Saturday, December 10, 2005

Death Penalty In US

There are over 20,000 murders committed each year and yet less than two hundred are sent to death row. The death penalty is grossly partial. Two people commit identical crimes. One will be allowed to live, the other sentenced to die. It depends on the state and the city where the crime was committed to whether a person is sentenced to death or not.

When Christ himself was executed, he set a model response by his dying words: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And when confronted directly with the question of what to do in a capital case in his own society, Christ responded, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone." (John 8.) Christ's model of love, forgiveness and reconciliation does not leave room for the penalty of death.

Sister Helen Prejean author of Dead Man Walking, says, “ People ask me, "How is it that you, a Catholic nun, became involved in the death penalty?" The answer is very simple. I say: "Because I got involved in poor people." The death penalty is a poor person's issue. Always remember that: after all the rhetoric that goes on in the legislative assemblies, in the end, when the deck is cast out, it is the poor who are selected to die in this country. In the history of the death penalty it has always been that way. The rhetoric says that the death penalty will be reserved only for the most heinous crimes, but then when you look and begin to see how it is applied, you begin to see that in fact there is selectivity in process. And an integral part of it has to do with who gets killed.

In many of the debates over the death penalty, words are bandied about with little or no regard for their meaning. People even say that executing criminals does not take away from their dignity--if it is done with dignity. But the fact of the matter is that whether you're waiting to die by lethal injection--waiting for the poison to flow down your veins--or waiting for a bullet, or waiting for a rope, or waiting for gas, or waiting for the electric current--there is no difference: there is no lesser or greater dignity in dying because you're dying one way and not another. The practice of the death penalty is the practice of torture. And by the time the people I have been with finally climb into the chair to be killed, they have died a thousand times already because of their anticipation of the final horror."

In the past few years, we've found over one hundred people on death row to be innocent. That's the ones that DNA could prove were innocent. There are many more that DNA won't help, but are innocent nevertheless.

How is it right to kill so many innocent people in the name of justice to get a few. If we had the death penalty for all who killed, it might be somewhat fair. However, less than two hundred a year go to death row from over 20,000 murders committed each year, and out of those more than half will get their sentence overturned.

If you get the death penalty or not depends on the state and city the crime was committed, and not how horrible the crime was. Having the death penalty in the US makes us no better than those who kill.

We're only making new victims. The families of those condemned. We are ensuring that they will now feel the same pain as the family of those who were killed on the street. Vengenge. Not Justice.

To put someone in prison for the rest of their lives, with no chance of getting out is punishment. Then they will have to fight every day to stay alive. To think of what they did, of the lives they took. If you want to make someone suffer, that's the way to do it. Once the person is killed in the death penalty he is no longer being punished, but the family of that person are now the new victims.


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