Morality and Death Penalty

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Morality of Capital Punishment

Every human life is precious. This is something that has been taught by the Roman Catholic Church for years. Each day one is alive can be seen as a gift from God. As a result of this gift, we hear many people come up with phrases such as “Live everyday as your last”, or “Live as if you’ll die tomorrow”. Unfortunately, for some, these phrases can be more than just a saying. They can be facts. The people, for whom this holds truth, tend to be disliked by many and even hated by some. The type of person who faces a simple phrase such as “Live as if you’ll die tomorrow” as something that is actually the truth, is typically not a person with much freedom. This type of person, like many other in the same situation, fall under one category; a criminal. A criminal is one held under imprisonment for committing a violent or unlawful act. The type of criminal who lives in uncertainty of their own life is left with the fear of execution every day, due to their act of murder on another human being. This idea brings forth the moral argument of Capital Punishment. Capital Punishment is defined as the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime. The idea of taking a life as a means of punishing someone for murder has been the subject of a long and often heated debate. While many contend that Capital punishment serves the judicial system as a deterrent to crime and as a lawful penalty many others contend that Capital Punishment is both morally and ethically wrong. Capital Punishment has been used by the United States Government for decades. The government has found that the idea of the death penalty as a just way to punish those who have committed murder. Across the United States of America there are 34 states that actively use Capital Punishment. Most notably are Texas, California, Florida, and even smaller states such as Delaware. The other 16 states, for example, New York, have abolished Capital Punishment at some point in their history. Most recently is Illinois, who abolished the death penalty in their state earlier this year. Of those states that continue to use capital punishment, Texas remains the highest enforcer with 477 executions since 1976. This alone is an astonishing number, and it does not include the high execution rate up to the 50’s. In total, the United States of America, as a whole, have executed 1277 criminals. So far to date, there have been 43 executions in 2011. Most prisoners are forced to wait on Death Row prior to their execution for roughly 170 months. Nonetheless, when their day does come, many prisoners are forced to decide in what manner they wish to be killed. There are five methods of execution that consist of: lethal injection, electrocution, firing squad, hanging, and a gas chamber. The most frequently used in the U.S is the lethal injection. The least likely to be used is a firing squad or a gas chamber. A total of 1103 prisoners have been put to death by lethal injection since 1976 (Dieter 1). Overall, Capital Punishment has been held as a viable way to punish those convicted of a serious murder, despite its brutal method. Many find that Capital Punishment is a practical manner to punish those convicted of murder. This belief stems from the idea that Capital Punishment is a deterrent of crime. In other words, many find that the use of the death penalty publicly decreases the average crime rate. Researchers, who believe this, have found that each execution can be associated with 3 fewer murders in the state of which the execution took place. These scientists are stating that with the execution of one, three lives are saved. In addition, researchers have discovered that executions deter the murder of not only whites, but African-Americans as well. Each execution prevents the murder of one white person, 1.5 African-Americans, and 0.5 persons of other races. In other terms, one execution saves the life of not only one race of people, but many. Lastly,...
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