The Death Penalty: It is Never Justified
A young man has been charged with the brutal murder of a seventeen year old girl after raping and mutilating her body. This crime was so heinous and unthinkable that the only punishment that seems to fit the crime is capital punishment; there is merely one problem—the man convicted is innocent. The public is so caught up in bringing justice to the murdered girl that through capital punishment more injustice is brought into the world and the life of another innocent being is taken. There is no going back and undoing the mistake. There is no undoing in the matter of death. The accidental murder of an innocent person through the death penalty is just one way in which the death penalty is a completely unethical, flawed, and unjustified form of punishment. Problems associated with the death penalty such as it being inhumane, discriminatory, and an unfair form of punishment, are reasons that capital punishment is never the answer to aggravated murder [claim].
The death penalty is extremely inhumane. Three common techniques used to perform the sentence include the electric chair, gas chambers, and lethal injection. Supporters of the death penalty argue that modern science has eliminated the factor of pain by lethal injection [rebuttal], but how can this truly be proved? The scientific journal the Nature Publishing Group [backing] reported that almost half the prisoners are still conscious although paralyzed during the lethal injection as the drug stops the heart. The NPG then goes on to state, “If suitably qualified individuals refuse to help prepare a new protocol, the state will face the prospect of continuing to use amateurs to kill people with arbitrary and outmoded technology” (“Amateur” 2) [evidence]. Dying is a painful thing. The punishment of death is already extreme, but the fact that the prisoner is being put down with chemicals that aren’t even provided by physicians or scientists is cruel and lacks any compassion. Andrew Stephen, the United States editor of the New Statesman magazine which reports on current affairs, [backing] also explained the inhumanity of the most humane form of capital punishment: lethal injection. Stephen explained how the potassium chloride used in the injection causes excruciating pain as it makes its way through the veins and into the heart to kill the person. Stephen follows this by stating, “The American Veterinary Medical Association even issued guidelines in 2002 saying that the mix was unacceptable for putting dogs and cats, let alone humans, to sleep” (Stephen 33) [evidence]. How can a democracy in the U.S. which stands for justice possibly support this blatantly inhumane form of punishment that isn’t even suitable for animals? There is no way to properly kill a human being, it is immoral and unjust not matter who it is done to, and therefore does not hold a place in the U.S. jurisdiction.
The death penalty can also be very arbitrary or random in the sense that there is not a set standard for everyone who commits murder to be sentenced to death. It makes little sense how some prisoners who are convicted of terrible murders get the privilege of living while others who did not murder in cold blood do not get the opportunity for rehabilitation and redemption. The cause of such arbitrariness can be attributed to discrimination. David Bruck, who was a Harvard and University of South Carolina graduate, served as a lawyer defending those charged with capital punishment [backing]. Bruck illustrates how unfair capital punishment is in an essay he wrote for The New Republic magazine. Bruck explains how a man from Louisiana named Ernest Knighton killed a gas station owner while robbing the gas station. This is of course a terrible crime; however, the crime was not premeditated and pales in comparison to other gruesome murders, yet somehow Knighton was chosen to be executed. This may be explained by the fact that Knighton was black, the victim was...
Cited: "Amateur Night." Nature 441.7089 (2006): 2. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Apr. 2012.
Bruck, David. "The Death Penalty." The New Republic 20 May 1985. Print.Phillips, Scott. "Criminology: Legal Disparities In The Capital Of Capital Punishment." Journal Of Criminal Law & Criminology 99.3 (2009): 717-755. Academic Search Premier. Web. 10 Apr. 2012.
Koch, Edward I. "Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life." The New Republic 15 Apr. 1985. Print.
Stephen, Andrew. "A Stay Of Execution?." New Statesman 136.4872 (2007): 32-33. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Apr. 2012.
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