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State Sanctioned Murder

Updated on August 10, 2017
Prisoner being buried by other prisoners.
Prisoner being buried by other prisoners. | Source

 Is killing another human being justified? The answer is yes. If society can not be protected from the offender in any other possible, less drastic way. As in the case of the Fort Hood killer, due to his outside contacts, his probability of commiting another terroristic act, and the depravity of his crime make him a continuing danger to society, he can not be left to further harm society. If this is the only way that this goal can be secured is by the taking of his life, his life must be taken and is justified.

I do not not know which of the two, the death penalty or life imprisonment, is the harsher punishment. What I do believe is that except in exceptional cases such as the above, the decision of when one should die should be left to God.

Society teaches the following values:

1. Sanctions and revenge-evil for evil

2. The death penalty weakens, hardens and the God given natural horror of bloodshed:

    Mans natural  reaction to killing another human being is revulsion, but if we are exposed to  it over and over we become complacent.

3. It facilitates and insures the escape of the guilty from punishment by human law:

    Juries dread to convict when they know the penalty is death. Human judgement is infallible. Human testimony can be misleading or witnesses can lie. Through the character of the death penalty, hundreds of innocents suffer an excrutiating death at the hands of the state.

4. It generates sympathy for the convicted:

    We should be merciful to the sinful and guilty. The fact that executions take place in private shows that the state realizes that executions are in no way a deterrant and are shameful in and of themselves.

5. It is more than the truth that executions are "state sanctioned murders" :

    They make us as equally guilty as the one whose life we have chosen to take. The commandment "Thou shall not kill" references no difference between the killer and the state.

The wrongly convicted and the exonerated

Though I do realize there are those who deserve the death penalty I also realize there are those who have been wrongly convicted. In the past several years there have been many who have been exonerated and proven innocent, many after serving years in prison.

How do you give them back the years that was unjustly taken from them? Money can not replace the losses they have suffered. Many of their wives or husbands have divorced them and moved on. Their children have grown up while they were away. They have missed births, weddings, and graduations. many have lost family members who passed on while they were unjustly incarcerated. Compensation can not replace any of this.

Jim Byrd cemetery where prisoners are buried in Texas. if they are executed an "x" appears on the cross above their number. Their name is not included on the cross. Even in death  they still remain prisoners
Jim Byrd cemetery where prisoners are buried in Texas. if they are executed an "x" appears on the cross above their number. Their name is not included on the cross. Even in death they still remain prisoners | Source
Lethal injection chamber.
Lethal injection chamber. | Source

The wrongly executed

Another group paid the ultimate price without deserving it. The ones who were wrongly executed. What do we say to their families? "I'm sorry". It's too little, too late. We can not bring them back. Their deaths are permanent as is their families pain.

Before you put someone to death it needs to be crystal clear with out any doubt that they are guilty and deserving of this harshest punishment. as I said, you can not bring them back or repay the life that was taken.

Two examples from Texas where I live and where we are called "Texas the execution chamber".

Carlos De Luna was executed with the state knowing he was innocent. The priest who presided over the executions to help keep the prisoner calm resigned after this happened, for this reason.

Camron Todd Willingham, a case notorious in Texas was also executed with the state and governor knowing he was innocent. He was accused of setting fire to his home and burning his children to death. The proof of his innocence was given to the governor who refused a stay.

After carmons execution when questioned the governor replied: "he was a bad man, he beat his wife, he drank too much, we got rid of a bad man".

If we execute people for drinking too much and being a bad man, there would be many others to suffer this same fate.

So in conclusion, maybe we should think of life or life without parole. It would at least spare other who are truly innocent from this fate.


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    • PR Morgan profile image

      PR Morgan 6 years ago from Sarasota Florida

      Did you know that every in 2009 there were 17 people acquitted and taken off death row in the US? I think that is reason enough to give someone life in prison instead. Besides the fact it cost some states up to $100 million more to use capital punishment rather than pay for life in prison...seems like a no brainer to me.

    • christalluna1124 profile image

      christalluna1124 7 years ago from Dallas Texas


      Thank you for your comment. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back. Yes there are many answers as to why life in prison is a better alternative than the death penalty. I will soon have an article out on those issues. as to the biblical reference My bible still says "thou shall not kill" I understand that to mean anyone...including the State.

      warmest regards,


    • profile image

      Harlan Colt 7 years ago

      Thou shalt not kill. "Thou" in the King's english refer's to an individual person, it is singular. In this case it personally addresses the reader of the commandment. Also in the King's english is the word, "ye". Being from Texas, you will fully understand what I mean when I say that the word "Ye" is translated into, "all y'all", ie., meaning more than one person, or a plural audience. The Bible does not say "ye shalt not kill," it says "thou shalt not kill." Thus an organized society of law that moves as a people to execute the law and put someone to death cannot fall under this commandment in its context. Further, reading the same Bible, you will find that it also says there are certain types of "lawbreakers" who should be put to death and removed from society. In biblical times, they stoned them to death as an angry mob. There are stronger arguments for life in prison, but God's commandments are not among them. However, his work in their life during incarceration - might be!

      Likewise, one could easily argue that when one breaks the law to the degree that the crime falls within the death penalty, they are essentially committing suicide. No one person is murdering them, they are simply committing suicide, because 1. ignorance of the law is no excuse, and 2. they probably were not ignorant of the law to begin with, and 3. capital punishement is not just about deterent, its about social justice. The social conscience of the people demand justice too. Without it they become frustrated and an angry mob that someday just might crack. That's when vilolent riots happen and even more people die needlessly. While I do support the death penalty for certain crimes, I am not taking sides here, rather trying to help you make your argument stronger. We may disagree on the point, but that is no reason I can't offer suggestions to make your position stronger. You might change my mind! Drop the biblical argument, it doesn't fly because God later in the Bible tells his people to kill people convicted of certain crimes. And the verse refers to the individual person not the society as a legal acting entity of law.

      Instead, back up your position with reasons why life in prison is a greater advantage to society than putting one to death. I am sure some very strong points, and testimonies can be made along those lines.

      Best wishes,

      - Harlan

    • christalluna1124 profile image

      christalluna1124 7 years ago from Dallas Texas


      I will not debate the death penalty with you since we are apparently on different sides and will probally never agree. But for your correction, the bible does say "Thou Shall NOT KILL". As for the remark regarding the comment of the Willingham case where you state that you don't put much credibility in credentials, that is usually said by someone who has none. I studied Arson Investigation and crime scene investigation in criminal justice with a major in forensics. I don't think they teach that in real estate , do they??? Therefore I do not consider those who are able to understand the aspects of fire investigation regurgitating the Forensics Panels report. They are only stating what is already well known, Govenor Rick Perry having the evidence of innocence in his hands, refused Todd a 30 day stay and allowed an innocent man to be executed.



    • profile image

      Dudley Sharp 7 years ago

      You are in error and have reversed all moral issues.

      Some correction:

      Legal sanctions for crime are based upon a just and appropriate sanction.

      The death penalty is also based upon a just and appropriate sanction.

      Very few get comnplacent about killing.

      Most reserve their sympathy for the victim, that is why about 80% support the death penalty for capital, death penalty eligible crimes.

      "Death Penalty Polls: Support Remains Very High - 80%"

      As a rule, we are extraordinarily merciful to murderers and give little more than lip service to victims and victim survivors.

      Obviously, there are substantial moreal differences between crime and sanction.

      "Killing equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents"

      "The Death Penalty: Neither Hatred nor Revenge"

      "Thou shalt not kill" is not the correct translation. It is closer to "thou shalt not murder or unjustly kill".

      We know that, because we have thousands of years of biblical, theological, traditonal and rational writings on the topic.

      An introduction:

      "Death Penalty Support: Christian Scholars"

    • profile image

      remodeling manic 8 years ago from Texas

      god says dont murder nobody.