Take away death penalty in Colorado, keep the punishment

April 15, 2013

Alexander Nedd
anedd@uccs.edu

On July 20, 2012, 12 people lost their lives when James Holmes entered a movie theater outside Aurora, Colo. The DA is seeking the death penalty, and why not?

He massacred a dozen people and injured dozens more. But if there is something I want from Holmes, it’s for him to remain alive for a very long time.

I’m against capital punishment. We should not judge the life of another individual when we are all “men created equal.”

The wellbeing of the general public is a top concern. But the death penalty is a cowardly form of punishment. There is an escape through death, even though it’s indefinite. We should not set criminals free.

The death penalty satisfies our anger, rids our nation of one less lunatic and is seen as the ultimate revenge – but is it productive?

I would rather know a convicted felon is locked up with 822 consecutive life terms without the ability of parole than to simply have him gone.

With capital punishment, we group ourselves with countries such as China, Cuba, Iran and North Korea. If we want to remain a dominant force in world politics, why we are still committed to barbaric actions that might mistakenly put someone to death?

Putting someone to death by any means is cruel and unusual, and as a punishment, this directly violates our Eighth Amendment.

And God forbid if our justice system gets it wrong. While we like to think it’s always right, some organizations have provided reason to take a closer look at those who have already been executed.

The Death Penalty Information Center, a national nonprofit organization, has a running list of prisoners executed since 1976 whose cases arguably contain evidence of innocence.

The most recent addition, Troy Davis, was executed in 2011 despite testimony doubting his guilt and high-profile pleas for clemency from former President Jimmy Carter, former FBI Director William Sessions, Pope Benedict XVI and others.

An example closer to home happened in 2011, when former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter granted a posthumous pardon to Joe Arridy, who had been convicted and executed as an accomplice to a murder in 1936.

“Pardoning Mr. Arridy cannot undo this tragic event in Colorado history,” said Ritter. “It is in the interests of justice and simple decency, however, to restore his good name.”

Sentencing an innocent man to death is irreversible. Most of us would not kill a person if we had to do it ourselves, so we should not condone such a punishment.

There are also many fees associated with execution as well, including lawyers, DNA tests and more time on trial. It’s almost 10 times costlier to execute a person then to keep him imprisoned. That costs falls on you.

Holmes’ actions are unforgivable. But he should live – knowing that he has no chance of ever seeing daylight and forced to look at the same wall for the rest of his life. And then I want him to die of natural causes.

Capital punishment is outdated. As it has been said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Let God have mercy on their soul, and let us not intervene.