In Cold Blood: Death Penalty

Topics: Capital punishment, Crime, Death row, Murder / Pages: 6 (1404 words) / Published: Oct 9th, 1999
In Cold Blood: Death Penalty

Capital Punishment has been part of the criminal justice system since the earliest of times. The Babylonian Hammurabi Code(ca. 1700 B.C.) decreed death for crimes as minor as the fraudulent sale of beer(Flanders 3). Egyptians could be put to death for disclosing the location of sacred burial sites(Flanders 3). However, in recent times opponents have shown the death penalty to be racist, barbaric, and in violation with the United States
Constitution as "...cruel and unusual punishment." In this country,although laws governing the application of the death penalty have undergone many changes since biblical times, the punishment endures , and controversy has never been greater. A prisoner's death wish cannot grant a right not otherwise possessed.
Abolitionists maintain that the state has no right to kill anyone; . The right to reject life imprisonment and choose death should be respected, but it changes nothing for those who oppose the death at the hands of the state.

The death penalty is irrational- a fact that should carry considerable weight with rationalists. As Albert Camus pointed out, " Capital punishment....has always been a religious punishment and is reconcilable with humanism." In other words, society has long since left behind the archaic and barbous" customs" from the cruel "eye for an eye" anti-human caves of religion- another factor that should raise immediate misgivings for freethinkers.

State killings are morally bankrupt. Why do governments kill people to show other people that killing people is wrong? Humanity becomes associated with murderers when it replicate their deeds. Would society allow rape as the penalty for rape or the burning of arsonists' homes as the penalty for arson?

The state should never have the power to murder its subjects. To give the state this power eliminates the individual's most effective shield against tyranny of the majority and is inconsistent with



Cited: Flanders, Stephen A. Capital Punishment. New York, NY: Facts on File, 1991. Long, Robert Emmet. Criminal Sentencing. New York, NY: H.W. Company, 1995. r

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