Capital Punishment

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"You shall not kill," Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17. Aside from murders and things that are considered "illegal" in the United States, most people don't realize that this commandment is being broken legally in many cases. This commandment is being broken legally through capital punishment, or the death penalty. Capital punishment is an unnecessary part of our justice system which is against the catholic beliefs, takes the lives away from many people, and ruins the role of God in a numerous amount of people's lives.

We have seen through the movie, The Green Mile, close to actual accounts where the death penalty has been put to use. A main character in the story, John Cofe said, "I'm tired of people being ugly to each other." The death penalty is a great example of hate and ugliness in the lives of many in the past and still today.

Catholics believe that capital punishment harms not only the person being killed, but also those in the society and that the antidote to violence is love, not more violence.

Another belief of the catholic faith is cited on 2267 in the Catechism. This states that the only exception for capital punishment to be carried out is if the subject has or soon will harm society. This is a rare occasion. A main concern in our lives today is the threats made in schools across the nation. These threats are usually made against a beings life. Something that I have a hard time understanding is the difference between these threats and capitol punishment. It is made out to be that these threats are terrible, and so they are. However, how can some people think that killing a person one way is acceptable and then in another situation horrible? Killing in all forms is morally wrong. People need to open up their eyes to see that there are no bigger extents in murders. They are all on the same page and not one is better than the other.

The death penalty takes the lives away from many people. In the movie alone, we viewed that three people were put to death over a very short period of time, one of which was an innocent victim of this punishment. I have found in the Guide to Life Issues, prepared by the Office of Parish Ministries, that statistics show that there has been five hundred executions since 1976. Now, over 3,000 prisoners are on death row and are waiting for their day to come, more than 60% of these inmates in California and Texas are of a minority group, and within the last twenty years, 350 people were found innocent on death row, 25 of which were executed before they had the chance to be deemed innocent. Not only the lives of the person alone are being taken away, but their lives are being taken away from the people who love them.

Capitol punishment ruins the role of God in many people's lives. God is the almighty creator. He is the one who gave each and every one of us life and He should be the only one who can take that away. God created us to bring life to this world, not kill it. In the Green Mile, Paul realizes this through John Cofe. John was nothing short of a miracle of God. God showed His love through him. We all possess qualities of God and we learn from early childhood that God lives within each of us. If we put to death human beings, in reality, we are putting God to death. Through the death penalty, we are shutting God out of people's lives.

In closing, I feel that people should think of the fifth commandment more often when they are in decision about the death penalty. There are many situations in which breaking the fifth commandment is illegal. Correspondingly there is one main thing that is considered "killing" which is legal. This main circumstance is capitol punishment. Capitol punishment is the legal termination of a human life because a subject has committed a serious crime. Yes, I am a firm believer that committing serious crimes is wrong, but what I feel is even more wrong is denying life to a human being.