What is the Death Penalty and Why Does it Matter?

Why is it that we learn in school about history and how society has changed through time when so many things seem to stay the same? Take for instance the idea dating back to ancient times in history that it is a good idea to put people to death for certain crimes. While I could see this a as being a reasonable move to people of ancient times, I don’t see it now.

The Past and the Reality of It

Execution has been a blanket way to solve many political and legal problems for a very long time now. Much of the time, the executions were made public so that society could clearly see the consequences of misbehavior.

It seemed like a good approach at the time, but that was when we were more ignorant, right? I mean, we truly didn’t know very much about alternatives and did not have the technology or innovation to use different methods of penalty. Besides, were we not looking for the punishment to fit the crime?

Not So Much Controversy

Since we, in fact, were looking for the punishment to fit the crime, capital punishment came about with the greatest of ease. Of course so and so should die because they did x. The problem still remained: how should the punishment fit the crime.

There was actually little to no controversy over the fact that people should die for committing murder. It was rarely given a second thought. That is what made it so easy for the death penalty to be accepted in the first place.

An Eye for an Eye

It is important to note that there is a clear glitch in the logic that the biblical teaching of an eye for an eye is actually sound. Most clearly, that idea is based on a story and not on real circumstances as we know them. It is important to stay in the moment.

I understand that if you have been harmed, you want the person who harmed you to have to pay for it. That only makes some sense. At the same time, is it right to murder someone because they committed murder? The obvious answer is “yes,” given the eye for an eye paradigm.

A Different View

I like to think that we, as a society, are progressive thinkers. Every decision we make and action that we take is noticed and imitated by our successive generations. Should we not start thinking ahead to a different view of capital punishment?

The way we are doing it is we are still saying that it is perfectly fine to kill people for certain deeds. Though it is being stated in the context of crime and punishment, the general meaning is still constant. It is time to change that view and look to alternatives, to not do the very same crime to solve a crime.


As it stands, the death penalty is supported by more than 70% of the United States population. It is not expected that there will be change any time soon.