From 1977 to 2009, the United States executed approximately 1,200 individuals. While that number may seem extremely high for some, today I’d like to argue that we should actually kick it up a notch.
Let’s face it: America is running rampant with outrageous and disgusting crimes, most of which are carried out by filthy, wastes of life.
A perfect example of such crimes happened on April 26, 2013, in a small suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Twenty-four-year-old Liam Crowley was traveling north on a highly trafficked boulevard when his motorcycle was nailed by a truck. The Dodge Ram pickup was traveling southbound when it turned right into the motorcycle’s path. Although Crowley was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, the impact left him in critical condition, and he was immediately transported to a local hospital.
At the scene of the accident, police reported that the driver of the truck was visibly intoxicated. After conducting sobriety tests, police concluded that the driver of the pickup was drunk and charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or a controlled substance. It was also discovered that the driver did not possess a license, as it had previously been revoked for another DUI offense.
Two days after the accident, 24 year old Liam Crowley died in a hospital bed.
According to reports, this is not the driver’s first DUI. In fact, it’s not his second, third or even his fourth. It’s his fifth.
For his four previous DUIs, the driver served a few years in jail, faced fines, and had his license revoked. However, this is the first time he has killed another driver — but given the way in which previous charges were handled, it’s entirely possible that it will not be his last.
It is shocking cases such as this that should be grounds for a mandatory death sentence. While there should always be room for error and mistakes, an incident such as a DUI should not occur more than one time. The heaviest penalty a DUI carries is jail time. Regardless, in this situation and several others outside of DUIs, the motto “an eye for an eye, a life for a life” should apply. If you are going to make reckless and stupid decisions, the consequences should be equally dramatic, especially when you are risking the lives of other individuals.
The states that approve of the death penalty are as follows: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, and the United States government and military.
States that are without the death penalty are as follows: Alaska, Connecticut*, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Main, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico*, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. However, in March 2009, New Mexico decided to abolish the death penalty. Regardless, the repeal was not retroactive, which left two individuals on the state’s death row. In April 2012, Connecticut also abolished the death penalty and left 11 people on the state’s death row.
In 2007, Michael Summers, Professor of Management Science at Pepperdine University, wrote an article titled “Capital Punishment Works,” which was published in the Wall Street Journal. In that article, Summers explains that research concluded that with every execution completed, around 74 fewer murders occurred the subsequent year. He also points out that between 1979 and 2004, according to public FBI sources, the obvious trend was that when the number of executions rose, the numbers of murders decreased. The trend also showed that when the number of executions decreased, the numbers of murders increased.
In the early years of the 1980s, the death penalty made its solid return. Following this reappearance, murder numbers dropped. In the late 1980s, execution levels decreased, and the number of murders rose. Finally, in the 1990s, America increased the number of executions. This caused the number of murders to plunge. However, since 2001, we have once again cut back on our execution numbers, and this has caused an increase in murders yet again.
The death penalty holds the potential for to provide justice in the form of closure for the families and friends of crime victims. It is also another crime deterrent, as offenders will think twice before committing a crime such as murder. In fact, it can even positively affect criminals already in jail, as they will be less likely to commit further crimes on guards and prisoners. Therefore, by creating more relaxed guidelines when it comes to sentencing an individual to the death penalty, we will be serving justice and cutting back on the levels of crime, including murder.
Additionally, the death penalty has proven that our justice system has significantly more sympathy and patience for criminals than it does for victims. When you allow a prisoner out on work release or parole for a murder or manslaughter charge, that person is free to go about his or her business and do as he or she pleases. The same is surely not true for the victim, who is confined to a metal cell six feet underground.
Ever wonder how much of your hard-earned money goes to prions? Annually, about $37 billion is spent on prisons alone. Considering there are over 2 million inmates currently residing in the United States prison system, this number isn’t very surprising. About $2 of every single paycheck you receive goes to prison funding- and this number continues to rise. Soon, the tax dollars going to prisons will exceed the amount going to police officers.
This tax money contributes to the building of new prisons and the daily operating costs of those prisons, such as salaries for the guards. Furthermore, the cost of food, water, and healthcare (let that sink in) for each inmate costs about $91 a day. Around $3.3 billion is spent on prison healthcare services, as each inmate is promised healthcare when they need it. If only non-criminals could be so lucky…
The guidelines for sentencing an inmate to death should become more laid back, as more inmates should have to face the death penalty. Depending on each individual state, the guidelines for receiving a death penalty sentence vary. However, as the small number of executions done from 1977 to 2009 was under 2,000, which is far less than the number of murders that occur annually, we are obviously not doing enough.
More sentences of the death penalty will scare criminals and would-be-criminals into following the laws. As for the criminals, they will think twice before committing a serious crime. Finally, current inmates will be less likely to commit further crimes in jail, such as killing guards and other inmates, if they know the death penalty is a frequent and often occurrence. By lowering the standards for the death penalty sentence, we will also be lowering the number of crime and murders.