Last words are a poignant mix of religious zealotry, bitter denial, and pained regret; now, the State of Texas posts the last words of every criminal they execute online for your pursuing. Taylor Lee, one death row inmate, signed off lecturing, “I hope you don’t find satisfaction in this, watching a human being die.” I do not find any satisfaction, but not because I mourn the passing of a thief and murder. I am concerned that publicizing the last words of the most malevolent criminals provides role models for future killers, creating more crime.
My paradoxical theory is rooted in the psychological fact that one of the deepest desires of every individual to feel important. Self-proclaimed religious martyrs can become idolized by future fanatics looking for absolution and historical significance. Starry-eyed youth see cold-blooded criminals alongside other celebrities and aspire to chase fame with murderous intent. Don’t follow my logic? Nineteen suicide bombers killed twenty-five hundred Americans on September 11, they have inspired an increase in suicide bombers around the world. Criminals rarely commit sadistic crimes just for monetary and emotional reasons, they have a pathological need for acknowledgement from society. By publicizing these death row criminals crimes and rhetoric Texas is manufacturing martyrs and crime role models for America’s errant youth. This is the opposite of capital punishment’s intention.
I admonish the state of Texas plastering the last words across the Internet like billboard posters for a cool-kids concert. Capital punishment is one of the most primitive and senseless punishments left in the United States. Elevating capital punishments status through digital publication gives a megaphone to the dregs of society pollute the impressionable minds with their sadistic wisdom. I am not saying that last words should not be open to the public, I am saying they should be somewhere where they would not instigate future terrorism and crimes. Perhaps eliminating capital punishment all together is the best solution to reducing extreme crime. After all, there cannot be martyrs if criminals are forbidden to die.