The most severe form of punishment of all legal sentences is that of death. This is referred to as the death penalty, or capital punishment; this is the most severe form of corporal punishment, requiring law enforcement officers to actually kill the offenders. It has been banned in numerous countries, in the United States, however an earlier move to eliminate capital punishment has now been reserved and more and more states are resorting to capital punishment for such serious offenders namely murder. "Lex talionis," mentioned by the Bible encourages "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" mentality, and people have been using it regularly for centuries. We use it in reference to burglary, adultery, and various other situations, although, some people enforce it on a different level, some people use it in reference to death. An individual may steal from those who have stolen from him, or an individual wrongs those who have wronged him, but should an individual have the right to kill to seek retaliation? Four issues are on the hot topic in the United States, stirring up America's feeling towards this issue. There is controversy debating capital punishment today and whether or not it works, or if it is morally right. We have a certain privilege in our own lives, but should the lives of others belong to us as well? Do we have the right to decide on the lives of others; of people we may not even know? If we find someone guilty of murder, we sentence him to death. This makes us murders ourselves, but is there possibility in justifying these acts? Those who assist in the death penalty; are they not partners in crime? Is death penalty a cruel and unusual punishment or is it now just a necessary tool in the war on crime?
The use of death penalty has actually declined throughout the industrial Western World since the 19th century. In 1972, a movement in America to have the death penalty declared unconstitutional arose, during the landmark case of Furman vs. Georgia, declaring the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment. Nonetheless, a Supreme Court decision in 1975, Gregg vs. Georgia, stated capital punishment did not violate the eighth Amendment rights, and the executions began again under state supervision. These inconsistencies and indecisions have obviously sparked a debate. In the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) the death penalty was required for a wide range of offenses, both civil and religious. In the following passages from the King James Version of the Bible, Jehovah required the state to execute a person for murder: Genesis 9:6 states: "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." If sufficient proof were provided that a person had committed a crime, the state imposed the death penalty on the guilty person(s). They were either stoned to death, impaled or burned alive. Witnesses who testified at the trial would often participate in the killing.
Protecting the citizens against harm and wrongdoing is the first and most fundamental duty of government. Capital punishment has turned the tables on fear and put it in the hearts of criminals. People always want to live in a safer place, a place where children can play outside without worry; parents can send their kids to school with peace of mind. People don't have to worry about casting a suspicious eye. Capital punishment is necessary in order for justice to prevail. Capital punishment is the execution of criminals for committing crimes, regarded as so bad that this is the only acceptable punishment. It is one of the only fair punishments allowed by the judicial system. Murder like all other crime is a crime against society. It is for assault upon society that the state inflicts punishment.
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