Friday, February 15, 2013

Maryland Discusses Repealing the Death Penalty

Yesterday, on February 14th, 2013, the Senate and House of Representatives met to discuss the bill to abolish the death penalty in the state of Maryland. Amnesty International, supporting Maryland’s efforts to move towards to abolition of the death penalty, posted the article and discussed the controversial issue of capital punishment in the United States.
            Amnesty International USA interim executive director Frank Junnuzi highlighted several reasons supporting the termination of the death penalty in the US. Out of the information he provided, one fact that was particularly surprising was that over two thirds of the countries in the world have ceased using the death penalty, and that “the United States stands almost alone among advanced industrialized countries retaining capital punishment” (Amnesty Internaional). Additionally, as of 2012, the United States was one of the top five countries that issued the death penalty; other countries in the top five were China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. These countries are particularly known for their poor treatment of individuals’ human rights, and to think that they would be grouped together with the United States is shocking.
One of the main arguments that I hear in support of the death penalty is that the price of the upkeep of prisons and prisoners is too high. While this may be true, I disagree with the notion that taking one’s life is the answer. I feel that many Americans, including myself, do not live by an “eye for an eye” policy, and like to think that we are forgiving and understanding. When this logic is applied to criminals, many people’s attitude on the matter change. While criminals may not deserve the same forgiveness and understanding as an innocent person deserves, they do deserve the right to their life. No matter what crime an individual has committed, he or she deserves the right to his or her life. If we, as Americans, continue to use murder as a punishment for those who have murdered, we will be unable to make any progress in protecting individuals’ human rights. Regardless of the cost or hassle of keeping a person alive, no other person or group of people has the right to determine whether or not another should live or die. 

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