Commentary News For The Intellectual


Posted on- March 6, 2017 at 7:10 A.M.
(Written By Joshua Hill)

I was having a discussion about the death penalty recently with an individual who was in favor of it. We spoke to one another & went back & forth for a while. As I made some points, I could see that she was slowly, in real time changing the way she looked at the death penalty. Her opinion was shifting from being for it to mostly against it. That is why I love having these types of discussions, because I believe if worded in a smart intelligent way, you can shift public opinion to the side that makes more sense. So, with Arizona's new ridiculous protocol regarding the bring your own Lethal Injection policy in the news a little while back. I would like to take this opportunity to give my personal perspective on the death penalty & why I am not only vehemently against it, but why everyone else should be as well. I want to start off by saying when polled, the American people are time & time again overwhelmingly on the side of Progressive & Liberal policies, with the unfortunate exception of this one specific issue. My goal on this issue is to change public opinion because when you dive deeper into the negative aspects of the death penalty, you begin to understand exactly what makes it so detrimental in the first place.

My thoughts on the death penalty are similar to my position regarding corporal punishment in many ways. The Eighth Amendment makes both the death penalty & torture unconstitutional as it advocates against the use of cruel or unusual punishment (Especially When The Execution On Many Occasions Is Badly Botched). Also one of the most used arguments for the death penalty is, "The death penalty is supposed to be a deterrent against crime." The logic is that essentially if you make the punishment for the crime severe enough, people will not want to commit those types of crimes. Although statistics show that that's simply not the case at all. The way I personally look at it is, trying to teach the lesson that murder is wrong by murdering people is an oxymoron at best. Also keep in mind all of the innocent people who are wrongly murdered by our Government. A 2014 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that since 1973, 144 people on death row have been exonerated. The study believes the number of people sentenced to death in the United States for crimes they did not commit is 1 in every 25 which is more than 4%. So if you're all right with the death penalty, you're essentially saying you're alright with murdering innocent people some of the time...

A problem that I see quite a lot of people tend to overlook is that the death penalty is ultimately murder by the Government. Even in the case of a jury it's still the laws put in place by who ever is in charge that determine who lives & who dies, making the death penalty a very slippery slope. If one crime is bad enough for the death penalty, what's to say what other crimes are or are not deserving of the death penalty? For example an appointee for the Trump administration (Jeff Sessions) believes that drug dealers who sell marijuana should get the death penalty & even supported legislation to do exactly that. In 1996, as Alabama’s attorney general, Sessions promoted H.B. 242, S.B. 291, a state bill to establish mandatory death sentences for drug dealers (Including Marijuana Dealers). Ultimately the crimes that are & are not acceptable for the death penalty will vary depending on who is in power, so let's not give the people in power the ability to murder in the first place.