Death should not be a punishment

May 22, 2012 — by Ashwini Velchamy

 Repeatedly questioned for its morality and practicality, the death penalty is a controversy that has been debated for years. Is killing a man for his wrongdoings considered justice? Or is it just revenge?

With the “Every 15 Minutes” program that SHS took part in this year, students were forced to consider the possibility of death. The program essentially urged them to imagine what would happen if a friend, a classmate or a family member was suddenly robbed of life.
  Luckily, for them, this ordeal was set for only two days, after which they welcomed back the “dead” and carried on with their lives. For the family, friends, and loved ones of the seven people shot at Oakland’s Oikos University in early April, the nightmare had only just begun.
One Goh, who had left the university two months prior, returned with a .45 caliber handgun and proceeded to brutally murder six students and one secretary. After disposing of his weapon, he casually walked into a Safeway, where he was overheard confessing on the  telephone. Goh was promptly detained and now faces seven charges of murder along with multiple others that make him eligible for the death penalty, although the district attorney’s office has yet to make that decision.
 Repeatedly questioned for its morality and practicality, the death penalty is a controversy that has been debated for years. Is killing a man for his wrongdoings considered justice? Or is it just revenge?
Although the anguish of the victims’ families should in no way be belittled, killing the perpetrator can neither ease the pain nor bring back the deceased. It simply causes more death.
The fact that Goh committed a despicable crime is indisputable. He went into the college with the intention of killing a particular person and ended up murdering seven others instead. He felt he was justified. The grossness of this crime cannot be denied; however, adding another inmate to the death row is the wrong path. People like Goh need help. They need understanding, and more than anything they need to be stopped before they can commit this heinous act. 
Prevention is always better than a cure—if the death penalty can even be called that. Not only is it morally dubious to justify the government, an organization by the people, officially “playing God” by killing a person, it is also a very impractical option. The monetary costs of the death penalty are actually greater than the costs of life incarceration, the more moral option.
As Richard C. Dieter, the Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center said in 2010, “The death penalty is the most expensive part of the system on a per-offender basis. Millions are spent to achieve a single death sentence that, even if imposed, is unlikely to be carried out.”
Many of these people who snap and end up committing crimes such as mass shootings are often suffering from some form of a mental illness. It is wiser and far more ethical to attempt to cure these people instead of killing them. 
Besides, death is a far more lenient option. Death does not allow for remorse, nor does it involve repentance or regret for one’s actions. Death is final. With life incarceration, not only do these people have a chance of rethinking their lives, they are forced to live with the fact that because of them, lives were extinguished. And because of them, other lives were wrecked forever. 
Yes, these people are murderers, but death penalty is murder, too.
One Goh deserves the public’s hatred. He destroyed the lives of seven people and, in doing so, destroyed the lives of so many others. However, he does not deserve death. No one does.