Death Penalty: Should It Be Allowed To Live?

Evan Rosser, Columnist

Capital punishment (death penalty) is a legal process that puts a person to death by the state as punishment for a capital crime. Judicial Decree calls it a death sentence, whereas many others will call it an execution, which sparks a lot of debate about the morality in using the death penalty.

Capital punishment is only issued when someone is found guilty of capital crime. But what defines a capital crime? Offenses like murder, rape, espionage, treason, and military justice are defined as capital crimes, and are punishable by death. Although all methods are morally questionable, it has undoubtedly come a long way from primitive forms of execution. The goal of recent actions to make capital punishment more humane were to make the death penalty less of a torturous punishment. However, capital punishment is not the only solution to capital crimes. All capital crimes are punishable by life in prison, perhaps a more sound choice over ending another’s life.

Life in prison, at first, seems like a sound solution over the death penalty. The individual is punished for their crime, and no contradicting issues arise from killing them. However, life in solitude, which is a common conviction for capital crime offenders, often destroys an individual socially and mentally, commonly leaving them longing for death or unfit for society. Is it just as bad, if not worse, to leave a person confined for life? Is it better to end  their life in a non-tortuous way? Maybe the more humane choice would be to leave the offenders punishment a choice to the convicted party.  We often view the act of killing another human being as the worse possible action in any sense, because of how religious views can affect our own moral opinion on something or how focused we can be on making everything sound according to the human rights. In terms of Christianity, any act of killing another human being is punished by condemnation, for it is seen as “an act of vengeance over forgiveness.” Also there is a human right that states we have the right to life. The death penalty does conflict with both the human rights and religious views or moral perspective, but it’s not something that is truly horrendous if used is careful moderation.

The death penalty has been abolished in many places due to human rights, or morality, but it is still commonly retained. Specifically in America, the death penalty still exists in Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Kentucky, California, Missouri, Arizona, and Washington. But it is not the go to solution for dealing with a capital crime committer. There are often many trials that bring up unprecedented evidence against the defendant to the point where their crime can’t be denied. Even at that point many of the criminals are simply sentenced to life in prison. In 2011, only 43 people were sentenced to death in the United States, and the number has dramatically decreased since then. If life in prison and the capital punishment are used for the same tier of crimes, perhaps it should be left up to the guilty party to choose how their life should end.