When the death penalty is appropriate

Taylor Miksic

It has been going on for thousands and thousands of years, and it is an issue that has more than two distinct sides to it. The death penalty, or punishment by execution for a crime, has been a controversy for some time now, but it can be more complicated than just being for or against it.

Some believe that the death penalty, or capital punishment, is appropriate in certain situations, but not OK in other situations. Some are pro- or anti-death penalty no matter what.

Taylor Miksic

Taylor Miksic is a sophomore news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

I believe the cliché “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind,” but I’m not strictly anti-death penalty. In certain situations, the death penalty seems to be acceptable.

According to religioustolerance.org, “In almost all states that perform executions, the death penalty is limited to cases involving aggravated murder. However, there are a growing number of states that also allow the execution of convicted child molesters.”

This seems reasonable because aggravated murder generally indicates a murder committed with intent and under serious circumstances.

In most situations, however, I feel if the option of a life sentence with no opportunity of parole is available, that is what the perpetrator’s punishment should be.

Life without parole seems to be more of a punishment than the death penalty. Prisoners who have committed vicious crimes are stuck inside of a cage for the remainder of their natural lives, thinking about what they have done.

Making them live a life of misery seems to be more of a punishment than just killing them. If I were in the convicts’ laceless shoes and orange jumper, I would pick death over a life in prison.

Imprisonment is not just for punishing those who have violated laws; it is also for protection of the public and rehabilitation for the convicts. Life in jail protects the public and punishes — and hopefully rehabilitates — the prisoner. Although if they have no chance at parole, a life sentence is more of a punishment and an act of protection than it is rehabilitation.

Many have protested the death penalty due to it being “cruel and unusual punishment,” but did the criminals who have caused harm to others and their families think about being “cruel and unusual” when they were slaughtering human beings? I would say not.

There are, however, restrictions on capital punishment. When mental illness, mental retardation, race or juveniles are involved in a case, there are limitations.

Anyone on trial for a crime who is suspected to be mentally insane or retarded must go through psychoanalysis to prove that they are, for if they are, they cannot be executed.

Equal protection of the law for people of any race can be violated in any case. To be considered unconstitutional, proof of racial discrimination against the defendant must be presented.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was ratified in 1992, stating that offenders who committed their crime when they were under the age of 18 are not capable of receiving capital punishment.

All three of these restrictions seem fair and just.

Under certain circumstances, the death penalty is appropriate. If the perpetrator is unable to be rehabilitated, the death penalty should be used, but a life sentence without the possibility of parole seems to be more of a punishment.