This I Believe

Cindy - Green Bay, Wisconsin
Entered on May 10, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50


I am writing the following “This I Believe” essay as an assignment for a critical thinking class that I’m taking. When I began preparing for this paper, I was going to right about my support of capital punishment, however, once I began truly thinking critically about it and “stepping out of myself” and evaluating the situation, it surprised me to see how my opinions and stand on the issue changed.

I initially thought that, if a murderer was PROVEN to be guilty through DNA evidence, capital punishment should be not only allowed, but encouraged. However, when I broke it down and looked at individual issues, I found “holes” in my position.

I initially felt that capital punishment should be allowed for numerous reasons, the first being that it would prevent the murderer from committing potential future murders. When I really gave this some thought, I found that this argument isn’t relevant because once someone is on death row, they are in solitary confinement. Even if imprisoned, they wouldn’t even have the opportunity of murdering a fellow inmate because of this. That point is null and void.

Another reason that I was “pro capital punishment” was that, by killing convicted murderers it would take care of the problem of crowding in our prisons. When I stepped back and took a good look at it, this is simply not the case. Our prisons will always be overcrowded. More inmates guilty of crimes involving drugs overcrowd our system as opposed to those who murder. My second point was “out the window”.

My third point was that it would be less of a burden for taxpayers because it would cost so much to house them in our jail system than if they would be given the death penalty. Studies have shown that this is not the case. Appeal after appeal in our court systems costs more money than it actually does to house an inmate for the remainder of his life.

My final thought was that, if the death penalty were legal in our state, it would deter criminal behavior. Studies have also shown that this is not the case. Murderers will murder regardless of the penalty for their crime. Many are either mentally unstable or act in a spontaneous outrage, in which case they wouldn’t give the death penalty a thought.

I’ve come to the conclusion that, basically, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. The death penalty also takes away the chance for the murderer to find God and to be “saved”. It takes away his chance for reparation, to find religion and to ask for forgiveness. Basically, we would be “playing God”. Executing a person kills him before the time of their natural death. Christian believe that God places people on Earth for a purpose. If we execute someone, then we may be thwarting God’s will. An individual that possibly could have been “saved” will go to Hell for eternal punishment. By killing the person before they would have naturally died, we are eliminating any chance that they may be saved.

The death penalty may also impair the healing process of the victim’s family. The family wouldn’t be able to visit the inmate on the anniversary of their loved one’s death as a “reminder”. They wouldn’t have the opportunity to heal and forgive, as the murderer would be dead had the death penalty been imposed.

Also, murder is a sin, even if the murderer has committed it. “Two wrongs don’t make a right”.

My closing point is that imposing the death penalty will in no way, no how, bring the victim back. Killing a murderer doesn’t bring his victim back to life.