Capital Punishment in America
Capital punishment should be viewed as the stripping away of humanity from a person. The death penalty itself should be "executed" because of racial inequities, the concept of murder, the possibility of error, lack of deterrence, the cost, and an overwhelmed legal system. "The goal of capital punishment is revenge" (Introduction 1). Capital punishment is simply an outlet for the bloodlust of the American people (Introduction 1).
The death penalty is very discriminatory when it comes to racial issues. "The death penalty is fraught with abuses and the potential for abuse" (Moral Arguments 1). Capital punishment is largely "divided along racial lines" (Moral Arguments 1). "A 1990 report released by the Federal Government's General Accounting Office found a pattern of evidence indicating racial disparities in the charging, sentencing, and imposition of the death penalty after the Furman decision'" (Moral Arguments 1). In the 1970's, Professor David Baldus examined sentencing patterns in Georgia. He reviewed over two-thousand five hundred homicide cases in Georgia and controlled for two-hundred and thirty non-racial factors. His conclusion was that "a person accused of killing a white was 4.3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than a person accused of killing a black" (Moral Arguments 1). Imagine the statistics when one adds the rest of the states in our country.
Capital punishment is murder. It really doesn't matter how you look at it. The end result is still the same. "What is the difference between the state killing and an individual killing" (Moral Arguments 1). It adds up to be the same end result. It is "one more dead body, one more set of grieving parents, and one more cemetery slot. When we execute someone, we are sending a profound message of cynicism" about the value of human life (Moral Arguments 2). "Every time we execute someone," we are sinking to the same level as the killer (Moral Arguments 2). "The American people have blood on their hands, and it will stay there until we finally remove this barbaric practice from our nation" (Moral Arguments 2).
One of the most apparent reasons the death penalty should be executed is the possibility of error. "Researchers Radelet and Bedau found 23 cases since 1900 where innocent people were executed" ("Innocence and the Death Penalty" 1). "Since 1973, over eighty people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence" (Innocence and the Death Penalty 1). Statistics say that of the three-thousand six hundred people on death row right now, at least one hundred of them are innocent (Capital Punishment 1). When an innocent person is executed, the real killer is still on the streets ready to victimize someone else (Pragmatic Arguments 1). The most important problem is that when an innocent person is executed, they represent another human being who did not deserve to die.
"It is impossible to say with certainty whether capital punishment significannot ly reduces the incidence of heinous crimes" (President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice 143). The United States has one of the highest crime rates and we are the only western nation that still allows the death penalty (Pragmatic Arguments 1). "A 1995 Hart Research Poll of police chiefs in the United States found that the majority of the chiefs do not believe that the death penalty is an effective law enforcement tool" (Fight the Death Penalty 3). These police chiefs rated reducing drug abuse the highest at 31%, better economy at 17%, simplifying court rules at 16%, longer prison sentences at 15%, more police officers at 10%, reducing guns at 3%, and expanding the death penalty at 1% (Fight the Death Penalty 3). "The theory behind the deterrence doctrine is flawed itself" (Pragmatic Arguments 1). Most murderers don't examine the possibility of capital punishment before they commit a crime. The...
Cited: Greenberg, Jack. "Taking Sides." Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc. 1991.
United States. President 's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. "The
Challenge of Crime in a Free Society." New York: Avon, 1968.
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