The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Death penalty is expression of nation’s skewed moral compass

On Monday February 14th, Jessica Huseman published an article in The Daily Campus on the growing shortage of sodium thiopental, the drug used for lethal injections. With the lessening availability of the drug, the number of executions will decrease in the state of Texas where there is the highest number of executions in the nation.

What does the shortage spell for the death penalty and what does it say about America when the world starkly opposes the inhumane practice? Italy has refused to ship the drug to Texas on the grounds that the death penalty is morally wrong.

When the United States, who has not nationally outlawed the death penalty, sits in the company of countries that do not have a stellar human rights record such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, to name a few, there is something drastically wrong with the system.

America is too arrogant to listen to the cry for a new moral compass from the likes of our fellow western countries. I applaud those nations like Italy and Denmark that refuse to export lethal injection chemicals to the U.S.. When the U.S. fails to recognize its moral failings, someone else has to do something to change them or make them known.

Some would assert that the death penalty is justice, but without any true, objective measure of what justice is, then it is impossible to know if the death penalty is truly just. Other than the proverbial “eye for an eye” argument, which comes from the Code of Hammurabi (written in 1700 B.C.), it is rare that I hear an argument in support of the death penalty.

In fact, the “eye for an eye” argument fails to play out properly. If the death penalty is supposed to create an equal punishment for the crime committed then there should be no imprisonment prior to the execution of an individual. By placing someone on death row, the state has confined a human being to a lengthy imprisonment followed by their execution.

Of course I am not asserting that a less lengthy appeals process would be wise prior to the execution of an individual. On the contrary, even with the length of the appeals process now there are still people that are wrongly accused and executed for a crime they did not commit. The moment we realized that the system of dealing out death was fallible is the moment we should have outlawed the death penalty in this nation.

Now people will waste more of their life away in a cell awaiting executions since there is a shortage of sodium thiopental. The ratio of “eye for an eye” will only be further skewed since America’s death suppliers decided that helping us carry out state-sanctioned murder was unconscionable.

I will conclude with these words from Albert Camus, the French philosopher, “capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated can be compared.” Realize your own hypocrisy America, you’re no better than the people you put to death.

Michael Dearman is a first year majoring in the pursuit of truth and the overthrow of systems. He can be reached for comments or questions at [email protected].

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