The Death Penalty In Just Mercy By Bryan Stevenson

701 Words 3 Pages
Death Penalty
The Death penalty is a highly controversial topic in present day politics. The public is concerned with how America’s most dangerous criminals are held responsible for their crimes as well as how they will be kept from harming others. It’s reasonable to want a mass murderer to be punished in a manner that removes further threat, but is it our place to decide if his or her life should be ended? In other words, is it moral for society to prescribe murder as retribution for murder? We are often taught as children that two wrongs don’t make a right. In the same context, we would not rape someone because they have raped (although, sadly, this can be an unintended consequence of incarceration). What then, I ask, makes execution any
…show more content…
The death penalty is unfitting for the American justice system because of its lack of accuracy and lack of mercy. There are so many ways people are treated with privilege or discrimination based on their abilities, culture, gender or gender expression, mental stability, intelligence, race, religion, sexuality, wealth, where they live, etc. Human beings, as well as trials, are imperfect - even without these prejudices. Mistakes can be made, and often misrepresentation in court can lead to an innocent person on death row. For not being one hundred percent certain of innocence or guilt, it’s not up to humans to decide on a terminal punishment such as death. As Stevenson says, “The death penalty is not about whether people deserve to die for the crimes they commit. The real question of capital punishment in this country is, Do we deserve to …show more content…
The innocence of a mass murderer who kills in broad daylight isn’t even a question, but should he or she be put to death? Many believe yes. It is a way for families of the victim(s) to get closure and for society to feel safe. But, Stevenson reminds us that “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” It might seem unlikely that we are similar to a criminal, especially violent offenders who commit terrible crimes, but because we are human we probably have more in common than not. This awareness is the root of mercy. Criminals are just like everyone else in the way they make mistakes. What’s different about criminals who are held accountable for their crimes (and there are many criminals – especially on Wall Street – who are not held accountable) is that society defines criminals by their worst mistakes. Our worst actions should not define who we are. Although it makes sense for safety reasons that violent offenders are incarcerated, we should make incarceration more humane. As Robert A. Heinlein asks about the death penalty, “Under what circumstances is it moral for a group to do that which is not moral for a member of that group to do alone?” We pride ourselves that we live in the Land of the Free, and yet our incarceration rate and reliance on capital punishment tell a different story. It’s time to try more mercy for a

Related Documents