Don’t Execute James Holmes

“Like [this photograph] if you think they should to give him [James Holmes] the death penalty”. When I saw this today, I was rendered speechless. I couldn’t believe the absolute barbarity of such a request. The author wanted people to like a photograph of James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado killer, in order to demonstrate their support for his execution. Disgust. Absolute disgust. Have we truly fallen so far that ‘liking’ someone’s execution is now socially acceptable? If so, then this nation is beyond the point of no return.

I’ve made objective arguments against capital punishment before. Death penalty cases cost more than life in prison. The death penalty doesn’t deter crime. States with the death penalty have higher murder rates than states without the death penalty. However, I believe that the greatest argument against the death penalty is simple: it’s immoral and unjust.

Capital punishment isn’t cost-effective, it isn’t a deterrent, and it doesn’t save lives. Revenge. In the modern era, it’s all about revenge. I ask anyone who supports the death penalty to prove me wrong, but in the end, I believe my conviction will hold true. What supporters believe to be “just” does nothing but harm. Justice is not following through with one’s desire for vengeance; it’s giving to each what they deserve. Execution is never deserved, under any circumstance. Thus, in the end, the death penalty relies on one thing and one thing alone: revenge.

Now, let’s move to the issue at hand. What James Holmes did is disgusting; it’s horrific; it’s barbaric. But I want to remind you of one thing: the man is sick. Extremely sick. This is a man who dyed his hair orange, claimed he was the Joker, booby-trapped his apartment, and mailed the plans for his attack to a psychiatrist. This is a man who’s mentally deranged, a man who couldn’t possibly have known the full extent of what he was doing. This man, though he did horrible things, does not deserve the death penalty. He deserves serious medical attention and possibly life in prison.

So, I ask you to think clearly. The murders in Aurora were tragic, but they were carried out by a man who was quite literally out of his mind. No one deserves the death penalty, especially mentally ill criminals like Mr. Holmes. I’m not preaching compassion; I’m not asking you to feel bad for him. I’m preaching common sense and a sense of morality. Do what is right. As a great writer once said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. Never has such a saying been more accurate.