Old Sparky and Gruesome Gertie (affectionate names for the electric chair) have taken the lives of many, even the innocent (Finnerty 18). They are prejudiced and lack compassion. However, many Americans believe that they represent justice. Capital punishment does not represent justice, but vengeance and hate. Among the 7,000 people estimated to have been killed in the United States between 1900 and 1985, at least 23 were innocent (Finnerty 18). In at least 8 of 261 executions performed since 1976, something went wrong; for example, the executioner couldn't find a good vein, or the first jolt of electricity failed to do the trick (Finnerty 18). An innocent person, let alone 23 that were wrongfully executed might seem insignificant to one. Just for a moment think if that one person was your brother or father, and they were innocent! Would you then see that the American judicial system is imperfect, and that capital punishment should be abolished? Capital punishment is wrong and should be abolished because of its imperfections, high cost, and immoral existence.
Many people argue that we should keep practicing capital punishment because it would be a waste of money to sentence someone to life in prison. Facts show that it is more expensive to give someone the death sentence than life in prison. The cost of state execution is up to three times the cost of lifetime imprisonment (Dority 37). So many people are convinced that it is cheaper to practice capital punishment, but those people are not aware of the facts to be presented. If someone is interested in saving "tax payer's dollars," it is much cheaper to sentence someone to life in prison. The reason that life imprisonment...
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...dical treatment that they deserve, not death. Capital punishment is an ineffective deterrent that only demonstrates violence for society (Dority 37). We are teaching society that it is acceptable to kill. We are saying that revenge is justifiable. Racism is no stranger to capital punishment. The death penalty wants to save as many white people as it can, and kill as many black people as possible. Violence begets violence, and murder begets murder. The violent crimes that capital punishment attempts to control will only increase if we, the people, do not demand moral alternatives to state sanctioned murder.
Dority, Barbara. "Not in My Name." The Humanist March/April 1993: 36-37.
Finnerty, Amy. "Sunday: Six Facts." The New York Times Magazine 5 February 1995: 18.
Monagle, Katie. "The Death Penalty." Update 4 September 1992: 13-15.
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