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Mace and Crown | May 24, 2018

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The Death Penalty: An Appropriate Punishment

Summer Trzcinski | Contributing Writer

I will never forget the day I received the email that my teammate’s mother was killed in a racial hate crime.

On June 17, 2015, Dylan Roof walked into Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and murdered nine people. When it happened, I was completely oblivious. I was on vacation and hadn’t been watching the news. When I had a moment to check my emails, everything stopped.

I was fortunate enough to have never known someone who had been murdered and up until this moment in my life, I never even had the slightest connection with someone whose life had been taken. The email came from my coach, Callie Phillips, stating that one of our own, Kaylin Doctor, had lost her mother in a violent hate crime.

The Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor.

What would happen to Roof? What would happen to the person who took the lives of so many innocent, Christian human beings?

I never had the pleasure of meeting The Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, but it doesn’t change the fact that I knew she and her family, my teammate Kaylin, deserved justice.

I didn’t think that I would ever want someone to be sentenced under the death penalty, but that was before I was involved. Even though I wasn’t involved with the death penalty case directly, it changed my whole outlook on the death penalty and what justice truly means.

So many people, who try to say that the death penalty is wrong, have never actually been put into a situation that would even make a difference whether or not someone was put to death. They simply see it all from the outside looking in.

These offenders cause so much pain and hurt not only to their victims and individuals, but to families and communities. They do not deserve to live. They should not have the opportunity to have any sort of freedom or life, whether it is in prison or on bail.

Can you imagine having to walk down the street and seeing the man who killed your mother, just because he was able to make bail?

Even sentencing someone to life in prison isn’t truly giving these victim’s families and friends justice. Just knowing that the person that took away that life is still alive is not fair.

Donald McCartin, known as The Hanging Judge of Orange County, said, “It’s 10 times more expensive to kill them than to keep them alive.” Forbes magazine also says that the death penalty is too expensive, but can we honestly put a price on justice? No amount of money can amount to how the victim’s families feel and they deserve this justice, no matter the cost.

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, fines and cruel and unusual punishments including torture. The death penalty is none of the above. Someone encountering the death penalty is peacefully put to death, usually by lethal injection. The only thing they have to hurt them is the thought of the crime they committed and the position they are in at that moment.

Proponents argue that the death penalty is an important tool for preserving law and order and helps to deter crime. If people have nothing to fear of the law, then why would they follow it?

The death penalty is an appropriate punishment for crimes committed against the rights to life, freedom and safety of victims. The death penalty helps to deter would-be criminals to commit felonies and helps ease the hearts and minds of all involved. It is a constitutional punishment that serves justice to families and loved ones of victims. We, as United States citizens, should not have that part of the justice system taken away from us.