By Tyler Bauer
The Big Question
Should the government be able to kill people? This is a big, important question, but we don’t think about it very often.
Why don’t we think about it? I don’t know, but I think it’s because we don’t want to think about the reality of this situation. Thinking about killing criminals isn’t very fun. Neither is thinking about the crimes people on death row commit.
Rather than addressing the problem, it’s much easier to ignore it and go on with our lives.
Where is the Death Penalty Used?
Along with the United States, fifty-two other countries have the death penalty. There are some respectable countries on this list, like Japan, but there are far more less-than-respectable countries (such as Saudi Arabia and North Korea) on the list.
Within the United States, thirty-one states have the death penalty. Four of the thirty-one death penalty states have suspended use of the death penalty for the time being.
Should the Death Penalty Exist?
This is one of the hardest political questions. The worst people among us - murderers, rapists, terrorists, etc - are obviously bad people. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I don't want anyone like that inn our society. Similarly, I'm not happy about taxpayer funds being used to house and support these criminals in prison.
Despite everything I just said, I oppose the death penalty. I clearly understand the arguments in favor of its use, but I don't like the idea of the government being able to kill people. What some people fail to realize is that the same government that can kill a criminal can kill you. You (hopefully) aren't a criminal, but giving the government this much power also gives the government the ability to use this power against you.
Furthermore, innocent people have been killed and are at risk of being killed in the future. According to The Guardian, four percent of US death row inmates are innocent. I don't know about you, but I'd rather the government get it right when it comes to who to kill and who not to kill. Sadly, perfection is unattainable, so I don't think we should allow the execution of prisoners when there's a decent chance that they could be innocent.