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The Death Penalty Pro/con Essay

Is one crime rightfully punishable by death? Can one jury decide one man’s fate? The answer is yes, at least for now. Since the beginning of our humanity we’ve always had some sort of cruel punishment against our own, today it is known as the death penalty. This used to be prohibited in our government, however in 1976 congress had the death penalty reinstated and since then the Supreme Court has sentenced over 1,300 people to face the wrath of the death sentence. Out of the 50 states in America 34 still use the death penalty (Arizona included), meaning only 16 have completely abolished the death penalty. Currently there are over 3,000 prisoners in about 32 different states who are on death row awaiting execution. Arizona alone has 121 prisoners who have been sentenced to death. Although the United States stands divided on the use of capital punishment there are numerous nations who use it on a regular basis. In the last five years alone China has executed over 5,000 people. It’s not too late to change humanity and put a stop to this sadistic defiance against nature. The death penalty should be outlawed, because it is pure cruelty, the expense of it is massive, and certainly death is the easy way out for these wicked beings. Claim #1:

Mistakes are a part of our human nature; we make them every single day of our lives, some mistakes are worse than others, but even then no mistake is worth getting slayed for. In all honesty two wrongs do not make a right, and supporting this statement professor Schroth of St. Peter’s college states that “to kill the person who has killed someone close to you is simply to continue the cycle of violence which ultimately destroys the avenger as well as the offender,” (ProCon Death Penalty) which essentially is stating justice will not be served if we choose to kill the killer. Surely some would feel at ease knowing the criminal has paid his/her due, but even then it’s not our duty to play the role of God and choose who lives and who dies. Slaughtering the unlawful makes us no different from them, by killing them we stoop to their heartless level and do exactly what they did, the only difference is they’re the criminals and we’re the innocent. As it’s been
said many times “an eye for an eye makes the world blind,” so why do we still continue to practice such a thing, as a species we’ve achieved such greatness, but we still use punishment from sinister ages. Claim #2:

Many people would argue that life in prison is a huge drain on the tax-payers dollars but in reality life in prison would be a lower price than the death penalty and according to a director of the death penalty information system, Richard Dieter “The death penalty is double the amount of trials, attorneys, and more days spent on death row, and in all seriousness its double the money” (ProCon Death Penalty). Yet we remain to waste our resources on this costly consequence, which in the long run gives us no positive satisfaction. Even if the death penalty was cheaper than it is currently, why would we still choose to perform such a painful and inhuman way to end someone’s life? Certainly a gas chamber wouldn’t be enjoyable, or even a hanging which could take minutes to kill; we use such cold-hearted methods to execute these capital punishments. Thankfully the state of Arizona has stopped using these extreme and intense ways to execute. Since November of 1992 Arizona has only carried out the lethal injection as a way to perform their capital punishment, if only more states were kind enough to do the same, but even then there’s nothing kind about capital punishment. Claim #3:

The purpose of the death penalty is to rid the world of evil doers, but in reality it just seems like the easy way, life in prison would be so much more agonizing for the criminal. Nonetheless we are now broadcasting these executions, giving the criminal exposure that he/she isn’t worthy of receiving. Mary Meehan a journalist from the National Catholic Review declared that “Executions have a corrupting effect on the public,” (National Catholic Review) which is true because nowadays we can literally see the offenders last living moments and who’s to say some innocent adolescent child isn’t watching this, and being tainted as well, which will just continue the cycle of this death penalty. The authority believe that this performance of death will act as a model for all other offenders out there, but in all truth it does nothing, crime rates are higher now than they have ever been and they continue to grow. With that being said putting an end to the death penalty has never been more required. We essentially should
realize how fatal death is. Can we truly be that harsh? Opposition

Over two centuries ago our government created the first legal way to kill a person, by disobeying the law one would receive capital punishment, and thus the death penalty was born. Since creation, Capital punishment has vastly evolved with each decade bringing a new and fast way to kill. The first person ever condemned to the death penalty was executed by a public hanging in June of 1790, in the United States; it was done publicly so that citizens could see what happens to those who defy the law. In the beginning only hangings were used as a way to end the life of the criminal. It wasn’t until the 1880’s when inventor Thomas Edison began experimenting with the power of electrocution, which then leads to the first execution by electricity in 1890. And with the beginning of the 19th century a new form of killing was introduced, a chamber filled with toxic gas that renders its victims dead. Throughout the lineage of the death penalty rules have changed and some rules left untouched, but all in all the purpose of capital punishment has always been clear. It maintains control over the criminals, as well as showing them the legal consequence for their actions, while also delivering the legal punishment of their wrong doing. Claim #1:

Capital punishment was never intended to be sympathetic; the slaying of the criminal is done to show them the error of their ways, with this ultimate fatality. In the United States the main use for the death penalty is in cases involving first degree murder. How could someone be so immoral and take another living person’s life? Others believe the death penalty is brutal, sadistic and unfair, Bruce Fein, a Constitutional Lawyer and General Counsel to the Center for Law and Accountability states “The death penalty honors human dignity by treating the defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own destiny for good or for ill; it does not treat him as an animal with no moral sense” (ProCon Death Penalty). This essentially states that the criminal made their choice to defy the law in the first place, and now they’re on a path they’ve set for themselves, which will lead to their own demise. Refutation #1:

Capital punishment teaches the receiver nothing; it is just a dark and twisted way to end a criminal’s life. Surely the death sentence maybe the rightful punishment for their action, but even so taking the life of another human is corrupted. Preforming the death penalty on a criminal proves were just as evil as them, using this inhuman way to deliver their punishment. To support this reasoning is William Brennan a member of the Supreme Court “Death is… an unusually severe punishment, unusual in its pain, in its finality, and in its enormity… The fatal constitutional infirmity in the punishment of death is that it treats ‘members of the human race as nonhumans” (ProCon Death Penalty). No human being should have to experience such a monstrous way to perish, evil or not there’s always a more benevolent way. Claim #2:

Fear is a response we have when we feel threatened, fear is good though; fear is something we can use to strike in the felonious. The death penalty proves as a deterrent to criminals who rebel against the law. Offering life in prison to criminal would show the criminal a sympathetic gesture they aren’t worth of receiving. By implementing the death sentence on to unlawful people we can demonstration to other criminals out there that this is what happens to those who challenge the law, hoping it initiate’s fear in their hearts and persuade them not to complete their erroneous actions. Death is feared, because death is something final, death is the end. Asserting this statement is Ernest Van Den Haag a Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University. “People fear nothing more than death. Therefore, nothing will deter a criminal more than the fear of death… life in prison is less feared. Murderers clearly prefer it to execution — otherwise, they would not try to be sentenced to life in prison instead of death… Therefore, a life sentence must be less deterrent than a death sentence. And we must execute murderers as long as it is merely possible that their execution protects citizens from future murder” (Death Penalty Deterrence). They’ve made their choice to disobey the law; therefore they should accept the execution they’ve earned, they’ve made their choice to kill, why should they get a second choice to live? Refutation #2:

The death penalty is meant to put an end to crime rates and plant terror in
future criminals so that they will not contribute in the act of violence. But it does no such thing, crime grows higher every day, criminals do not fear death, because they continue to perform illegal actions. The death penalty serves no purpose if crime is still increasing; corresponding to this quarrel is Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States. “One argument for the death penalty is that it is a strong deterrent to murder and other violent crimes. In fact, evidence shows just the opposite. The homicide rate is at least five times greater in the United States than in any Western European country, all without the death penalty” (Death Penalty Deter Crime). This statement identifies that other nations that don’t have capital punishment have far less crime then we do, it’s time to change our evil ways of capital punishment, and put a stop to the death sentence. Claim #3:

Revenge is what we feel when someone we love gets taken from us, especially the families of the victims involved in homicide, and that’s what capital punishment does. The families are entitled to get retribution for the ones they love; certainly they’d feel more at peace knowing the criminal is no longer a threat, above all the family members and friends could get their final closure. It certainly isn’t fair that their loved ones have been killed; the death penalty would give the loved ones some concluding justice, giving the criminal his/her due for their cruel actions. That being said J. Budziszewsk a Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas states “Society is justly ordered when each person receives what is due to him. Crime disturbs this just order, for the criminal takes from people their lives, peace, liberties, and worldly goods in order to give himself undeserved benefits. Deserved punishment protects society morally by restoring this just order, making the wrongdoer pay a price equivalent to the harm he has done” (Death Pro). Agreeing with Budziszewsk, capital punishment maybe worth it after all, providing the loved ones with some peace and everlasting justice. Refutation #3:

Seeking retribution does absolutely nothing, sure for a brief two minutes the criminal experiences total pain, but spending their entire life rotting a way in prison would be more ideal. Undoubtedly the family and friends of the
victim would feel at ease knowing the oppressor is dead, but to know the oppressor is suffering, living everyday hell on earth would be what he/she truly deserves. Mistakes like taking someone’s life are unforgiveable, surely anybody could agree with that, however continuing that cycle would be inhuman. To support this statement is Raymond A. Schroth a Professor at St. Peter’s College “Retribution is just another word for revenge, and the desire for revenge is one of the lowest human emotions — perhaps sometimes understandable, but not really a rational response to a critical situation” (Con Death). Retaliation is not the answer, surely we know better than to take the life of someone who’s taken a life, that’s what makes us superior to criminals. Conclusion:

Though the government will continue to use this unethical way to punish the convicted, there are numerous organizations and groups of people who are abolitionist trying to outlaw the death penalty altogether. Certainly there are other ways to enforce fear in criminals, without actually killing them but yet we chose to unsympathetically end their lives. The United States should realize how much we are truly spending on executions, for these criminals who don’t even deserved such a luxury. Death is the easy way out for most, sure it’d be painful for them, but they deserve a lifetime of pain; life in prison offers them a torture much worse than death. As a nation we need to realize how truly wrong it is to take someone’s life, we need to realize we’re superior. It is the government’s job to encourage justice, not punish the guilty. Almost every species kills, but only one chooses to willingly kill their own, humans. “The wrong thing done for the right reason is still the wrong thing” (Charmed Quotes).

Work Cited
A. Rogers, Simon, and Mona Chalabi. “Death Penalty Statistics, Country by Country.”Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. B. “Top 10 Pros and Cons – Death Penalty – ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d.Web. 27 Feb. 2014. C. “Methods of Execution.” DPIC. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011. Web. 01 Mar. 2014. D. Meehan, Mary. “Ten Reasons To Oppose the Death Penalty.” America Staging. TheNational Catholic Review, n.d. Web. 1 Mar. 2014. E. “Historical Timeline – Death Penalty –
ProCon.org.” ProConorg Headlines. Nonprofit,n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. F. “5 Arguments For And Against The Death Penalty.” Listverse. FHOKE, 1 June 2013.Web. 30 Mar. 2014. G. “Charmed Quotes.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.

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