A thirty-five year old white male kidnaps and rapes two sisters, one nine years old and the other twelve. The man then brutally murders the two sisters, letting one watch as the other one was killed. The man leaves the bloody and beaten girls dead on their front porch. Does this man deserve to die Capital punishment, if applied in this hypothetical situation, would serve its purpose in getting retribution for this crime.
Capital punishment is a controversial subject but is an effective punishment for serious crimes such as this. Right now, only one percent of murderers who have committed serious crimes such as this are on death row. "Every nation with industrial democracies has abolished the death penalty, excluding Japan and the United States," (Honeyman and Ogloff, 197). Nearly half of the countries of the world (close to eighty) have abolished the death penalty.
Almost the same number of countries chooses to keep it as a punishment. Eighty percent of death penalty sentences are carried out on cases involving white victims, regardless of the guilty party's race. Opponents argue that capital punishment is not effective and innocent men may be murdered. They may also argue that it is not fairly administered between the races. It can also be argued that it violates the 8 th amendment, which forbids cruel and unusual punishment, and also the 14 th amendment, by taking away life.
But supporters can argue that the death penalty does not offend any amendments because it is a suitable punishment and the offenders went through due process of law. The early, barbaric methods of execution included crucifixion, boiling in oil, drawing and quartering, impalement, beheading, crushing, stoning, and even burning alive. Those barbaric methods are now outlawed everywhere in the world, excluding beheading in France which are still occasionally used today, and stoning an beheading in strictly Islamic countries. Firing squads and hangings are used in other countries.
The newest methods now used more often throughout the world include hangings, electrocution, gas chamber, firing squad (in Utah), or lethal injection. Caning is not a form of capital punishment, although an alternate way to lower crime rates. "In Singapore, where caning is practiced regularly, crime rates are so low that they are barely above zero," ("Capital Punishment"). Supporters argue that death is a more severe punishment so it deters crime. The principles of capital punishment say it is a form of retribution, and that the murderer deserves to die. "Death is pure humiliation for the criminal, and it has been proven that humiliation is one of the best forms of punishment," ("Capital Punishment", 282).
Executions occur usually a decade or more after a murderer is sentenced to ensure that due process of law can take place and if the man is innocent, he can hopefully be proven so. Studies done by government agencies in the 1970's have proven that for each man put to death, 8 or more murderers are deterred from committing crimes ("Arguments for Life and Death"). Life sentences cost $1. 8 million to carry out. Death sentences only have the costs of ten years or more in prison and prosecution costs. This proves that death is more cost effective then life and it deters more crime.
Also there is the indisputable fact the murderer who is executed cannot murder again. And in North Carolina, if every murderer was put to death for 1 st and 2 nd degree murder charges, over forty-five murders could have been stopped due to repeat murders after a criminal got out of prison. According to Honeyman and Ogloff, "Five executions have occurred in Utah since 1977. In the year following each execution, the crime rates dropped very significantly," (198). It is a known fact that 2 nd degree murderers only have a ten to fifteen year sentence and most often only serve part of the sentence. The only difference between 1 st and 2 nd degree murders is that 1 st degree murders involve planning out ahead of time.
It could be the same killer, same victims, and same crime. The only difference is that if it was 1 st degree murder, the murderer would have planned the killing ahead of time. If it was 2 nd degree the killer would have just happened upon the person and decided to kill him or her for no reason which in my opinion is just as bad as planning to kill a man. Capital punishment is the best choice for severe crimes such as murder and treason, and in most situations should be applied. It is an effective punishment that deters crime as well as ensuring that the killer never kills again. The newer methods are safer and less barbaric then the old, but sometimes the criminal deserves such a punishment depending on the severity of the crime.
"Arguments for Life and Death." Encyclopedia Britannica. Chicago: Britannica, 1995. American English Encyclopedia Britannica. 15 February 2000. "Capital Punishment." Funk & Wagnall's New Encyclopedia.
New York: Funk & Wagnall's, 1994. "Capital Punishment: An Effective Punishment for Serious Crimes." 7 February 2000. "Capital Punishment." Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000. Redmond: Microsoft, 1999. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. CD-Rom.
Honeyman, Jennifer and J. R. Ogloff. "Capital Punishment." 10 February 2000..