In modern society today, the death penalty is and continues to be one of the most widely controversial and debatable topics in America. The death penalty also known as “capital punishment” is exactly what it sounds like; a sentence to death imposed by courts as a punishment for crime. Ever since the beginning of civilization, the death penalty has been effective and accepted by society and given to the worst of the worst criminals. Over the years, ways the death penalty has been diagnosed has changed dramatically.
Before modern technology became available, two ways the death penalty was diagnosed was by an electric chair or a public hanging. However, thanks to our consistent developing society, we can “humanely” offer the death penalty in the form of a lethal injection, so the victim can peacefully go to sleep and not wake up the next day. The reason this issue is widely debated is because one side of people think that it is inhumane, immoral mostly because of religious beliefs but then there is another side of people that think the complete contrary.
Currently, the death penalty is completely legal constitutional because it is supported by all member of the Supreme Court in Washington DC. However, as of October 11th, 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court declared their death penalty unconstitutional because it violates the state’s constitution by being imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner (Moran). The problem now becomes how the death penalty has been falsely induced to innocent people, which starts the debate of how unmoral it is for our government to condone this.
It is argued that innocent people go through unfair trials and are killed in vain because of unfair conducts. This is the main reason why the death penalty is argued heavily with today’s society.
As a supporter of the death penalty, capital punishment is only appropriate for severe cases where criminals have completed absurd crimes such as mass murder, rape, and assault. For example, people such as Nikolas Cruz who killed seventeen innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. Fourteen aspiring students and three staff members lost their lives because Cruz decided to pursue a personal vendetta (National Public Radio). Another example is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, another school shooter who took another ten innocent lives on May 18, 2018 (exactly three months after the Stoneman Douglas shooting) at the Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas (CNN) . All in all, 24 innocent lives were taken because two people decided to go on a kill spree.
According to USA Today, Fred Guttenberg, a parent of one of the victims of the Parkland Shooting, after reading a transcript of what Cruz said when he took those lives of those children says “he talked about how he was going to be someone now. It is a level of thought that I can’t comprehend. It looks, from the words, like the kid had joy. I don’t want to see the delight he took in planning the murders of our children” (USA Today). This quote shows that this is an extreme criminal case where a serial killer got a sense of pleasure from taking lives. It is proven that neither of these criminals feel any regret for the crimes they have committed and all the pain they caused therefore, the death penalty should be the best way to punish them but have yet to receive it. The “consequences” they faced were jail time and counseling. They have violated the law in an extreme manner and have yet to face any sort of cruel punishment given by the state. Meanwhile, there are people who have been given the death penalty for being falsely accused of committing crimes. For example, in 1992, Cameron Todd Willingham was convicted of arson murder in Texas because it is believed he intentionally set a fire that killed in three kids. Later on, in 2004, the Texas Forensic Science Commission later found that the evidence was misinterpreted, and they concluded that none of the evidence used against Willingham was valid. As it turns out, the fire really was accidental (Innocent Project).
The point is that criminals whom have committed extreme crimes should face the death penalty, not every person that murders someone. People accidentally kill people more often than it should but that does not make them a serial killer. The death penalty should only be given after thorough investigation has been done and the clarity of the who the person is that committed a mass crime to prevent wrongful execution. The death penalty is necessary for serial killers such as Cruz because it comes with many benefits such as making victims and their families feel safe as he is no longer a threat to them as he is dead. It will also give many people closure because many people are still waiting for a verdict to be made in his trial. Other benefits of putting in place the death penalty is that it will probably event future criminals from committing the same crimes as they will see how serious the government is about executing it.
Additionally, it is not as if the death penalty is against the law. Capital punishment follows the constitution and does not break any of the amendments. Specific people deserve to be punished in this way for the crime they commit. It might immoral to people but that is not the point of the death penalty. The death penalty is not “killing for fun”. The death penalty serves justice. When justice is served, it prevents other people from becoming the next serial killer. It’s simple, the death penalty strikes fear.
To conclude, the death penalty is widely debated and will always will be, however it is in fact constitutional and major bodies such as Supreme Court members of the capital are strong supporters of it. In fact, as of May 1, 2018, a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that 54% of Americans are now in favor of the death penalty. “Two years ago, 49% of Americans favored the death penalty for people convicted of murder” (Oliphant). This just goes to show that supporters of the death penalty are increasing, and more Americans want to see a change in society and justice being served for victims of mass murders. If the government was cruel, or out of order, capital punishment would even be an option. Criminals convicted to death row obviously do deserve it because if they committed a simple crime such as a burglary, they wouldn’t be in that position in the first place. The death penalty shows that crimes such as rape and mass murder will not be tolerated in this country and shows how powerful a nation the U.S. is. It gives people a sense of protection, security, and closure that they are and will be protected.