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Thoughts on Rolling and Capital Punishment

October 26, 2006

Being a University of Florida Sophomore, the Rolling murders strike very close to me. Yesterday evening the state of Florida put to death the notorious murder Danny Rolling. Though there is little evidence that Rolling didn't murder the students, there is still much debate with respect to capital punishment. Capital punishment is by no means the most gruesome form of state punishment. There may be other forms of punishment more degrading that may not cross the line of "cruel and unusual" but I am not here to discuss which type of punishment for serious murder crimes there should be but instead why capital punishment is incorrect.

There have been many individuals who have been executed by the State just so that a few years down the road investigators find out the accused did not commit the crime. The State, I believe, does a clumsy job of almost everything it tries to take control of. If we are to believe that monopoly privilege of law should remain in the hands of the State then we must understand the fact that the system is not flawless and that there will be tragedies. That said, we can not look the other way when addressing the problem of the State executing innocents. Instead, we must look for alternative ways to punish those convicted of heinous crimes without stripping them of life so that if evidence emerges that they did not commit the crime, perhaps they can at the very least regain their right to life.

Rolling was an evil man and quite haunting. His dying words was singing a Christian hymn in a way that witnesses found demonic and eerie. There is little question that Rolling did the crimes and that he received the proper punishment. That said, there have been far too many individuals put through this pain due to the State's carelessness and inefficiency. Capital punishment, especially when it is unmerited, does not only effect the victim but also their families. It must be difficult to deal with the fact that your son or daughter was executed by the State for a crime they did not commit.

It is time to leave execution behind and embrace a more sensible solution, possibly plans that involve hard labor and restitution. In addition, this should also call for a loosening of the government's tight hold on gun rights. There is no doubt in my mind that if these kids were allowed to own handguns or if the ownership of firearms was more easily accessible to the law-abiding citizens that Rolling would not had to have been executed by the State but instead would had received just punishment by his would-be victims. When a killer comes through the door it is going to be my gun, not the State, the will protect me.

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