Is the Death Penalty Right or Wrong?The idea of putting another human
to death is hard to completely fathom. The physical mechanics involved in the
act of execution are easy to grasp, but the emotions involved in carrying out a
death sentence on another person, regardless of how much they deserve it, is
beyond my own understanding. I know it must be painful, dehumanizing, and
sickening. However, this act is sometimes necessary and it is our responsibility as
a society to see that it is done.
Opponents of capital punishment have basically four arguments.
The first is that there is a possibility of error. However, the chance
that there might be an error is separate from the issue of whether the
death penalty can be justified or not. If an error does occur, and an
innocent person is executed, then the problem lies in the court system,
not in the death penalty. Furthermore, most activities in our world, in
which humans are involved, possess a possibility of injury or death.
Construction, sports, driving, and air travel all offer the possibility of
accidental death even though the highest levels of precautions are taken.
These activities continue to take place, and continue to occasionally take
human lives, because we have all decided, as a society, that the
advantages outweigh the unintended loss. We have also decided that the
advantages of having dangerous murderers removed from our society outweigh
the losses of the offender.
The second argument against capital punishment is that it is
unfair in its administration. Statistics show that the poor and
minorities are more likely to receive the death penalty. Once again, this
is a separate issue.
It can't be disputed sadly, the rich are more likely to get off with a
lesser sentence, and this bias is wrong. However, this is yet another
problem of our current court system. The racial and economic bias is not
a valid argument against the death penalty. It is an argument against the
courts and their unfair system of sentencing.
The third argument is actually a rebuttal to a claim made by some
supporters of the death penalty. The claim is that the threat of capital
punishment reduces violent crimes. Opponents of the death penalty do not
agree and have a valid argument when they say, "The claims that capital
punishment reduces violent crime is inconclusive and certainly not
I am not refuting this accusation. In fact, statistics show that the
death penalty neither lowers or raises the incidence of violent crimes. I
am not a supporter of the death penalty because it might scare potential
criminals into thinking twice before they murdered someone (though it
would be nice if it did). I support the death penalty because it removes
individuals who threaten the lives of our citizens.
The fourth argument is that the length of stay on death row, with
its endless appeals, delays, technicalities, and retrials, keep a person
waiting for death for years on end. It is both cruel and costly. This is
the least credible argument against capital punishment. The main cause of
such inefficiencies is the appeals process, which allows capital cases to
bounce back and forth between state and federal courts for years on end.
If supporting a death row inmate for the rest their life costs less than
putting them to death, and ending their financial burden on society, then
the problem lies in the court system, not in the death penalty. As for
the additional argument, that making a prisoner wait for years to be
executed is cruel, then would not waiting for death in prison for the rest
of your life be just as cruel, as in the case of life imprisonment without
Many Americans will tell you why they are in favor of the death
penalty. It is what they deserve. It prevents them from ever murdering
again. It removes the...
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