Two teenagers had their lives tragically cut short. Both were shot in the head. One was declared dead on the scene. The other died after being on life support for a few days.
What happened? Twenty-year-old Joseph Jimenez happened. For some inexplicable reason, he went into a movie theater and killed Rylee and Anthony. He didn’t even know them.
When I first heard about the story, I emotionally connected with it on four levels: 1) I had visited the same theater with my family on multiple occasions. 2) While I didn’t know Rylee, I lived in Norco for eight years and lived about 10 minutes from the high school where she had just graduated. 3) In 2019, I was on life support for about a week and I can partially relate to what was going on in Anthony’s body and brain. 4) Rylee, Anthony and Joseph, like me, are members of Generation Z. And to make matters worse, they are all younger than me.
While Jimenez's crime makes him eligible for the death penalty, it's unlikely that he'll be sentenced to death. To give some historic reference, since 1978, California has executed 13 people, the last one was 76-year-old Clarence Ray Allen in 2006. For more perspective, Samuel Little, the United States' most notorious serial killer who took credit for 93 murders with at least 50 of those confirmed, didn’t receive the death penalty.
Life is God’s most sacred gift and we, as a society, simply don’t care about life like we should. It still amazes me that every day the lives of unborn babies are less valued than those individuals who are guilty of killing people. What do I mean by this?
The number of states where abortion is legal is 50. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the number of states where the death penalty is authorized is 27.
According to 49 areas that reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2018 there were 619,591 abortions in the U.S. That's 1,697 babies killed every day, to be exact. In that same year, there were 25 executions. That's about two a month. For more perspective, as of July 1, the U.S. has carried out 1,534 executions since 1976.
On average, more babies are killed in a single day than the number of convicted criminals that have been executed in nearly 50 years!
From these statistics alone, we can see that society doesn’t value life the way that we ought to.
Many critics of the death penalty make various points about why it's wrong. Some of these arguments include how people deserve a second chance — only God gives life and He is the only one who has the right to take it — and concerns over the risk of executing an innocent person, among many others. But these points don’t hold up.
But when it comes to abortion, we don’t even give that child a first chance. They are killed without even getting a chance to see the light of day. Babies are killed without being able to get a chance to see the loving faces of their parents. And by the way, God instituted the death penalty when talking to Noah after the exit from the Ark. God instructs Noah and later down the line Moses in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy on how and when to use capital punishment.
While it's true that there is an inherent risk of executing an innocent person, a study released in 2014 found that about 4% of inmates on death row were found to be innocent.
Killing an innocent person is absolutely horrible and tragic. But when we, as a nation, kill unborn babies, there is a 100% chance of killing a person who is innocent.
During my research, I discovered that in 1990, the average amount of time between sentencing and execution in the U.S. was a little less than eight years. In 2019, the waiting period was 22 years! Unborn babies haven’t had the opportunity to lie, steal, cheat, kill, gossip, lust, scheme or do anything bad, and we as a nation are so fast to kill them and move right on to the next one to repeat the process.
How can we be OK with the fact that John Wayne Gacy, a cold-blooded killer, was on death row for 14 years after being convicted of 33 sex-related murders while a baby is killed before its first steps are even taken? Or the fact that Ted Bundy was given 10 more years of life after confessing to more than 30 murders, including the rape and murder of 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, while an unborn baby hasn’t even had the chance to be comforted by loving parents? It's moronic, obscene, immoral and backward that we as a nation deem the lives of human monsters as more important than the lives of our unborn.
I love this country and am a very proud American, but this is one of America’s worst, if not the worst, blemishes.
Science shows us that life begins at conception, there's no arguing that point. Zygote, embryo, fetus, just like infant, toddler and adolescent, are simply stages of life. The stage of life that a person is in doesn’t make them any less human. Just as in Dr. Seuss’ book, Horton Hears A Who, the protagonist, Horton the elephant, says “A person is a person, no matter how small.”
Psalm 127 tells us that children are a gift from the Lord. We should start acting like it.
Solomon Green is a contributor at Merion West and the host of the podcast "One More Thing With Solo Green." His writings and podcast mostly focus on culture and politics. To send in your questions, comments, podcast topic suggestions or business inquiries, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.