Scott Peterson has been sentenced to death by the 6 woman, 6 man jury just hours ago.
While I am convinced that Scott Peterson did kill Laci and her unborn child as he lied frequently on multiple occasions and didn’t respond like an innocent man, we as a society must remember that we never did find any conclusive proof. Furthermore, on average 1 in 10 people who have been put to death in this country have later been proven to be innocent.
How is it that we as a society which calls itself “civilized” can support an “eye-for-an-eye” punishment? How can we find it acceptable to kill someone on a belief without any conclusive proof such as DNA? How can we accept a system flaw rate of 10%? How can we accept that it is okay to kill 100 innocent people out of every thousand where only 900 are actually guilty?
I believe that our capital punishment system is as barbaric as the days public lynching and stonings. What has changed since then outside of the fact we no longer do it in public?
Even worse to me is the fact that Scott Peterson didn’t even get a jury of his peers. In our court system today, if you do not believe in capital punishment — you are not allowed to serve in a capital punishment case. Can you believe this? It’s true and called Death Qualification (USA Today article). A true jury of your peers would have a system that truly reflects societies beliefs. We do not have that.
The U.S. is the only first-world country to continue to implement the death sentence. Why is this? Is it because we are protected from the horrors that occur in the actual killing process? Putting someone to death is very brutal physcial process. I won’t even begin to discuss the details because they are that horrific.
Furthermore, don’t we as a society have compassion for Scott’s family? My heart is so sad for his mom and dad. They are the ones who are getting the death sentence. How does killing Scott Peterson help Laci’s family?
While I understand that what Scott did was horrific and wrong, how can we justify sentencing him to the same “crime” he committed? I just don’t understand it.
I studied the death penalty in college when I was studying pre-law and political science. I had a great, fabulous teacher who made us each research the topic and present an oral report to the class. During the semester while we researched our papers and prepared for our oral report, our professor showed us video footage of actual people being executed in a varity of ways (no, I didn’t watch — I couldn’t stomach it). She showed us videos which made real cases personal to us. We got to know the murders, the families, the victims and we became involved in the situation. We saw real documentaries. We saw what families on both sides went through. Our professor showed us cases where innocent people were killed. She showed us video of the men who execute criminals. She showed us video tape of those who still do it — and those who had to quit.
When the class started out, more than a majority of people were for the death penalty. I stood on the lonely side of the classroom with perhaps two or three people out of 30 students strongly opposed to it.
On the final day of the class, after we each gave our reports, not one student continued to maintain a position of support for capital punishment. I have never seen such a huge sway in opinions before. Thirty plus students now were all against the death penalty. It was a true testament to the horror and brutality of what we do as a society. We all saw the horrors of that in the videos and no one could handle the brutality of it. We all saw how wrong it was. It was undenialbe. If only every citizen who served on a capital punishment case would have to watch what we did, would have to be educated to the details of the process, the realities of what we are really doing — to all involved.
Today, I am sad for the Laci’s family. I am sad for Scott’s family. I am sad for Laci and her unborn child. I am sad, too, for Scott Peterson. While he may be seriously ill, sick or even demented, I don’t believe in killing a man who killed. It just isn’t justice. It’s revenge that will only continue to hurt more people…