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Death: The High Price Of Life

2876 words - 12 pages

For some murderers, the only justice is death. For instance, take the case of "Bonzai Bob" Vickers. He is on death row for the murder of his jailhouse cellmate, Frank Ponciano. "Feeling wronged because Ponciano had taken his Kool-Aid...Vickers stabbed his victim to death then carved "Bonsai" into Ponciano's back. Vickers's only regret is that he didn't get to carve a swastika beside the misspelled Japanese war cry" (Leibowitz 142). Four years later, "After a fellow killer, Holsinger...made a suggestive remark about Vickers's niece, Vickers fashioned a firebomb out of hair gel. He burned Holsinger to death, and then tossed in a second firebomb for good measure. 'Did I do a good job?' Vickers asked investigators later" (Leibowitz 142). It's for Vickers and people like Timothy McVeigh that we need the death penalty. There are those who refuse to stop killing and those whose murders are so great, leveling Hitler-type status that the death penalty cannot be abolished. What about those who are not so aware of their crime's magnitude? People like the mentally disabled and juveniles. What about the victims, sometimes truly innocent, of either bad representation or politics? Do they deserve to be considered in the same boat as Vickers, McVeigh and Hitler? Even though the death penalty is still necessary, further federal laws are needed to safeguard those who are not the most vicious criminals deserving the death penalty, but rather victims of a system unable to fairly administer justice. If anyone is to be killed, society needs to be absolutely sure that they are first worthy of killing.Somewhere the line must be drawn. This year the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether or not the federal law should continue to allow the executions of persons under the age of 18 convicted of murder. The question arises about whether so called "children" should be allowed to stand trial for murder and executed as adults. "As of January 2004, 29 states prohibit capital punishment for juveniles. Legislation in 14 other states is being drafted to protect minors" (Bower 299). Some scientists believe that the issue remains on a teens "capacity to control their behavior and obey the law" (Bower 299). The argument resides in the fact that teenagers often times will act irrationally and impulsively "because their brains haven't attained an adult level of organization...teenagers are less culpable for their adult level crimes than their adult counterparts are. Capitol punishment of teens thus violates the constitutional amendment" (Bower 299). This idea comes in wake from new scientific evidence that an adolescent's brain functions in a different way than an adult's brain. David Fassler, a psychiatrist, from the University of Vermont asserts, "From a biological perspective, an anxious adolescent with a gun in a convenience store is more likely to perceive a threat and pull the trigger than is an anxious adult with a gun in the same store" (Bower 299). Therefore, in...

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