Death Penalty

Topics: Death Penalty, Crime, Murder Pages: 2 (807 words) Published: March 5, 2006
A very controversial subject that brings about many questions is the death penalty. Many people believe that putting people to death for their criminal actions is wrong. In H L Mencken's passage, "The Penalty of Death," he talks about the positive aspects of the death penalty. He covers the point of view of the people that have to administer the execution and how it's a horrible experience. Unlike Michael Kroll's passage, "The Unquiet Death of Robert Harris," which tells us about the death of his friend and is very moving. He decides to cover the negative views using facts from a personal experience. In the view of many people, the death penalty is not the way to teach criminals a lesson. The two passages have different views on what is right verse what is wrong.

In H.L Mencken's passage, "The Penalty of Death," he divides it into two parts. The first part is the argument discussing what the people that execute the criminals have to go through. The other part is that sentencing someone to the death penalty won't stop people from committing the same crime. He says that "there are many other jobs that are unpleasant, and yet no one thinks of abolishing them..." (Pg 432) He fails to talk about the family of the accused and the other people who have to witness it. His statements are unsympathetic, blunt and very harsh. He compares the job of being a garbage man to the job of being an executer. There's nothing similar about taking out the garbage and killing a person. "I have known many who delighted in their ancient art, and practiced it proudly" (pg 433). Mencken goes into talking about Katharsis, which means "letting off steam" which is basically its getting revenge on someone. People "primarily like the satisfaction of seeing the criminal actually before them suffer as he made them suffer" (pg 433). The death penalty should be named a crime also. It's the "deliberate and inexcusable taking of human life," (pg 434). Any lesser...
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