Use of the death penalty being reviewed by Supreme Court

Mar 3, 2014, 5:48 PM | Updated: 5:49 pm

The divide between people who are in favor of the death penalty and those who want it declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court may have taken a turn, in favor of those who want it abolished.

The Supreme Court of the United States is reviewing a case as to whether a criminal on death row is too intellectually challenged to be executed, in other words, those who have a lower IQ, could not be punished by the Eighth Amendment under its “cruel and unusual punishment” clause.

In recent years this argument has gained traction in the courts and in our society. And that’s a debate that is warranted. We do not want to be a country that executes mentally challenged adults. But with the recent first person, active shooter debates, i.e., Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, there is an advent of discussion centered around mental illness.

It’s safe to assume that many people are mentally ill in this country. The amount of prescription drug anti-depressants has sky-rocketed, our nation is more understanding of PTSD, bullying and the effects of mental, physical and sexual abuse and how they can (but do not in the majority) sow the seeds for violence and abhorrent behavior.

I just hope the Supreme Court doesn’t make a sweeping and broad generalization by repealing the death penalty based on our new understanding of real, psychological illnesses, using that to manipulate and abolish the death penalty for what it is: the states’ right to administer, where warranted, the ultimate punishment.

Mac Watson

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Use of the death penalty being reviewed by Supreme Court