Sword & Shield

To Kill Or Not To Kill; that is the question

Aalayah Campbell and Megan Leiter

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Aalayah Campbell

The recent sentencing of Dylan Roof, the terrorist who killed 9 people during a prayer service at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, has determined him to be put on death row.

The issue of whether criminals should be punished with the death row penalty or capital punishment has become a hot topics in debates, with people who are against it claiming that its amoral to kill someone.

However, these are not law- abiding citizens; they are criminals who have harmed other people out of premeditated malice or retaliation.
The death penalty should be kept in the U.S. Justice system because justice would finally be served–the people sentenced to death row are not people who committed petty crimes, but violent ones like murder and rape.

They’re the people who can cause a great threat to society. By eliminating them, that threat greatly diminishes.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, most states charge criminals with a death penalty when they commit horrific crimes like first degree/ capital murder, sexual battery, or treason.

To make sure those crimes are not repeated, those people should continue to be prosecuted and sentenced the way they have done so in years past.
But, it should also be considered the history of people being wrongly convicted and put on death row. However, this is a result of weak litigation and a faulty legal system that allows decision making, even in the absence of evidentiary support.

In other words, the death penalty shouldn’t be taken out of the system– the justice system and police officers should do a better job in convicting the right criminal, and making sure the right criminal gets charged with a sentence that matches their crime.

The victims and/or family and friends of the victims of the criminals shouldn’t lose their chance to finally have peace knowing that the criminals that caused them so much pain and grief would be finally punished for their crimes.

The benefits of the death penalty outweighs the negatives of it. The issue of overpopulation in jails and prisons could be fixed. As are result, the money that would have gone to prisons to may be channeled into other areas of society, like schools and hospitals. Taxpayers’ hard earned money shouldn’t be used to keep these criminals alive. And if it means using more money to punish them, then we as a society should do that for justice to be served.

Even though statistics prove that it cost more to put a criminal on death row than it is to give them a life sentence, much less criminals are put on death row compared to being put in prison.

Even with the moral aspect of death penalty, shouldn’t the people who do horrible things pay for their crimes? As a society, we shouldn’t let those people get away without being punished, especially since there’s a chance that a person can shorten their sentence with parole.
Justice should survive to make sure other people of society are safe.


Megan Leiter

Thomas and Meek Griffin, two brothers convicted of murdering a man in 1915 were both sentenced to death, yet they were completely innocent.
The real killer was a man named Monk Stevenson. He blamed the ghastly act on the brothers, thinking they were wealthy enough to beat the charges.

However, this wasn’t the case, and Thomas and Meek paid the ultimate price. This is just one of many examples where the “justice” system has failed to bring true justice to the true culprit.

It is hard to wrap my head around the idea that an innocent man or woman could be placed on the electric chair or receive lethal injection. But this happens. Too many have fallen victim to false execution.

The death penalty seems like the state resorted to the coward’s way out when weighing the options at a sentencing. Instead of letting a felon rot in a cell their whole lives, and think about what they have done, they chose a quick end.

The phrase “An eye for an eye” explains that the victim and the criminal should acquire the same level of suffering. This seems fair to me, except when comparing the aguish and boiling of emotions the victim felt until the time of their death, to the criminal getting a needle in the arm and peacefully drifting into sleep.

Picturing murderers—who have caused a great deal of pain to not only the victim, but family and friends as well—sitting in a cell for the rest of their lives is almost satisfying. As grim as it sounds, it adds a sense of relief knowing that people are paying the price for their wrong-doings.

After committing a crime as cruel as murder or rape, it seems fitting to allow the criminal to spend the rest of their days dwelling on it. What I truly mean is, death sounds far too easy for people who have done such appalling acts.

Also, it costs more money to keep an individual on death row than it does to place them in prison on a life sentence. Florida in particular spends extra millions per year on the death penalty. Fifty-one million dollars would be saved each year by punishing criminals with life in prison without parole, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Besides the issues of money and the wrongfully accused, the death penalty goes against proper punishment. For example, if a child causes pain to another child, what good will it do to punish them with pain? It is hypocritical of the state to send out the message, “Do not kill” by killing a person themselves.

This could actually reinforce the rough behavior because a child is being told that is it is okay since an adult is doing it.

The death penalty is an unsettling punishment. It is unfair to those who are wrongly accused (Google the organization “Project Innonce”); it may feel like “the easy way” to some prisoners; and, it is expensive to keep a criminal on death row, restlessly waiting for their execution.
for their exe- cution.

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To Kill Or Not To Kill; that is the question