Less than half of Americans said they support the death penalty, according to a recent poll by Pew Research. That’s the first time in nearly half a century that statistic has occurred, according to the New York Times.
We all want justice for the wrongs that have been inflicted upon us. But how far should that vengeance go? Does it have to come down to taking a life, even if that person has become more monster than human in our eyes?
I believe the death penalty was put in place as an ultimate act of justice. It’s viewed as the most blunt and sure way of reaching some form of closure for a person or family torn apart by tragedy. However, it isn’t hard to see why the death penalty has been considered constitutional for centuries because there have been public executions since the colonial age.
This was done in order to show retribution while also sparking fear in those watching. People saw what could happen to them if they chose to do something illegal or wrong.
Now, the death penalty isn’t a public spectacle, but something that’s done behind closed doors and not spoken about too often. This is because the death penalty is considered to be entirely barbaric by many people today.
It’s 2016 and the American public should have evolved into the kind who don’t look to sentence a criminal to death in order to get closure, no matter how despicable the act is.
The Fair Punishment Project started in Harvard Law School last year discovered that nearly all of the death sentences carried out were from small counties that had three similarities including overzealous prosecutors, inadequate public defenders and a pattern of racial bias and exclusion, according to the New York Times.
It asks the question of whether the death penalty is serving a purpose that isn’t tainted by prejudice and racism. It shows that taking a life, has possibly lost the significance it once had.
Due to television shows, movies and video games, we’ve become desensitized to the act of killing someone. We start to believe we can actually handle the act ourselves since we’ve seen it played on a screen so many times. It’s a different scenario when the gun isn’t virtual and you’re not watching a bad guy kill one of his henchmen on screen. Those are games and actors. This is real life.
I’m not sure if the death penalty should be abolished completely.
A large part of me thinks that it should because there has been enough death in this year alone to warrant caution toward the death penalty.
I think the American public has evolved past taking a life in order to serve a type of justice that can never quite be received.
The American public needs to take a step back and think about what justice really means when regarding a life. Just because someone is dead doesn’t erase the hurt they inflicted.
Email Shania Savastio at firstname.lastname@example.org