Thursday 27 January 2011

Death Penalty Makes It Difficult to Assess Value of Human Life

Who’s to say that your life is more valuable than mine? Or that my life is more than yours?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines the way that humans deserve to be treated, now we have to seriously ask ourselves if the death penalty infringes these rights in our societies. | riacale/
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines the way that humans deserve to be treated, now we have to seriously ask ourselves if the death penalty infringes these rights in our societies. 
Whether you have 500 friends on Facebook or 100 “friends” in reality, it is all the same nonsense. And I will never understand those who choose to jump out of planes for the “thrill of it” or get black-out drunk every night. From my seemingly biased perspective, it’s as if they’re trying to die.
I guess I prioritize differently. After all, I’m not the typical college student. I’m more of a paranoid, Asian grandma. And two decades of life isn’t nearly enough time for me to willingly lie down in my grave.
So I prefer curling up in bed with the Food Network on and the door locked—twice, reassured by a dead bolt.
Some say I’m not “living,” but I believe I’m trying to live. I’m trying to stay alive. And to live is such a complicated concept. All around the world, people higher up than you and I are assessing the value of others; deciding whether one man or woman’s life is worth keeping around.
It’s tough to fathom the concept of a hierarchy that can end your life with just the snap of a finger.
In 2010, 46 people were sentenced to the Death Penalty in the U.S. And in the mere 27 days of year 2011, 3 people have already been executed. There are 35 states, including Florida, that employ the death penalty. And it’s not just in the United States, where we choose to live. We are ranked the fifth highest country after China, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
However, what many people don’t know is that we as humans have rights. Not just the typical freedom of speech or the right to have an attorney present when you’re in trouble. No, the UN has established 30 beautiful rights called The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
And stated after the Preamble in Article number three is, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” Obviously, the death penalty is in direct violation of such international rights.
And that’s where assessing the value of life gets tricky. To justify someone’s death is overwhelmingly complicated.
Can you really explain why someone is no longer allowed to breathe? Who exactly is given the power to decide? And are there non-biased standards for claiming these lives?
Right now there are 3,268 people on Death Row according to the Death Penalty Info Center. 400 of which reside in Florida, including 61 women. Florida has the second highest number of prisoners on Death Row with 400 people, followed by Texas with 335 and California having the highest number of 695. With such high numbers, do these people really have a reason to live?
And do they have anything to lose? Huge assumptions can be made about their (possible) actions, but it’s in the tossing of a coin that determines their fate. Because someone commits crimes against humanity, does it mean they are no longer human? That they no longer deserve the right to life? To turn the value of a person’s life into zero is increasingly controversial. It’s as if the right to life is immediately taken away with acts of sin, and that’s not written in the books.
With the various complications this penalty presents, there is constant debate in regards to enacting or abolishing it around the world. It’s similar to the pro-life and pro-choice debacle that we vote on every election. Prohibiting life before birth is just as controversial as determining the exact timing of someone’s death.
Overall, death may seem like an easy out—sometimes the best possible sanction for criminals of the extreme. An eye for an eye always seems like the most reasonably fair solution, but there is no going back if someone is proven innocent after they have already been terminated.
And to make the situation worse, modern day fools are making it closer to their own easily avoidable deaths with destructive behavior.
But I believe that taking life for granted is one’s biggest mistake. After all, it is your most valuable possession…or is it a privilege?

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