Northwest Missourian Opinion

I am pro-life. When I tell people I believe all have the right to life, they assume my belief  ends once the child is born. This is not the case. I believe everyone has a right to life, including our criminals.

The death penalty is financially irresponsible, immoral and un-American.

From a conservative standpoint, I believe our country should be fiscally smart and not spend money unnecessarily. The cost of executing a murderer, the only crime that carries the death sentence in Missouri, vastly outweighs the cost of a life sentence.

The average cost of a trial where the death penalty is sought costs roughly $543,324 more than a trial where the death penalty is not asked for, according to Torin McFarland, a professor at Susquehanna University. Multiply this by 25, the amount of people on death row in Missouri as of 2018, according to deathpenalty.org and we are staring at a bill of $13,583,100.

We cannot afford to pay this. Rather than force society to go into debt, we should be flipping these death sentences to life in prison without parole. During the rest of their days, these criminals can give back to the community they’ve wronged by providing hard labor such as filling potholes, digging ditches and digging graves. They would be paid below minimum wage as their housing and food are already provided by the state where they reside.

Thankfully, the death penalty is slowing dying out. Though 38 states have the death penalty, only five have used it frequently. Those five are Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida and Missouri. Texas is leading the charge with having put 15 people to death between 2018 and 2019.

The other issue with the death penalty is it’s immoral.

Again, the only crime in Missouri which carries the death penalty is murder. It is the ultimate act of someone playing God. They had no right to end a life and neither does any judge, jury or governor.

The saying goes “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” To mix a deadly cocktail and inject it into the veins of a human is cruel. No human deserves to have their life shortened, no matter their crime.

It’s also goes against our founding as a country.

The Declaration of Independence states everyone has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are our inalienable rights, God-given and legally secured. While murder denies a victim their right to life, it’s wrong for us to allow the state to take a life in retaliation.

While some argue that killing these prisoners would be saving lives, they are wrong. Life has already been taken. Blood reaps blood. It is up to us to end the cycle and let capital punishment be something we see as archaic, barbaric and medieval.

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