would you feel if you watched their death slowly unfold right before your eyes, watched the life drain from their body, watched as they were murdered. How would you feel if you found out they died for nothing, died because someone made a mistake, died and were innocent. Would you still tell me the death penalty is worth the risk? Would you still condone the murder of other human beings even with the amount of doubt that keeps arising?

It may not happen often but it does happen, people are put on death row and come so close to death that they taste it. Some make it in time but it is unknown how many innocent lives have been lost to false evidence and false prosecution. In a world that already experiences so much killing and so many deaths, do we really want to continuously add to that statistic? Do we want to allow our fellow humans, our family, friends, neighbors and more to constantly be under threat of death? A great man once said it is better for four guilty men to go free than to imprison one innocent. Just remember how you would feel if it happened to you. If you had to die or suffer for someone else and their sins.  

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