Should we have the right to choose?

Once again the issue of whether or not the death penalty was right or wrong has been brought to the forefront after the jury in the Scott Peterson case returned with a death penalty recommendation for murdering his wife and unborn child.

I had mixed emotions about his sentence, as did many people who are not sure about the death penalty. I do believe that murderers should be punished, but do we really have the right to determine if someone lives or dies?

I do not believe in the death penalty because it is not my right to decide someone’s time of death. If I did, and I was wrong, what would I say? Oops, my bad?

The justice system is not fool proof and has been proven to have flaws. According to, 117 people have been exonerated since 1973 – 12 people in 2003 alone. This means innocent people were wrongfully convicted of a crime and sentenced to the death penalty.

Can we really decide to sentence people to death with these statistics? How do we decide how many wrongful deaths are important? One? Two? Three? No one wrongful death is worth the death penalty existing.

No one life is more valuable than another. And who are we to play God?

We must also think about race and racism when it comes to applying the death penalty. According to, 81 percent of the victims in death penalty cases are white and 42 percent of death inmates are black.

According to “The Death Penalty in Black & White: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides,” by Richard Dieter, 1998 figures show that African-Americans receive the death penalty 38 percent more than other races. We should change the name of the death penalty to The Exterminator. Since 1976, 779 people have been executed in the South.

One must consider all the factors of the death penalty before making up his or her mind about what side he or she is on. Although your emotions may tell you that the “an eye for an eye” method or the death penalty is the right way to go, I have to disagree.

Those who believe in the bible know that the Lord says not to kill. Does he mean not to shoot or stab someone to death or does he mean not to be a part of anything that kills a person, including the death penalty?

I have never had the pleasure of sitting on any jury, but I imagine deciding someone’s fate is the hardest thing to do. And giving someone the death penalty is even harder. I know that you have to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone is guilty to sentence them to death. Who can honestly do that without being a direct witness to the crime?

I know I can’t. Murderers should receive life in prison and let their crime and God eat away at their soul.

Crystal M. Mitchell is a senior graphic design student from Jacksonville. She is The Famuan’s Deputy Opinions Editor. Contact her at