On February 14, 2018, the nation was deeply shaken. A die the most devastating school shootings in the United States performed in Parkland, Florida. at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. About half of the victims were freshmen at the school.
As a freshman in high school at the time, it was terrifying and traumatic for me and my classmates. These children were like us. Students at my school then held a memorial service to honor the victims of the tragedy.
On October 13, 2022 – four years later – the man responsible for 17 deaths faced a jury that had decided his fate. Nikolas Cruz was tried for the death penalty, and the the judges have decided that he would instead serve life in prison.
The death penalty has long been a controversial subject. Currently in the United States, capital punishment is legal in 27 out of 50 states. Whether or not this should be allowed continues to be a matter of debate. Even though Cruz unforgivably killed 17 people, the US government shouldn’t do the same to him: the death penalty is inhumane and unethical.
Historically, the death penalty has been used for crimes where at least one the victim is killed. In total, there were 1,551 executions since the 1970s. All these criminals, convicted of murder, suffer the same fate as their victims.
Arguments in favor of the death penalty claim that it serves justice, but violates human rights. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that no cruel or unusual punishment shall be inflicted. Moreover, the 14th amendment guarantees due process and equal protection.
The death penalty violates both of these laws in that it allows a criminal to be killed against their own will, not to mention that some death row inmates are wrongfully sentenced. Almost 200 prisoners on death row have been exonerated because they were wrongly convicted. Mmore than half of these wrongfully convicted prisoners are black.
Minority groups to be discriminated against in the criminal justice system. Poor people are more likely to face the death penalty compared to rich murderers. People with disabilities also face high incarceration rates and police violence. These inequalities violate the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment because some groups disproportionately risk incarceration and the death penalty.
Nikolas Cruz was in jail since 2018 and pleaded guilty to the Parkland Massacre in October 2021. A year later, the jury finally met to decide whether capital punishment should be carried out.
However, Cruz’s trial for the death penalty was detrimental to the families of the victims. It is not easy to have to deal with the death of their children or family members four years after their death. Attending a long and tedious trial and being bombarded by reporters is certainly not pleasant for grieving families.
Some claim that seeing the abuser dead ends the end, but it’s a myth. The stress, pain and reliving of traumatic memories experienced by families during a death sentence trial does not end with the life of the murderer.
Seeing live executions broadcast can be disappointing to some, and it adds to the desensitization of the audience. When we see these killings, it becomes a normal occurrence. This can make people less empathetic towards each other and less opposed to inhuman treatment.
We need to look at other issues to resolve these issues, such as common sense gun control. Cruz was able to acquire a firearm which allowed him to engage in the act of shooting. Creating stronger regulations on who can acquire and possess firearms is crucial to stopping future school shootings and keeping children safe.
instead of spending around $700,000 on each death penalty case, the government can use this money to prevent future devastation. Allocate more funds to help the victims armed violence and awareness programs can mitigate the effects of armed violence.
Killing someone who has committed crimes does not prevent future crimes from occurring. Killing Cruz would not bring back the lives he took in 2018. The only thing that can prevent future mass shootings is government action against the guns that cause them.
Maggie is a sophomore in media.