May 012003
Authors: Rod Rodriguez

Henry Ford once said, “Capital punishment is as fundamentally wrong as a cure for crime as charity is wrong as a cure for poverty.”

The radical liberals are at it again! Only recently have I taken on that term, mostly because, anyone who knows me knows that the term “radical” does not describe me at all. It may be a good description of my beliefs compared to yours, but it is far from an accurate description of my personality. And it’s just fun to be “radical.”

So why am I anti-death penalty? Despite the fact that I see the death penalty as a complete contradiction (please see bumper sticker that reads: “Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?”) I also believe there are valid points as to why the death penalty should be put to death.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the number of murders committed since the early 1980s have steadily increased along with the number of people put to death. The more murder, the more people put to death, the more murder. There is no reasonable evidence to show that deterrence is occurring. That little university just south of us, the one with the big buffalo in front, has also published several studies showing that deterrence is not working.

Supporters also argue that the death penalty is cheaper than housing inmates for several years. Put them to death, you don’t have to pay for them. Interestingly enough, it costs, on average, $2.2 million to execute a criminal and only $30,000 per year to house them. If an inmate were to live for 50 years in prison on a life sentence, it would only cost the state $1.5 million to house them, saving the state an estimated $700,000.

An inmate, every inmate, would have to live for 73 years to equal the amount it costs to put them to death. That would mean that, with the median age of murderers being 28, every inmate would have to live to be 101 years old, in prison.

It is also argued that the death penalty is not racist, even though where the number of blacks committing murder seems to be equal to the number of blacks on death row, research has shown time and time again that an African-American is five times more likely to be given the death penalty than someone who is white.

The American Bar Association (our lawyers), on February 3, 1997, passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty until it could be ensured “that death penalty cases are administered fairly and impartially, in accordance with due process.”

The death penalty is irreversible, meaning that, when the lawyers of a black man in Texas submit evidence that could potentially set him free, and the then governor of Texas chooses to ignore it, sending the man to death, the DNA evidence, not available when the man first went to trial, can be ignored and innocent people wrongly punished.

The United Nations opposes the death penalty (and when have we listened to those silly people?) as well as Amnesty International. There is also this absurd thing called International Law, which actually prohibits the use of the death penalty but, again, when have we ever listened to the world? Even those evil Chinese are abolishing the death penalty as well as several formerly Soviet countries.

I loved Sally Fields in “An Eye For An Eye;” Keifer Sutherland, too. He was creepy as the murderer. Apparently though, this is also an argument for the death penalty. However, I subscribe to the teachings of Jesus Christ when he says silly things about how we shouldn’t play God and instead show mercy. Maybe I need to read up a bit more, but I remember lots of stories of Jesus healing, not killing.

Voltaire once said, “Fear succeeds crime – it is its punishment.” What we need to realize is that people in our society do not fear death. They fear life. In the U.S., 29,199 suicides were committed in 1999 and only 12,658 murders. Until we stop telling people what they did wrong and start listening to what we, as a society, did to make them this way, murder and violent crime will not end. And wrongful death will continue as long as we believe what we believe instead of listening to what is right.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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