Editorial: Do Some Criminals Deserve to Die?

Editorial: Do Some Criminals Deserve to Die?

Kevin Yang, Staff Writer

Paper Lion staff writer considers the significance of the death penalty. 

I distinctly remember those words from my grandfather. We had both hesitantly continued the subject from beforehand, believing it was too taboo to speak so freely about the assignment of capital punishment. We concluded, in agreement with one another, that it was only natural for condemned criminals to face execution — some executions, we retorted, might even be too humane for some criminals. Years later, as I sat in my Street Law class, listening to my teacher’s lesson about capital crimes, I nostalgically recalled the idea we persisted upon: the notion that “criminals deserved to die.” Why shouldn’t they?

Morally ambiguous individuals stray far from that notion. Especially during the 1,407 executions in America from 1976 to 2015 — the statistics proved that the sentencing was not deterring crime and was vehemently used to initiate the first stages of its disappearance. “The death penalty does not deter crime; the killing of a criminal does not prevent another from emerging,” they would say.

Besides, as the abolitionists persist, what differs in effect between a life sentence and a death sentence? If it does not deter crime, what exactly does it prevent? The life sentence lowers the risks of an innocent victim being wrongly killed; however, how much more humane and secure is a life sentence instead? There have been accidents of murderers escaping from life sentences and killing more innocents; they were given the opportunity to do so because their life sentence allowed them to escape. The death sentence would have extinguished any possibility of such tragedies.

Moreover, alongside their intrinsic tendencies to skewer towards more statistically backed arguments, many have disregarded the morality of this argument. The death penalty acts as a final closure for victims. Its inability to effectively deter and prevent crime has always been in the spotlight; the victims have never been. The families of murdered individuals, those misfortuned, do they get justice? Nevertheless, the amount of yearly executions in the U.S. has decreased significantly since the ’90s, from 98 to 35 a year during a 15-year span from 1999 to 2014. Other countries have exterminated the practice entirely.

It is a common issue that moral questions typically have no correct answer; it greatly depends upon the (sometimes fickle) moral standings of any respondent brave enough to hold an opinion. Applying that notion, it is understandable that the death penalty is so frowned upon and detested. That, however, does not validate its extermination; it should and needs to stay. It enforces security, even if some statistics don’t support it. It kills those deserving of death — it is the only way to secure victims’ closure.


* image from https://freesvg.org/ (public domain)



The death penalty in America: expensive, racially skewed, and still popular by VOX


Should the death penalty be Abolished? New york times upfront Feb 20, 2017