Western Courier

Should the death penalty be legal?

Donnetta Shanklin, Courier Staff

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The death penalty has and always will be a controversial topic and an interesting one to discuss as well. It is especially controversial when it comes to minors. Yes, there is the term that everybody makes mistakes, but there are some mistakes that should be punishable by death. There are some cases where the crime is considered to be extremely heinous but should not necessarily be up for the death penalty. That might sound a bit inhumane, but with the death penalty, the first thing that comes to mind is mass shooters, bombers, terrorist, hate crimes, etc. Yes, murder of any degree is bad, but the death penalty was thrown around way too much back then. Obviously I am not a licensed or practicing police officer, but people have been given the death penalty for less, and people who should have been given the death penalty for doing worse did not get it.

The idea of the death penalty is not unusual but sometimes it can be a bit cruel. Cruel most likely is not an appropriate word to use because the crime committed was cruel but as stated before, people who have been charged for less and get away with more. It’s hard to say whether the death penalty is the right answer because sometimes people get wrongfully accused and then by the time that is figured out, it is too late. This is not always the case but it is a possibility for some crimes. The death penalty may also not be the right choice for a defendant because sometimes there is more going on than people know. For example, if a kid kills his mother, he might have killed her because she was abusive to him or because he was schizophrenic and the voices in his head told him so. He could have a lot of mental problems and something just triggered him and set him off one day. At the end of the day when the crimes are committed, the only people involved in the case are the witnesses, defendant and the victim.

All of law enforcement or like figures are not there and they don’t know exactly what happened. There may be hard evidence of the boy committing murder, but the motive is not there. A lot of times, the motives don’t matter. A crime is a crime, but that is not always the case and is very untrue. Sometimes there are external and internal factors along with circumstances that causes someone to act outside of their normal behavior. There are many scenarios as to why someone did what they did. Some of those examples are because they were frightened, they were trying to protect themselves, etc.

These factors, however, aren’t relevant when it comes to sentencing and that is why the death penalty is not always fair. When there are crimes that are super large like mass shootings, bombings, hate crimes, terrorist attacks, etc. those are the types of situations that the death penalty would not be considered cruel and unusual punishment, because those people who committed those crimes are psychopaths and deserve nothing but maximum sentence.

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Should the death penalty be legal?