Letter: Hannah Dillmuth, Ashburn

Editor: Gunshots echo off concrete hallways and shrill screams are heard only a classroom away as you cower in fear for your life under a desk. The gunshots grow louder and the next thing you know your classmate’s blood is running across smudged tiles. Unfortunately for 17 parents and their families, that is their child that will never be home again.

Nikolas Cruz is currently being prosecuted and the argument of whether capital punishment should be his verdict is under discussion. As a criminal justice major studying law enforcement concepts and seeing how our justice system handles these current events in real time, I believe that Nikolas Cruz is eligible for the death penalty and that it should be applied to his case for the following reasons that I have drawn from my education in these difficult topics.

Many people who practice a religion often turn to the “Golden Rule” or the Bible verse found in Matthew that states, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth’” as validation for capital punishment. With the reasoning that criminals should have equal treatment as that of their victims, many jurors have no problem voting in favor of this punishment. I also side with this because I personally believe that Cruz does not deserve to receive a light sentence for his heinous crimes and the countless lives that he has affected. Some would argue that he should live out his remaining days rotting in a jail cell because that is more suited to what he deserves. Without the jailed punishment and “relief” of not having to experience the mental fatigue from monotone days in prison, many would argue that capital punishment is “too good” for Nikolas Cruz.

Capital punishment is believed by many to be highest form of crime deterrence in the United States, however more recent studies have proven that crime rates are lower in areas without this form of punishment.  If the repercussion for killing others was to simply live out your days in a jail cell or be out on probation or parole in a year, would you kill people? What about if lethal injection or electrocution were awaiting you after your crime? It is obvious that there needs to be high stakes for high crimes with great enforcement, or who is to say that killing for no reason is wrong? In one of my criminology courses, I have learned about the concept of deontology, which is the duty that we have as a society and as law enforcement to consequentially punish these criminals for their actions for the safety of others. Some also offer the opposing argument that capital punishment falls under the “cruel and unusual punishment” clause of the Constitution due to errors in administration of lethal injections or electric chair malfunctions. I personally believe that any pain the criminals feel during this procedure is validated by their actions that landed that landed them in this incarceration in the first place.

Hannah Dillmuth, Ashburn


One thought on “Letter: Hannah Dillmuth, Ashburn

  • 2018-04-20 at 8:16 pm

    Respectfully, I do not understand the point you are trying to make. You mention studies that suggest the death penalty does not deter crime, as crime rates are lower in areas that do not have the death penalty, yet you continue to question without the death penalty, how can crime be deterred?

    It is true the death penalty does not deter crime, more specifically, murder. The fact of the matter is either the person didn’t think he or she would be caught, or the act was not premeditated and the person never even thought about it. You also have people who want to die and commit horrific acts in hopes that will be the end result.
    There is nothing wrong subscribing to the eye for an eye form of punishment, just so as long as you are aware, not all eyes are equal. Its simple to say an eye for an eye, its justification is rooted in religious text, however, when one commits to this theory, it allows them to not examine the event or more importantly, what leads up to an event, in its entirety. When one choices to forgo close examination, how can they be fully informed as citizens to try to make society a better place? If the death penalty isn’t deterring these horrific acts from happening, why continue to subscribe to the eye for an eye mind think? Its obviously not helping. When a person makes the decision to look past an eye for an eye they quickly learn it’s not exactly as just or right as one likes to think.

    The fact of the matter is only a handful of people will decide what is just and right when it comes to the Cruz case. Also, you say that “most” jurors have no problem ruling in favor of the death penalty, well, when it comes to cases when the death penalty is a possible outcome, ALL jurors must testify they do not have any objections to the practice itself, having “no problem” is very much incorrect to assume, in fact, those types of potential jurors are sent away because it shouldn’t be easy for a person to decide to sentence another person to death, its not normal behavior and goes against another popular religious saying, Thou shall not kill…

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