I am against the death penalty because it has not led to reduced crime rates, it is vulnerable to wrongful executions, and the costs are too high.
It has not led to reduced crime rates. Contrary to popular belief, the death penalty has not done as much for society as its advocates tout. From the outset, the death penalty seems like a rather fantastic idea, and the answer to our problem. Scaring some sense into the perpetrator by threatening to kill them in-turn for their misdeeds may seem cogent, but studies prove otherwise. We must re-evaluate the purpose of the death penalty to ascertain whether it is fulfilling that purpose effectively. For obvious reasons the death penalty is a plausible option for a large number of victimized families, as it satisfies both religious convictions and vendettas. The death penalty for countless families is a way to cause the hosting state to do what the state itself will not allow them to do personally. However, our thirst for revenge may be keeping us from finding a better alternative to the death penalty.
Perhaps the act of revenge is worth additional consideration at this point. To begin with, we must acknowledge, “considering revenge is a very human response to feeling slighted” (Prince), thus it is normal to react according to how we feel. Even so, our situation often requires us to control how frequently we let these emotions evoke a negative response. Throughout the course of life, we repeatedly act on impulse in which revenge is no different. In spite of that, it is imperative to learn to consider the consequences of such impulses before acting. The two points of view on revenge force us to decide whether we want to enforce it ourselves, or stop the cycle in order to prevent any further chaos. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took the latter point of view while standing against segregation by promoting demonstrations of peace. Leaders such as Malcolm X thought he should demand civil equality “by any means necessary” (Edwards), while clergymen of Alabama thought it best that he allow these matters to “properly be pursued in the courts” (A Call For Unity). Ergo, you will always have two contrasting opinions, but it is important to define which one is best for any given situation. Michael Prince of the American Psychological Association identifies revenge as something that can affect your well-being as a person. He states, “Instead of helping you move on with your life, it can leave you dwelling on the situation and remaining unhappy” (Prince). Dr. Judith Orloff of UCLA concurs by saying, “Studies have shown that revenge increases stress and impairs health and immunity” (Orloff, M.D.). Dr. Orloff provides counseling to patients in need of emotional freedom by helping them to forgive their offenders. This practice is by no means a suggestion that the feelings of the grieving family are unimportant, but simply to promote well-being, and personal growth from an unfortunate circumstance.
Similarly, we cannot...