Time for the death penalty to go

Martin Jaakola

The death penalty may be on its way out as a legitimate form of punishment, although a substantial portion of Americans still support it. Over the past few years, some states have been forced to resort to utilizing mixes of experimental drugs as major American and European suppliers of the most effective lethal concoctions began to stop supplying them. In part, due to shifting public opinion and the nefarious association that comes with profiting off death, the tides are changing.
 
According to Vox, the U.S. has executed 1,407 Americans since 1976. Texas leads the nation, having performed 524 executions in the same time period. This is despite a major slowdown in use of capital punishment.
 
Public opinion seems to be shifting, as a Gallup Poll in 2013 showed that 60 percent of Americans favored the death penalty for convicted murderers — a 40-year low. In 2015, that number is even lower at about 56 percent, according to a Pew Research poll.
 
This may be due in part to the disturbing trend of botched executions, such as the case with Clayton Lockett, in which it took 43 minutes for him to die from lethal injection. This has led many to question the popularity of the method as the main form of capital punishment, as it is the most risky, often failing to achieve its supposedly painless outcome. 
 
Whether or not you agree that killers deserve to be killed, numbers like these are despicable and should be met with disagreement. It should also be clear at this point that using capital punishment does not help solve any underlying causes of why such crimes are committed. 
 
Rather, it continues to be an embarrassing, drawn-out and expensive method of making us feel like we are getting rid of problematic citizens, while in reality we continue to regularly permit borderline human rights violations without focusing on underlying causes of violent behavior. It’s time we abolished this nasty practice for good.