“Cain and Abel were sons of Adam and Eve in the biblical Book of Genesis. Cain, the firstborn, tilled the soil, and his brother Abel was a shepherd. The brothers made sacrifices to God, each of his own produce, but God favored Abel's sacrifice instead of that of Cain. Cain murdered Abel. God punished Cain to a life of wandering, but set a mark on him so that no man would kill him.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cain_and_Abel
“The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue, are a set of commandments which the Bible describes as having been given to the Israelites by God at biblical Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments are listed twice in the Hebrew Bible, first at Exodus 20:1–17, and then at Deuteronomy 5:4–21. Both versions state that God inscribed them on two stone tablets, which he gave to Moses.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments. (“Thou shall not kill,” is one of the Ten Commandments.)
Since our earliest recorded history, man has been killing his fellow man. Today, every nation has laws which prescribe punishment for individuals found guilty of murder. Additionally, many thousands of policemen are hired to prevent murder and other crimes.
In the United States, there are 16,238 murders each year; an average of 44 murders per day. Source: https://www.bing.com/. The United States has a higher murder rate than some countries but lower than others. Further, large cities experience a higher murder rate than smaller cities.
Analyzing the statistics
What causes a high murder rate?
It’s possible to come up with more reasons why we murder one another but I think these are the main causes.
Does punishment fit the crime?
The courts apply relevant laws and sentence convicted murderers to time in prison or execution. The severity of the crime, the year in which the crime occurs, the state in which the trial occurs, and the personal beliefs of the court members are factors which determine the sentence.
“More than 3,200 inmates in 36 states are awaiting execution. The U.S. government and U.S. military also have approximately 67 people awaiting execution. … Capital punishment is legal in 34 states.” Source: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/22/justice/georgia-execution-fact-box/index.html
Arguments for and against the death penalty:
- A death sentence is barbaric and does not represent a civilized society. (Many nations have stopped executing criminals.)
- Executing criminals does not serve as a deterrent to future crime.
- If a person is wrongly convicted, an innocent person will be executed. (This is why a convicted murderer can expect to spend many years on death row awaiting execution.)
- Our society should not execute a convicted murderer who is mentally ill or whose Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is below average.
- The death penalty is unevenly applied due to a man’s color.
- Executions should be conducted in a humane manner (while refusing to acknowledge how the murderer’s victim(s) were killed and whether the victim(s) suffered before being killed.) People opposing methods used to carry out the death penalty use the term, “cruel and unusual punishment” in their arguments.
- “Eye for an eye” is a common argument for the death penalty. Sources: Matthew 5:38-39, Exodus 21:24, and Romans 12:17-19.
In my opinion, our society will not rid itself of murder. The underlying causes of murder are just too great to overcome and we have lost access to vital tools which were effective in the past. Do we quit trying? No, uncounted numbers of lives are saved each year through the heroic efforts of many fine people and the use of new technology. Regretfully, in spite of our best efforts, 16,000 Americans will be murdered this and every year.
Joe R. East, Jr.