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Another View

Proposition 34 a step toward peace

By: Amanda Calzada
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It does not make sense to kill people to tell people that killing is wrong.

And for this reason, among many others, it’s critical to vote “yes” on Proposition 34 to repeal the death penalty in California and replace it with life sentence without parole.

Voting “yes” on Proposition 34 will, believe it or not, save you tax dollars.

Contrary to popular belief and intuition, the costs of the death penalty exceed those of a life sentence without parole. According to the Los Angeles Times (March 6, 2005), the California death penalty costs taxpayers $114 million per year beyond the costs of keeping convicts locked up for life. Executions run $2 million per individual, while life in prison totals $500,000, according to www.antideathpenalty.org. That’s four times as much.

Since 1978, the death penalty system has cost California $4 billion, according to Judge Arthur Alarcón. Supporting Proposition 34 will save $1 billion over five years that can be allocated to other needs, like education and universities. Additionally, if passed, it will direct $100 million to law enforcement to solve cases regarding rape and murder.

Death penalty cases average 25 years from conviction to execution. That’s 25 years during which the victim and his or her family relive the trauma through years of required appeals. Therefore, the death penalty does not guarantee the victim’s family justice. Nor does it bring the victim back to life. Rather, Proposition 34 requires convicts to work and pay restitution to the victim’s compensation fund. It does punish the convict, effectively.

States that do implement the death penalty have had consistently higher rates of murder than those who do not. The American murder rate is five times that of Australia and six times that of Britain, according to antideathpenalty.org. Neither nation holds the death penalty. Texas and Oklahoma, both states that practice the death penalty, have murder rates that exceed the national average.

Essentially, the death penalty validates killing and violence as a means to solve a social problem. Society must dismiss the primitive “eye for an eye” mentality to advance and progress. If you, like me, believe that all people are equal, then who is one person to decide it is OK to take the life of another?

Yes, a convict’s death would guarantee that he or she could no longer harm society. But a life sentence also functions accordingly, however, with one crucial difference: Repealing the death penalty guarantees that no innocent lives are taken. Of the hundreds of innocent people wrongly convicted of serious crimes in California, three were sentenced to death, according to safecalifornia.org.

Supporting Proposition 34 supports a greater well-being for individuals and the state of California economically, so-cially and humanely. It’s a step closer to peace.