January 16th, 2020 OPINION COLUMN by Mark Ballard
The Death Penalty (Capital Punishment)
Every year more and more states push to have the death penalty removed as a possible sentence for heinous acts perpetrated upon the public. Twenty have succeeded as of date. The death penalty, also known as Capital Punishment, is a government sanctioned practice where a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. The fight against states having the death penalty mainly falls into two arguments. The first is that innocent people may be put to death. While this was more true in the past, with the current forensics we have available now it is far less likely to be an issue today.
The other thing that sets the present apart from the past is cameras. Between security cameras up and down the streets and everyone in public having a camera on their phones, the likelihood of committing a crime without it being videoed is slimmer too. The second argument is that the death penalty is ultimately cruel, inhumane and is a degrading punishment. A few years ago, a man grabbed a young woman as she was jogging. He beat her, raped her, strangled her, stabbed her, and then buried her in the dirt.
She, however, was not yet dead. She ended up asphyxiating on the dirt she was buried in. Doesn’t this sound more cruel, inhumane, and degrading? Assaults and murders like this happen daily throughout our country. Advocates of ending the death penalty seem to value the life of the criminal more than that of the victim. While it is extremely low that video or forensic evidence wouldn’t be found with most violent crimes, I concede there could be an extremely small chance of an instance where the wrong person could be convicted.
In an rare occasion like this, I believe life without the possibility of parole should be imposed. However, with any case where video and/or forensic evidence shows no doubt the person commited the crime, the death penalty should be imposed and carried out quickly. The example above proves that cruel, inhumane, and degrading are what is forced upon the victim, not the criminal. Even in being put to death the criminals are handled with kid gloves. Arguments that the death penalty is not a deterrent any longer are not completely false. Liberal judges and leftist lawmakers have neutered it as a tool to deter crime.
With people sitting on death row many times for over 30 years, people do not fear it as they should. And, with the lay back and let me give you something to drift off to sleep gently attitude doesn’t help. When horse thieves and murderers were hung in the town square, crime was low. The town would show up with picnic baskets and make a day of it awaiting the sentence being carried out. The children witnessed the hanging and knew better growing up than to cross the line and risk that punishment.
The death penalty should be carried out timely and be something that people would never want to risk doing something to have it done to them. Then it will be the deterent it was meant to be again. A third argument is that God tells us not to kill. God’s commandment does not tell us to not kill. The original and accurate translation tells us we should not murder.
We should all ask any lawmaker wanting take the death penalty away as a potential sentence two questions. Why do you feel a criminal’s life has more value than the life of their victim? And, will you show up to the the funeral of a violently murdered person and give the eulogy explaining to the family that sad as it is, their loved one’s pain and suffering doesn’t justify the criminal from being uncomfortable? We all need to be vigilant to not only bills affecting this trying to be snuck through but also any bills softening laws for criminals, like felon’s voting rights, and any others affecting our freedoms.
Mark Ballard, Community Columnist