Rogerian Argument: Capital Punishment

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For years, politicians have been passionately debating the subject of the capital punishment, which has only served to create more divisions within our society. It is an extremely sensitive subject, and one that inspires strong emotions in both directions. Like abortion, gun laws, and the war on terrorism, capital punishment is an issue on which everyone is never likely to agree. If we examine some arguments presented from both sides, opponents of the capital punishment claim that executing someone is nothing more than an immoral, state-authorized killing which undervalues the human life and destroys our respect for our government which itself says that killing is wrong. But the supporters of the death penalty think that certain murderers do deserve nothing less than a death for themselves and that although everyone is born with the right to live, criminals lose these rights at the moment when they take away the rights of another human and only by punishing them in such way, the society is affirming the value which is placed on the victim’s right to live. Opponents of the capital punishment also claim that the whole principle of the death penalty is overshadowed by the proven risk of executing innocent people and that the avoidable killing of such people can never be justified. And according to Amnesty International, there were more than 400 known cases of wrongful convictions for capital offenses in the U.S. between 1900 and 1991. These facts will of course make a good standing point for the opponents of the capital punishment but its supporters argue that these problems are caused not by the principle itself but its failed implementation and that the opponents use such cases to cloud the real issue.

One other point the opponents are makings is that capital punishment costs more than life-imprisonment. According to their studies, the U.S. spends between $1 and $7 million on capital cases, from arrest to execution, compared to life imprisonment which costs...
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