Capital Punishment: What is it Good for?

Would you put a man to death if he were convicted because of his race?

 Would you put a man to death if there were a slight chance he didn’t commit the crime? I wouldn’t ever want to put anyone to death.

Capital punishment seems to be the way of punishing certain murderers in our society. What does our society gain by taking an innocent man’s life or a guilty man life man for that matter?

I oppose capital punishment; however, if we are going to put people to death we need to have overwhelming evidence and not wait 20 to 30 years before doing it. Do it immediately.

Troy Davis is scheduled for execution today for the murder of Savannah police officer almost 20 years ago. His lawyers appealed to Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Parole to halt the execution, but it was denied.

My problem with this is, a number of witnesses have retracted their statements. I would rather 10 guilty men walk free than to allow one innocent man be put to death in my name.

Another death row case getting attention is Duane Buck’s in Texas. Here the question is not of guilt, but rather if he was sentenced to die on faulty psychological testimony. A psychologist testified that blacks were more likely to commit crimes and that influenced the jury’s decision to sentence him to die instead of life without parole.

Don’t mistake me for a liberal who can’t bring myself to punish anyone. I know what it is like to lose someone. Two of my brothers were murdered- one in 1999 and the other four years later. I don’t want either of their killers put to death. I don’t want them to have the easy way out. I want them to suffer, suffer they way my mother, my father, my other brothers, my grandmother and I have suffered. Capital punishment does not bring closure. It does not stop long sleepless nights. It does not bring back the people you love.

Capital punishment is a waste of money. Florida executed 44 people since 1976 at a cost of $24 million per execution. We could save $51 million each year by punishing all first-degree murderers with life in prison without parole, according to the Palm Beach Post.

“Resources directed toward this form of selective, legitimized killing of human beings are not available for crime prevention methodologies proven for their effectiveness. The death penalty not only fails as a solution to the problem of violence in the United States but, because of the excessive costs of implementation, capital punishment interferes with a spectrum of preventive programs that have been demonstrated to work well,” said Richard C. Dieter, executive director of The Death Penalty Information Center.

Even if the person committed the crime, he sits on death row for years. Not only do we house criminals, feed and clothe them, we allow them to die a less harsh death than their victims.

Who are we to decide whether Davis or Buck dies? Justice demands life not death.