Due to the fact that the entire concept revolves around death, capital punishment is a sensitive subject. When, if ever, is it alright to take the life of another human being. A week ago, you all heard me get up here and argue against stem cell research, based on the fact that the embryos utilized in stem cell research are lives that we are needlessly killing. You may be wondering, what the difference is between killing an embryo and a criminal, when, in your mind, the embryo might be less human than the murderer. Let me ask you a question though – What did the embryo, the unborn baby do wrong? Now, what did the murderer do wrong? Simply stated, the murderer has violated the importance of human life – not some embryo or lump of cells, as some of you see a baby – a live, grown or growing child or adult, and must die for committing that crime.
Often people opposed to the death penalty bring up the point that it does not deter criminals from murdering innocent people. I did not find any statistics proving or disproving this statement because deterrence should not be the basis for punishment. Author C.S. Lewis wrote, “If deterrence is all that matters, the execution of an innocent man, provided the public think him guilty, would be fully justified.” Our purpose in keeping the death penalty is not to deter murderers from committing crimes. Rather, it is to punish them for the crimes they commit. If, in the process, it deters criminals too, that’s fine and dandy.
Another point abolitionists bring up is the misconception that many innocent people die as a result of the death penalty. First off, only .06%, or 1 in 1600 murderers is sentenced to the death penalty. In any given year, this is only between 60 and 100, if not less. So even if innocent people ARE dying, there aren’t that many. Second, there is no proof that any criminal executed in the past 23 years has been innocent. Sure, many on death row have been exonerated, but did they die? No. Their execution was stopped before it happened.
Before quickly saying yes to abolishing the death penalty consider the fact that terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh will be allowed to live, even after killing thousands of innocent people.