PCP: Death penalty deserved

Kaitlin Newkirk

Abbi Pittman

The following is part of a Point / Counter-Point that discusses the death penalty in light of the series of programs on campus addressing capital punishment.

Read the counter-point here


Kaitlin Newkirk

Editor’s Note: The lines “Living in prison is like living in the real world, only better” and “It’s almost like camp. Permanent camp” have been removed from the following article. The Appalachian apologizes for any confusion.

Griffin makes valuable points, but he’s looking at capital punishment too objectively. 

Think about if someone murdered your child, your parent or your friend. How would you feel? Would you want their murderer living out his life in prison, or would you want him dead?

The answer is simple for me: I would want the criminal executed. 

So yes, I support the death penalty.

In prison, prisoners get exercise time, teachers come in to educate them and the convicts are served three meals a day.

But is that what we want? Is that what they deserve?

Some prisoners can petition for parole or even get out early for good behavior.

After committing a crime considered severe enough to demand the death penalty, what’s considered “good behavior” anyway? 

Good behavior in a controlled environment in the future does not erase past grievances.

But don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe everyone should get the death penalty. And I certainly think that some people should get second chances.

The death penalty is appropriate only for crimes deemed cruel beyond inhumane.

Killing a person who murdered someone, or many people, is not taking an “eye for an eye,” as Griffin suggests. The justice system is not doing the same thing that the criminal did by murdering him or her.

Murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another innocent human being. If a criminal is found guilty of murder in a court of law, and if the crime was so horrible that it deserves the death penalty, then killing this murderer is no longer unlawful.

It isn’t murder. It isn’t vengeance, either, because all justice could be considered “vengeance,” whether it’s suing someone or having the person who stole your car sent to jail.

No, the death penalty gives dangerous, immoral criminals what they deserve.

And that makes me sleep better at night.

What doesn’t is the chance that some criminals sentenced to the death penalty may have been completely innocent.

I acknowledge that yes, there’s always a chance of this. And when it happens, it’s horrible.

But the margin of error is getting lower as technology continues to evolve.

We are becoming more and more certain of who is guilty and who is not.

If someone were to murder somebody I love, I would not be happy with him being taken care of for the rest of his life.

I would want justice served.

Newkirk, A junior English major from Wilmington, is an opinion writer.