The Death Penalty: Justifiable
By: Brendan Moriarty 04/28/96
-Preface: Let it be noted now that this speech is very opinionated.
I strongly believe that the Death Penalty is a form of punishment to be
used when needed. Which opens up the question, when should it be used? That may
be the breaking point in a lot of arguments, deciding when to use the death
penalty is a very touchy subject. I believe that only murderers deserve the
death penalty, but I do not believe that all murderers should receive it as
punishment. In cases where someone was killed in self defense, the ‘murderer’
should not receive the death penalty. But when someone is killed in cold blood
then there should be a consideration. Again, not all cold blooded murderers
should receive it. Premeditated and sometimes on the spot murders are also
candidates, but that depends on how the victim was treated before the murder.
Was he/she abused or tormented in a severe way? Or was the victim raped? I would
also take into account, the number of people killed by the murderer. Those are
not the only things to take into account, but I will stop here.
It was August 3, the year was 1986. A man named Esquel Banda had just
raped, stabbed and strangled a 74 year old widow by the name of Merle Laird in
her own house. Banda then sucked the blood from the woman’s mouth.
Does that describe a kind, gentle man, who is not a threat to society? A
man who values life or a man that deserves life when he seems so eager to
destroy it? I certainly wouldn’t think so.
Some people believe that the death penalty is wrong, what do you think?
Is it OK for a man to commit heinous murders but not OK for our valued legal
system, who’s outcomes depend on ordinary people like you and me, to decide to
terminate that mans life for his crimes to others?
The death penalty is just that; a penalty. Its intention is not to
present an example to others, to show them ‘not to commit murders, or this may
happen to you…’, although it may very well work like that. If it is, fine, so
much the better. But it is a punishment. You can’t say that the felon doesn’t
really receive the punishment because he’s dead because they have quite a few
years to think about it while on death row. Just sitting around a few years with
nothing to look forward to except death, is punishment enough. Infact, it may be
better than having a life jail term, without parole. Felons in that predicament
have said so themselves, they would rather die than have to wait the rest of
there life in jail, which can exceed 60 years. Which brings me around to my next
What happens if we do get rid of the death penalty? We would have
hundreds of murderers sitting in jails and mixing with many other people.
“Don’t’ put me in a cell with anybody. I’ll kill them, it won’t bother me to
kill somebody.” That’s a quote from a former death row inmate. He brings up a
very important point. Our society always says how our prisons are safe and
secure. That may be true in some prisons now, but what happens when they have to
hold murderers like that inmate. If the death penalty isn’t used anymore, then
what would stop inmates from killing other inmates and jail guards or repeatedly
trying to escape? Nothing; because if they do kill someone, their term won’t
change, nothing worse can happen to them, except mabey a few days of solitude.
Nothing is stopping them from attempting more crimes in jail!
Another point I must bring up, is racism in the decision about who
should die. I will agree that there is some, but it is a simple problem with a
simple solution. Diversify our jurys. In most cases, a group of people chosen
randomly will be appointed to decide that fate of an accused murderer. If there
is racism and sexism, then even out the number of minorities and sexes in the
jury. But anyway, if we need to bag the death penalty because of racism and such,
then we sure can’t have prisons! Don’t tell me there isn’t either of those when
the jail term is decided, because the truth is, there is a lot of racism is the
OK, my last point is the argument that the death penalty is just too
cruel to use. I’ll agree that mabey hanging and a firing squad should be
abolished. But not the gas chamber, lethal injection or the chair. With the gas
chamber, the person just smells a strange smell, then there out of it. The only
pain in lethal injection is sticking the needle in the skin. The last one, the
electric chair is the most controversial. There are stories of people surviving
the first shock, in one case the man was sent back to his cell, but later he was
finally killed. That may be very shocking, but mabey you haven’t heard what some
of these people did. Here’s an example…
A man and a woman were sitting in there car on the bank of a river on a
date. Two men approached the car and pointed a gun in. The man and women were
taken, and later, deep in a forest, the male victim was beaten, tied to a tree
and shot through the head, all in front of the woman’s eyes. For the next few
days, the woman was tortured and raped repeatedly and was almost killed in the
So, put yourself in those victim’s shoes, imaging the physical and
mental pain of the ordeal. Now what do you think? Should the murderers receive a
little bit of pain on their way out? I think it’s justifiable.