Monday, April 2, 2012

Capital Punishment

    March 15, 2012

Dear Mr. President,

    My name is Joe. I am a student at Parkway West Middle School, and I am writing to share my thoughts about capital punishment.
    I became interested in the topic of capital punishment when I discovered what my dad accomplished at work--sentence people who have committed felonies. The worst crimes, such as arson, terrorism, manslaughter, are not always given the worst sentence. My dad has only sentenced one person to be executed. My dad is a federal judge whom you appointed! The specifications to be eligible for execution and the laws about death penalty are also very interesting.
    To begin, I want to clarify that the issue is not that we are intentionally killing other human beings, but that we are not strict enough with our sentencing. I am not suggesting that we kill anyone who litters or traffics drugs, but our eligibility laws for capital punishment are ridiculous. In the 90's, Missouri had a law that you can only be eligible for capital punishment if you had been charged with 1st degree murder previously. Does it seem logical that we let people commit two or more murders before we realize that we need to stop them? While reading the novel "The Trial of Dennis Bulloch," a case that my dad prosecuted in the 80's, I discovered that a man who had asphyxiated and burned his wife could be sentenced to only seven years in prison. Is it fair that an innocent family is being punished more than the criminal? This is common, too. A family will lose a loved one forever, and the killer will be back at home within a few years!
    Not only would an increase in capital punishment sentences be fair for our society, it would lower the total number of murders that occur. A person who considers committing a murder obviously thinks about their punishments beforehand, and you would obviously not commit a crime if you knew your punishment was going to be death. If we can increase sentence strictness, our states can put an idea in the minds of criminals: the idea that their actions are punishable with death. On many occasions, a murderer who is on death row or in prison would certainly have rethought their actions if they had known that they would be punished with death. To hypothesize, if we sentence every murderer to death, then our citizens will know what to expect if they commit a murder. States such as Texas that have the most annual executions, have a significantly lower murder rate than states that have not even reinstated capital punishment.
    All I ask is that you take my ideas under consideration in order to inspire ideas within the government. An average person who supports a family does not want to have to worry about being murdered. If our government can make a change to our states' sentence strictness, then we don't have to worry about this. A change like this will make a lot of citizens happy, and it will keep them safer.
    Thank you very much for your work and the time you take to take my ideas under consideration.



Parkway West Middle School

St. Louis, Missouri


Lauren Kelly
Parkway West Middle
8th Grade Communication Arts

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