In my opinion, I do not believe that having a death penalty is that much of a deterrent for these violent crimes. First, because many people who commit these crimes come from backgrounds where quite frankly being put to death isn’t that bad of an alternative. There are many prisoners in jail in general who enjoy having three meals a day and a place to sleep. They’re institutionalized and when released from prison, often find a way to get back in because creating a life on the outside is too difficult. Second, these crimes are often crimes where mentally the perpetrator is temporarily in a state where logical thinking has gone out the window. In other words, it wouldn’t cross their minds that they better not commit the crime, or they’ll be executed. Lastly, there’s no other way to put it, but executions in most states have become soft. These criminals who have committed horrific crimes which still negatively impacts the families of friends of the victims, are basically put to sleep. Can you imagine the last few minutes in the lives of the victims? Can you imagine their terror? Yet those who are executed lay on a table and are put down almost like an animal is put down in an animal hospital.
Maybe a lot of people are okay with it thinking that it’s humane to do it this way but I can tell you that if one of my friends or family members were viciously murdered, I wouldn’t want the person being executed to have an easy way out of this life. How do you think you’d feel? I’m a Christian man but I admit I’d want some suffering to take place. The way I look at it is Jesus said to follow the laws of the land and if the citizens want a firing squad, an electrocution, the gas chamber, hanging, etc., then it’s their right. When people on death row were electrocuted, it was a tough death and they spent a long time thinking about when the moment would arrive. There was some sense of torture and some sense of justice to the act for those who were left behind. Being put to sleep on a table is a pleasant end for many death row inmates. It just doesn’t seem right.
A very important thing to keep in mind about allowing someone life versus the death penalty is that an average murderer is around 25 years of age and the life expectancy living in prison is around 45 years. With this in mind, It costs taxpayers around $1.6 million dollars per prisoner to pay for their incarceration over a lifetime; over $2 million in California. This is at today’s prices so it will get even worse. Throwing out any morality issues, from a cost perspective, taxpayers are way better off executing dangerous criminals. This is one of the reasons there was so much hanging taking place back in the 1800’s, the wild west, because not only did their jails not have enough room for the many criminals, but they couldn’t afford to feed them. It was mostly about money.
Anyhow, I can go back and forth on the issue but there’s no doubt in my mind that each state has the authority to choose whether or not they want the death penalty and quite frankly from a Constitutional perspective, they have every right to choose how they want to do it. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ends when you’re a part of taking away someone else’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. At this point, you’re at the citizens’ mercy from where you committed the crime. So, when it comes to the death penalty, whatever side you on, you’ve got plenty of data to back up your position. This isn’t always the case.
By the way, Texas by far leads the rest of the country in conducting executions followed by Virginia, Oklahoma, and Florida. No place in the country has as many people on death row than California which has 721, but they’ve only executed 14 over the last 40 years regardless of what the juries wanted. Let that sink in.