D.C. Sniper Death Penalty Upsets Religous, Tax-Paying and Cautious Crowds

The purpose of life is always questioned; are we living to die or dying to live. Just thinking about death gets so many of us riled up. Looking at the Santa Monica College campus, one sees a diverse population.  What is thought of as right and wrong truly varies on your upbringing. 

Last Wednesday, John Muhammad, also known as the "DC Sniper," faced his death sentence via lethal injection. Muhammad and an accomplice killed ten people and wounded three over the course of three weeks in October 2002. His attacks were accompanied with threats, demands and taunting messages towards the police.

Muhammad wreaked all sorts of havoc thus deserving the death sentence. This brings up the debate surrounding the death penalty. 

While religion shouldn't play a part in this penalty, it commonly has been a major source of the conflict. For those who choose to reference religion, "an eye for an eye" is quoted in all three major texts from Islam, Christianity and Judaism.  Muslims in particular have been stereotyped into taking the statement quite literally.

The 9/11 attacks has spurred all sorts of racial discrimination for the Islamic community and Muhammad's conversion to the Muslim culture has not assisted with the on going debate. 

When you do something wrong you get punished, regardless of your religious and racial affiliation.  That is a simply philosophy.  The severity of the crime increases the severity of the punishment.  So if killing someone else is considered the gravest of crime and the death penalty is considered the gravest of punishments, shouldn't there be that connection of a person being sentenced with that punishment. 

In a May 2006 Gallup Poll, 65 percent of the nation was in favor of the death penalty.  The number of people in favor of the penalty has decreased over time but the number of executions occurring per year has remained fairly consistent. 

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, here in California there are 678 inmates on death row yet there have only been 13 actual executions since 1976.  However, Muhammad's state of Virginia has executed 104 people in comparison to the 18 people currently on death row. 

This creates a discrepancy that cannot be hidden.  California is not ridding themselves of the convicts who have been here for years.  DPIC estimates the average time an inmate spends on death row is roughly ten years.  Here in California taxpayers are spending an absurd amount of money to keep these murderers locked up. The "L.A. Times" reported that Californian's have spent approximately $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life. 

The death penalty supposedly alleviates the amount of money states spend when effectively processed. Rather than spending an excess amount of money keeping people in prison for life, California should actually go through with the executions of their inmates thus reducing the millions spent per year by the taxpayers.  

In a 2005 interview with the "L.A. Times," California Chief Justice Ronald M. George attributed the high number of convicts on death row to this state's nature of hearing death penalty petitions.  While this may be more humane than the other states', as of 1973 only three convicts were exonerated in the state of California.  It is quite amazing that the state has gone through such great extents to save these people, however, on average, five exonerations occur per year. 

The percentages of people who are exonerated do not add up with the amount of money the state is shelling out.  Virginia executed Muhammad only seven years after his sentencing.  If California efficiently rid away those that have not appealed their death sentence, the state could eliminate the number of convicts on death row. There really isn't a reason for taxpayers to spend the money they do not have on these criminals. 

In the ideal world, politics would be honest, religion would not conflict with politics, oh and men wouldn't kill other men.  This is not the case today; politics is a corrupt enterprise, religion dominates the majority of the nation's views and men kill each other. Muhammad is a prime example of why the death penalty works; he hurt many and in turn is hurt.