A Time to Kill

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A Time to Kill

Twenty years ago Don Henley sang a song called “The End of the Innocence,” and portrayed a coming of age scenario. In Henley’s song, he sings the lines, “Offer up your best defense/ but this is the end/ this is the end of the innocence.” The disputable age-of-accountability permeates American society. In the essay, “Too Immature for the Death Penalty,” Paul Raeburn offers his defense into the chemical and environmental make-up of juveniles in their decision-making processes. However, the issue of personal accountability, or an end of innocence, is never brought up. Regardless of age, Americans cannot avoid decisions, because decisions determine destinies. Individuals choose either the path of wisdom or the path of folly, and no one can postpone or sidestep these choices. When does responsibility begin and accountability end? While juveniles’ brains may not be fully developed, juveniles must be held accountable for their actions. No matter what age group is involved, murder is still murder, and requires the death penalty to enforce the consequences of the crime.

Each day Americans make decisions that affect the outcomes of their lives. Some choices are easily made, while others require intense thought. The consequences of actions, nonetheless, are known from as early on as childhood. For example, a small child knows immediately that he or she can thrust their hand in a fire and feel the consequences. However, Mr. Raeburn states, “teenagers cannot be held fully responsible for their actions because all the wiring to allow adult decision making isn’t completed yet” (517). Still, teenagers can be held responsible for operating a vehicle, and be held accountable to obey traffic laws. These illustration...

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... just fear them. Besides having no other real options in supporting themselves, murderers would more than likely repeat the same crime if released.

Although the death penalty alone cannot bring back the life of those who have been murdered, it can serve as ultimate justice for the victims and their families. The deterrence of the death penalty can save lives. While opinions abound on both sides of the fence, in the use of the death penalty on juveniles, no one can argue with the fact that the voices of those murdered cannot be heard. Juveniles may not have fully developed brains, as Raeburn argues, but this is not an adequate excuse to dismiss the death penalty. American society cannot afford to babysit murderers, nor can they rehabilitate them. The end of the innocence begins when an innocent life is taken, and the sanctity of life is held defenseless.

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