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