Hannah L. Michigan

Dear Future President...

My letter is about the Death Penalty, and I believe that it needs to be reformed.

 The walking dead. Some might say these people don’t exist, they're just fiction. But they're real. You might not see them walking down a street or purchasing a coffee but they're there. They’re under cameras and behind the scenes. They might be walking around for decades knowing the reaper is just around the corner. Knowing that a set date could mean an end. You might say, I might as well finish here because I talk of the inevitably for certain human beings. I speak of resolution for for the worse types of foes. These are the killers, rapists, and bombers. They need a punishment that fits the crime. There are also many problems with the death penalty that I believe need reforming like; racial bias, cost, error, and the line that needs to be established between the choice that creates a dead man walking and a life sentence.

Racial Bias has always existed in America. Yes, it was more heated in the past but there are still shootings today by the most respected people in society. So it should not be shocking that racial biases are interweaved with the death penalty. Today, only 13 percent of America’s population is black, but African Americans make up 42 percent of those on death row. People might say that on the news African Americans are usually the ones getting arrested, and that might even be the case, but there still needs to be a verdict on who’s getting the death penalty or who’s a getting life sentence.

California has the nation’s largest death row, but a very inactive death chamber. The state has executed only 13 individuals since 2006, but has spent $4 billion on capital punishment. While in New Jersey, where they do not allow the death penalty, they have spent over $250 million on their system. This might be only one example of how the costs may vary. Logically it makes sense, the cost adds up. There are costs for the injection, workers doing the deed, the priest, and the special facility to hold the death row victims.

It’s a known fact the executions by injection usually get botched, that these killers die in excunationating ways. One point of argument is that these criminals should suffer and feel pain before they die, make them feel like their victims did, irony at it’s finest. Wouldn’t that make us no better than the killers themselves? To want to make them feel pain? Isn't our motives for making these people feel pain might be a similarity to why the killers kill in the first place?

The American Prospect also states “James Holmes faced 140 counts of attempted murder and was convicted on 12 counts for the 2012 shooting rampage in a Colorado movie theater; he was not sentenced to death.” Isn't James Holmes considered to be ‘the worst of the worst’ as the government puts it. So why isn't he part of the walking dead? Also, a fact I found shocking that 1 percent of homicides cases lead to injection. Isn't homicides one the worst types of crimes? Isn't it in every rule book, of every nation, not to kill? I acquired that some might have reasons to not give out the death penalty, but 1 percent. Isn't that a little bit low?

The death penalty has major problems like bias, cost, botch executions, and an unclear line between life and death. This topic affects everyone by the natural rules we live by. These ideals are ingrained in our minds as a way to live. Everyone’s moral codes is slightly different but there’s common similarities. In conclusion, does the death penalty fit in yours, future President?

Sincerely, Hannah L.  

Royal Oak High School

Royal Oak Ravens

High school juniors and seniors from Royal Oak, Michigan.

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