San Quentin protest sparks debate over death-penalty laws
March 14, 2012
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A recent protest at San Quentin Prison sparked interest and opinions that led college students to question and debate the very controversial topic of the death penalty in California.
The death penalty has been a very heated deliberation for some time now in which some people protest for the sanctity of life while others protest for the harshest punishment of lethal injection. Most times those opinions are based on moral values such as religion or the simplicity of basic human rights. Either way this prolonged dispute has the public overflowing with opinions.
When interviewed, 41 out of 50 students at Bakersfield College are not pro-life and agree with the death penalty as punishment.
Several different students commented on the topic and gave diverse justifications as to why they chose to support the death penalty.
“I don’t care what anyone says if you kill somebody, especially more than one person and in a malicious way, you deserve to die,” said Lelsie Barrera, 19.
The firmness of opinion that Barrera stands behind is based upon a very personal experience that Barrera said changed her life forever.
“I lost one of my good friends when I was only fifteen.,” said Barrera.
“One of my closest guy friends’ Jeremy was in the crossfire of a gang shooting and basically shot to death. They never found out who exactly was the person who shot Jeremy and I wonder everyday if someone will be brought to justice. I went through so much pain and I hope that one day someone will be convicted and experience all the pain that myself and Jeremy’s family went through and possibly get the death penalty.”
There are always two sides to the story and other people strongly believe in the opposite of the death penalty, the belief to preserve life.
Damion Harper, 24, is a full time student at BC and completely disagrees with the idea of the death penalty. Harper justifies his strong beliefs on the death penalty with his religious background.
“I’m a Christian and extremely religious,” said Harper. “I believe it’s not up to man to kill somebody no matter for what reason. Whether it may be for murder or rape, I never believe or will believe in killing somebody else as a sentence.
“It’s downright crazy that people think they can take that kind of power into their own hands. It’s ridiculous and I’m completely against it.”
Although Barrera and Harper both have compelling outlooks on the death penalty, some students at BC are at a standstill on their opinion and would overall just agree to disagree.