Recent opinion polls would have us believe that a majority of American citizens support the death sentence for capital offenses. Who is being polled? The Court, distinguishes two groups of citizens, who make up the polled groups. One group is ‘far removed‘ from the actual experience of capital punishment and the other group constitutes an ‘informed public.‘ Can we, as an informed public continue to sanction a practice which shows so little regard for human life? Do we, as a nation draw distinction between the immorality of a capital crime by an average American citizen and the immorality of a capital execution by the American Government?
It is my contention that when the punishment for a capital offense is a sentence of death, the government is acting equally irresponsibly with the life of the accused, as did the accused with the life of his victim. I can hold no support for such an irrevocable form of punishment, particularly when justice can be well served through other forms. Without regard for any of the circumstances that relate to the crime, the emphasis first should be the value of human life. That life should not be taken under the guise of justice.
I am not suggesting that capital crimes go unpunished, or that they be treated as minor offenses. My concerns speak to the Arbitrary practices of punishment for capital offenses and the careless manner in which this country disposes of its human potential. While the death penalty offers a final solution that does rid society of a particular criminal element, it is fraught with mistakes of discrimination, uncertainty and subjectivity. More importantly, it is an inhumane approach to punishing a fellow human.
This position does not consider the nature of the crime, race, gender, religion, intelligence or the economic status of the accused or of the victim. The only consideration that needs to be made, when punishing for a capital crime isthis is a human life that is being assigned to death. If by some moral act, we can assign a different value to human life, then likely unlawful and lawful killings would cease.