In the past "capital" in the term capital punishment, referred to the person's head, which would be severed to deliver death. In current days, Capital punishment takes a new meaning bringing with it moral and ethical questions. The main reason for this argument being, "is it justifiable?" Can the death of a person, though a criminal, be beneficial for society as well as justifiable or does it corrupt the values of the people and lead them in the wrong direction? In my paper, I will take an unorthodox point of view arguing for the implementation of the death penalty. I will establish a clear-cut profile for a criminal to be eligible for death row. I will put forth arguments for and against the death penalty as supported by various groups and try to defend my position. I shall also try to criticize the case against the death penalty with individual arguments.
Finally, I will demonstrate that no alternative to capital punishment can be reached and try to convince you for its fairness. Despite ethical and moral concerns, the issue of capital punishment must not be dismissed without serious consideration and scrutiny. Is our judiciary system working the way it is suppose to? Many people and countries are convinced that the judiciary system of the United States is a joke. While law may be rigid and defined, there are a number of loopholes which allow criminals to be set free into the streets.
One such loophole has the death penalty in its eyes. In my opinion, criminals who commit a heinous crime should be put on death row and they should be executed as soon as possible without having the slights chance to end back up in society. What type of criminals would meet the criteria for death row? Should every lawbreaker, from a thief to murderer, be sentenced to such a harsh punishment? Absolutely not. In fact, I propose that it is the very extreme felons that should face this penalty. Murderers are the only ones that should be sentenced to death. As a matter of fact, I believe, it is only mass murderers that should confront this penalty.
While murder is inexcusable, there are a number of ways in which a guilty party might not have been in full control nor done so with a different intent. Crimes of passion, for example is one such case where one may be compelled to murder, drunk driving and other driving accidents that cause fatalities. Another example could be seen in cases of revenge, such as killing a rapist. Where as such murderers should be punished accordingly, they do not deserve a death penalty. On the other hand, planed violence geared toward a group of rather than a single person must be penalized. Most murders that are seen today come on the mass scale.
News reports are full of stories such as the "Oklahoma City Bomber", who killed over one hundred people by bombs. One more recent story was the "Sniper" story, where two people were ending the lives of people almost every day and their count went well past ten. Such individuals should be removed from society by being executed as soon they are found guilty. Many ethical concerns arise when the issues of the death penalty is brought into the public eye. Some people argue it is morally wrong to kill a person while others believe that the authorities should maintain an iron fist and not be lenient. So what are the most common arguments that are used to defend the death penalty as well as attack its validity? (I shall try to avoid religious beliefs because while every religion might have similar practices, not every religion is exactly the same in terms of its views on the discussed issue.
Moreover, while the Christian bible stated "thou shall not kill" it also requires a death penalty for wide variety of crimes of crime ranging from doing work on Saturday to murder. Nonetheless, while there are many religion- based objections, one that even non-believers argue is playing the role of God. ) Let us focus on a more human-oriented point of view. Common reason against the death penalty include negative effective effects on society, lack of deterrence, value of human life, unfairness and chance of error. Also the family of the family of the prisoner comes into play, in addition to lack of jury connections (Constanzo, Mark). On the other side of the spectrum is justice, vengeance, deterrence, value of human life, cost and safety (Constanzo, Mark).
Tough cert ian aspects of pro's and con's intervene such as value of human life, cost and deterrence, opinions on these point are very different. A closer look at this reason will let us determine a more educated position on the matter. I will juxtapose and argument the death penalty with its parallel from the supporting side and whenever such does not apply, I will provide my own criticism of the position. First, are the negative effects on society? Some feel that allowing for premeditated murder is unacceptable even if done by state (web). Such actions by states contradict the belief that humans have the capacity to change, which is the idea that all correctional facilities rely on. It also supports the idea that "killing can be a proper way of responding to those who have wronged us.
(web). Supporters further argue that the emphasis of such an idea cannot lead to a better and safer society. Opposing viewpoints is the argument of a safer community. Executing a convicted murder ensures that there is no chance of him / her ever being back on the streets which may come through bail or a jail-break. I believe that the government, be it state or national, national, could easily contradict and reverse the emphasis on the idea mentioned above would help eli mate the threat to the society as a whole. The second argument refers to the lack of deterrence as opposed to its contradictory notion that death penalty actually helps reduce the amount of violent crimes.
Since this position rests solely on statistical information, it is virtually impossible to discover which side is correct. Nevertheless, for me it appears correct that such a harsh punishment would diminish the occurrence of violent crimes. A comparative statistic of states of states with the deat penalty and without showed that stats with the death penalty had a murder rate of 7. 1 per 100, 000 while those states that do not support the death penalty have a much lower rate of 3. 1 (Radelet, M and Akers, R. ).
In my opinion this static is not very useful. There are many states that live a much quieter life and are not in the glare of publicity. Also because they are less populated, (even though the study was done per 100, 000) people come in less contact with each other and have fewer encounters with strangers. Thus, different cultures created in various states may produce different murder rates. After all, there could be no comparison between the state of New York and Montana, for example. Furthermore, a study done in 1980, in New York, showed that an average amount of murders increased in months following the executions (Radelet, M and Akers, R.
). Again, however, there dose not seem to be a connection between the two. This occurrence could have been caused by coincidence. If the study was done over again in different situations it may have held some validity, however, because it was never repeated, it could not disapprove the fact that coincidence might have been an explanation. Finally the studies that were performed in California and Canada in 1995 are plausible and hard to argue. California study showed that murder increased 10% a year from 1952-1967 when the state was executing people, once the state stopped the executions 1968-1991, the average rate of increase dropped 4.
8%. Similarly, once Canadians stopped performing Executions in 1976, the murder rate dropped 27% (Hood, R. ). Conversely, some studies that were done proved that the death penalty does act as a deterrent. Isaac Ehrlich found that about 7-8 murders were prevented by each execution from the period of 1933-1967. Similarly, Kenneth Wol pin concluded that each execution reduced the number of murders in England 4 (hood, R.
). Lastly, police ranked the death penalty as one of the seven most effective methods to reduce the murder rate. Some other methods include: reduction of drug use, less unemployment and longer prison sentences. One of the most important moral and ethical points to consider is value of human life.
On one hand there is the life of the still living convict. Human life has intrinsic value, which is denied by execution even if it is done by the government. Furthermore, killing a mass murderer does not bring his victim back to life. It seems to achieve nothing but the death of yet another person. On the other hand however, there are lives that were taken away by the mass murder.
As Edward Koch said, "it is by exacting the highest penalty for the taking of human life that we affirm the highest value of human life." (web) And truly, why is it not correct? How can we, as a society, respect a life of a mass murderer that has taken so many lives that even his own life would not be able to pay off the debt? Another concern being brought up by the people is the unfairness of the trails. Since a lot of criminals that are currently on death row tend to be of minority groups, argument arises that discrimination and bias come into play when a felon is placed on death row (web). Also, many mass murderers are considered mentally ill and it is unjust to execute such persons. However, I believe that because convicts are so mentally ill that they would commit mass murders they must be executed not to cause future harm.
Several problems that might arise during the cases might also be cause enough for groups to reject the use of death penalty altogether. Like in any case there is always a chance of error, which is why some juries are weary of giving the death penalty (web). This action might put the killer back on the street and do the opposite of what was intended. Yet, such mistakes are more common with single murders and not mass murders. The last argument that I want to discuss is the one against the death penalty that takes into account the family of the murderer. What will happen to them? Even as they might suffer, why doesn't anybody focus their attention on the families of those who were killed? The convict is only one man, while the people he / she has killed are numerous.
The victims could be fathers and mothers, sons and daughters as well as brothers and sisters. The disaster brought on by the murderer is much greater then that which would be caused by satisfying the call for justice from the families of the victims. With countless proposed alternatives for the death penalty, one seems to be the most reasonable plus being the one most widely supported. This alternative suggests that murderers be sentenced for the minimum of 25 years during which they should be required to work (web). Part of their earnings would pay for their imprisonment, canceling out one of the many arguments for the death penalty; the other part would go to the family of the victim. While this system is very good for a single murder and should be implemented, it falls through in the case of multiple murders.
Thus so far there are no alternatives to the death penalty. The only reasonable excuse against the death penalty is the execution of an innocent person. None the less, while in the past Techniques such as DNA testing did not exist, frequently police agencies are more precise in their accusation as well as their methods of finding the guilty party. As a society we must grant our trust into the hands of authority. While there still can wrong imprisonment of people for petty crimes such as robbery, these would not quality for the death row.
On the other hand, those people who committed mass murder, and let me reiterate mass murderers are often not wrongfully accused. These people deserve no less for themselves than what they have done to others. Even though we are compelled to remember a famous saying "An Eye For An Eye Makes The World Go Blind" we should not forget that death penalty, as I believe, should be applied to murderers of multiple victims. In this sense let's rephrase the saying accordingly "50 eyes for an eye make's reasonable sense.".