David Bruck Critical Analysis

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Michael Gonzalez
English 2
Jordan Morgan
29 November 2011
Critical Analysis: “The Death Penalty”
The question addressed by David Bruch’s May 20, 1985 article “The Death Penalty” from The New Republic regards whether capital punishment is just or unjust. In this article, Bruck believes that capital punishment is wrong and that Edward Koch misuses the issue. The tools used by Bruck to address this issue are ineffective. Bruck first attempts to define Koch’s point of view and claims that capital punishment does not work. Next he uses his reinterpretation of Koch’s specific example of J.C. Shaw. Following this, he then uses a specific example intended to demonstrate that states are trying to execute criminals who may be mentally ill. Bruck goes on to use another specific example intended to demonstrate the flaws in the justice system. He then also reinterprets Koch’s use of Bedeau. Frome here, he uses a specific example intended to demonstrate that possibly innocent people have been executed. Bruck follows this up by using another specific example that the death penalty has been used arbitrarily. Near the end of his essay, he claims that the death penalty is a waste and that it does not work. He goes on to also claim that support for the death penalty comes from frustration and rage. Bruck concludes his essay by making an analogy that the lynch law is comparable to the death penalty.

Bruck reinterprets Koch’s example of J.C. Shaw. He claims that Koch mistakenly writes that Shaw’s statement “came in the form of a plea to the governor for clemency but rather Shaw made it only seconds before his death . . . “ What makes Bruck’s claim so ineffective is the fact that he has no proof to back his statement up. It has merely turned into a “he said this, no he said that” situation. What also makes Bruck’s claim questionable to the average reader is that fact that when attacking what Koch had said, he misquotes Koch’s statement of it being “a curiosity of modern life...
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