December 5, 2005 was the date, when a black man, Wesley Eugene Baker, was executed by means of lethal injection. It was the last time, when the case of death penalty took place in Maryland. This man was scheduled to death in a week after he committed the crime, and it happened in far 1991 (Clines para. 6).
He was waiting for own death more than 10 years. On the one hand, his actions cannot be understood, and his blame is obvious; on the other hand, living in prison and being aware of own death is one of the most terrible punishments for any person.
The issue of capital punishment always causes numerous doubts and contradictions, because it becomes harder and harder to certainly support or oppose this very form of punishment.
The U.S. state of Maryland is one of the American states that still use this judicial punishment; and in spite of the fact that this type of execution is currently suspended, the history of capital punishment in Maryland is interesting for many reasons. Wesley Eugene Baker was the last man, who was scheduled for death penalty; and it will be better if this case will be the last in Maryland history.
Death penalty is the most serious punishment that can be used by the government against people; and even if it costs less then keeping a person in jail till the end of his/her life and shows how serious the outcomes of murders can be, it should not be the reason to support capital punishment at all because nowadays, in most cases, money rules the world and even helps to convict innocent people in order to escape this penalty.
In fact, it is not that difficult to convict a person and sentence him/her to death. However, capital punishment usually touches upon numerous issues, which are crucially important in our current live.
The state of Maryland is probably one of the first ones in the list, where the cases of capital punishment deserve attention and evaluation. The investigations over this state prove that racial bias is still present even in justice: “blacks who kill whites are 2.5 times more likely to be sentenced to death than are whites who kill whites, and are 3.5 times more likely to be sentences to death than blacks who kill blacks” (Gerber and Johnson 53).
This is why it becomes clear that minorities are in more danger than white of being treated unfairly in capital cases. Someone may believe that modern world is not that prejudiced about the questions of race and ethnicity, unfortunately it is only another myth that people want to believe in.
Taking into consideration the point of racial inequality, another important reason of why capital punishment has to be prohibited in Maryland appears. Blacks constitute more than 1/3 of the total population of Maryland (Nagengast 307-314). This is why if racial identity plays a significant role in making sentences, it would be very difficult to trust justice and to be sure that real offenders are punished.
Innocent people as well as minorities are under a threat of being murdered by the government. It may happen that evidences prove the blame of one person, but actually, the crime is committed by absolutely other person. One of the most wonderful and true examples may be the movie of Frank Darabont The Green Mile, when a black man was sentenced to death just because he was found with the body of a dead white child.
John Coffey wanted “just to help” (Darabont, 1999), using his gift, but no one could understand him. People cannot be sure that the same situation will never happen with them. When they talk about capital punishment, it is always necessary to remember that some facts can make people blind, and innocent people may suffer because of prejudice, because of pain, because of stupid blindness.
People commit crimes for many reasons, and sometimes, and these crimes are so terrible and unforgettable that it is very hard to forgive a person and provide him/her with a second chance. The desire to avenge, the idea that someone can be unpunished, and the feel of loss and pain seize people, whose close people have been killed.
This is why the only way out to struggle for justice is to fight at courts and ask for death penalty. However, when people make a decision to kill a person even legally, they become murders as well. This thought will never leave them and can make the rest of their lives more horrible. Maybe, it is better to deprive a person of own freedom or to torture somehow in order to teach, in order to revenge, in order to make hurt.
With time, people, who are imprisoned till the end of their lives, may become helpful to society and work for free in order to continue their existence and to feed. Such kind of punishment may be more terrible and more just in comparison to death penalty. It provides the criminal with a chance to be helpful for society, and it prevents ordinary people from becoming a murder even on legal conditions.
It is possible to agree to the idea of capital punishment touching the problem of financial support that is necessary for people, imprisoned for life. Government cannot find enough costs to keep criminals under even poor for living conditions, feed them, change their clothes, and bath them. This is why the only good decision is to kill criminals and save state money. On my opinion, such justification of capital punishment is not strong enough.
Maryland is a rich state indeed, and it is possible to develop a program that maintains the life in prisons on an appropriate level. This fact shows once again how considerable the power of money can be. People should not be under the rein of money; people should not kill each other because of money. For some moment, I want money to be sentenced to death so that people can live free and independent.
“Since 1978, five people have been executed in Maryland, and five inmates are on death row” (Urbina para. 11). These numbers should not be changed for good future. First of all, with time, people should realize how powerful money can be and how weak people are in comparison to money.
It happens that money makes decision whether a person should die or continue living. Is it the future, people want to live in? Hardly! Maryland is a powerful state, and capital punishment should not be a problem for its citizens. To sentence to death is easy, but to continue living with the idea of being connected to someone’s death is hard indeed.
This is why before judging people and using capital punishment in order to struggle for justice, it is necessary to wonder whether all people are really innocent as they may think. Justice is a deep concept, and the question of capital punishment is not the only one that has to be answered. People should evaluate the concept of life and death as it is in order to improve own future and own right to exist.
Clines, Francis, X. “Death Penalty Is Suspended in Maryland.” The New York Times. 10 May, 2002. 3 Dec. 2009.
Gerber, Rudolph, J. and Johnson, John, M. The Top Ten Death Penalty Myths: The Politics of Crime Control. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2007.
Nagengast, Colin. Almanac of American Demographics. Bloomington, I: AuthorHouse, 2009.
The Green Mile. Dir. Frank Darabont. Perf. Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan. Warner Bros., 1999. Film.
Urbina, Ian. “Citing Cost, States Consider End to Death Penalty.” The New York Times. 24 Feb. 2009. 2 Dec. 2009.