The following speech was delivered by Emily L, Mackenzie ‘16 who was the Grade 10 winner of the Annual Fabrications Speech Contest. Emily delivered this address to the school at our weekly Assembly.
If you commit a crime as terrible as killing someone, you deserve to die. Right?
Some people believe the capital punishment is just, but I disagree.
First, let’s define it. Capital punishment, otherwise known as the death penalty, is defined as the “legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime.” The actual process of killing a person through capital punishment is called the execution. While we’re defining things, why not take a closer look at the verb executing.
One. To carry out; accomplish. Two. To perform or do.
But we all know this isn’t what is being referred to.
Three. To inflict capital punishment on; put to death according to law. Four. To murder; assassinate.
To murder. To assassinate. Keep that definition in mind over the next few minutes.
Crimes that can result in the death penalty include capital offenses. These crimes vary depending on location, but tend to do with murder. The term capital came from the Latin word capitalis meaning “regarding to the head”, which refers to execution by beheading.
Beheading. Not only does the word sound inhumane, it also shows an accurate representation of just how non-progressive capital punishment is. Decapitation was used back in medieval times, and having come so far since then, it seems awfully silly to continue their patterns now doesn’t it? After all, back then people still threw their waste out into the streets.
Beheading was also used as a form of propaganda for the people, which is exactly what capital punishment, is. The death penalty is a scare tactic, a threat, and is used to create the same, just more subtle effect, that cutting people’s heads off in the middle of the street had long ago.
Despite the fact that many nations have abolished it, over 60% of the world’s population lives in countries where executions take place. This is because four of the most populous countries in the world take part in this, such as the People’s Republic of China, India, the United States of America, and Indonesia.
In 2007, 2008 and 2010, when the UN adopted resolutions calling for a temporary prohibition on executions globally, these four countries voted against the resolutions.
While the primary method in the US is lethal injection, less common forms such as electrocution, gas chamber, hanging, and a firing squad are still present in some states.
For those of you that know me, you’ll know I’m a bit of a freak show about needles. Who can blame me though? Nobody likes having a bit of a disease injected into their arm. I can’t stand a flu shot, but could you imagine sitting there waiting for a needle that would kill you? Especially if you were innocent.
What if you were innocent? People can be brought out of jail. They can’t be brought back from the dead. Say the jury makes a mistake. Does it look like you did it? Of course it does! The real killer made it look that way. He doesn’t want to be killed, and he’s happy for you to take the bullet for him.
And then do you think they are going to admit to having made a mistake after sentencing a person to death upon new evidence? Killing an innocent person isn’t something one admits to easily, and then the real killer gets off.
Since 1973, over 140 people have been freed from death row. That’s just 40 years. That’s 3.5 innocent lives almost gone each year. And since 1976 over 1,000 people who have been executed may have been innocent. Courts don’t entertain claims of innocence when the defendant is dead.
Now do you remember the principal crime that results in the death penalty? Murder. And do you remember that fourth definition of executing? To assassinate. To murder.
To murder. But isn’t that what we were trying to get away from?
Because if you murder a person for murdering a person… shouldn’t you be murdered for murdering a person for murdering a person? Then whoever killed you should be murdered for murdering you for murdering a person for murdering a person. Then they should be murdered for murdering a person for murdering you for murdering a person for murdering a person. Where does it become right?
More importantly, where does it become wrong?