Death Penalty; Right or Wrong?

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The death penalty has been an issue that has continually caused tension in today’s society. The main discussion over this is whether or not the death penalty serves as a valid and justified form of punishment. We have reached the point where if the topic is brought up, extremists on both sides immediately begin to argue the matter. One side says increase in crime rate, the other says failure to discourage crime; one says failure to rehabilitate, the other says it saves lives; one says justice and retribution, the other says revenge. As a society we know that crime is a major part of our lives, and we are all aware that something must be done about it. The only problem now is coming together and finding common ground as to how we solve it. The death penalty has been applied by many parts of the world, from the ancient times of Babylon to present day America. More than an estimated 15, 269 Americans have been executed since the inception of the death penalty dating back to colonial times. History has shown us that capital punishment, whose definition is the use of death as a legally sanctioned punishment, is a very efficient and acceptable means of reducing crime. Is the death penalty really the best choice?

Many criminologists have come to the conclusion that when an execution is publicized more murders occur. Many begin to happen days or even a few weeks after the event. A great example of this is the Lindbergh kidnapping. A reporter called it “the greatest story since the Resurrection.” It was one of the most crucial and most public involved cases in the twenty-first century. “Journalist H. L. Mencken called the trial of Richard Hauptmann, the accused kidnapper of the baby of aviator Charles Lindbergh, "the greatest story since the Resurrection." While Mencken's description is doubtless an exaggeration, measured by the public interest it generated, the Hauptmann trial stands with the O. J. Simpson and Scopes trials as among the most famous trials of the twentieth century. The trial featured America's greatest hero, a good mystery involving ransom notes and voices in dark cemeteries, a crime that is every parent's worst nightmare, and a German-born defendant who fought against U. S. forces in World War I.” (Linder) Many important people were involved and did not stop until Richard Hauptmann was captured and sentenced. Giving the case such publicity began to encourage crime instead of preventing it; showing that the death penalty did not do anything but encourage and welcome more crime. “There is strong evidence that the death penalty does not discourage crime at all. Grant McClellan claims: In 1958 the10 states that had the fewest murders –fewer than two a year per 100,000 populations -were New Hampshire, Iowa, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Utah, North Dakota and Washington. Four of these 10 states had abolished the death penalty. The 10 states, which had the most murderers from eight to fourteen killings per100,000 population were Nevada, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, and Virginia - all of them enforce the death penalty. The fact is that fear of the death penalty has never served to reduce the crime rate.” (Evans) The main point brought up is that death is the one penalty that is irreversible and should be given once all evidence has been taken under consideration. However, many defendants insist on execution, due to the fact that they feel like it would be a much better choice rather than spending life in prison. So the question now lies on whether or not life in prison makes it a crueler fate rather than going for the death penalty. Another great point brought up was that what was done is done and that no matter what the punishment given to the perpetrator may be, it will not bring the victim back to life. Making the death penalty one of the biggest contradictions in today’s society. Basically what the death penalty is is killing someone, who killed someone, to prove that killing is...
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