Should the Death Penalty be an Option?

KRISTA ALBRITTON Staff Writer

Before I begin, I would like to let you guys know that this piece is going to be more serious than some of my others. I know that this is a touchy subject and that by writing this, I will be putting myself right in the crosshairs of people’s judgement.

It is incredibly intimidating for me to announce my genuine opinions on such a subject, but my column is all about honesty, and I am going to be completely honest with you. I just ask that you all respect my opinions and not come at me with pitchforks and torches. That would be much appreciated. Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

On Oct. 3, 2016 a young, 10-month-old child was the victim of sexual assault from her mother’s significant other. The child died in the hospital as a result of her injuries and a petition has risen up in a cry for justice. This petition calls for the death of the assaulter via public hanging. The petition has since been taken down, but it has brought the act of capital punishment back into the eyes of the American people.

Some are in agreement with the death penalty and others say that it’s inhumane, too expensive and that no person has the right to decide on whether or not someone should die. I am somewhere in between. I believe that there should be certain extenuating circumstances in order for someone to even be considered for the death penalty. If someone decides that they feel like getting an automatic weapon and go on to kill 30 people, I strongly feel that they should be considered.

The same goes for people who sexually assault children, children that don’t even know what is happening or why it’s wrong. However, if the offender claims to be suffering from a mental illness and that claim can be proven, capital punishment should be taken out of play.

I would like to remind people that I am neither a lawyer nor a doctor, and as a result, cannot give specifics; this is merely my opinion. The controversy isn’t just about the validity of capital punishment. It also involves the different forms of punishment. Over the years, there has been the electric chair, firing squad, lethal injection and hanging. Some of these are still used and yet to be outlawed, lethal injection and firing squad being more common. Some apply the term ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ to the majority of these methods.

The most humane method is generally seen to be lethal injection. I stand in opposition to that opinion. The electric chair is torture (not to mention on the more expensive side of the scale), hanging doesn’t always snap the neck (leaving the person to asphyxiate to death) and lethal injection is expensive and sometimes leaves the person suffering for extended periods of time before dying. I find death by firing squad to be the most humane, efficient and cost-friendly method. I’ve always said that, if for some reason I get sentenced to death, I would want the form of punishment to be firing squad.