The Death Penalty: For or Against?
Much has been said about the sanctity of human life. The gift of life is a privilege bestowed upon us. Even though each life may travel different roads, encounter different experiences, there is one fact that binds all life together: we only live once. The quality of life, however, is a variable factor that is sometimes beyond our mortal means of control. It is undeniable, though, that everyone is entitled to an equal shot at the many chances life presents to us. Out of this concept arises the debate over capital punishment. There are those who despise the death penalty for its apparent cruelty and the finality that it implies. Others look upon it as the ideal and only way to pay proper respect to the importance of human life. The pertinent issue to be examined is whether the death penalty is truly justified in its execution, and if it is the only, and ultimately the most suitable, means of paying homage to the value of human life. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” It is on this basis that many “anti- death penalty” activists argue their case, by claiming that the government flagrantly disregards the sanctity of human life by disallowing the criminals their right to live. Then there are those who claim that the death penalty is hypocritical because while it sends out a message that murder is a crime that should be condemned, the government is doing precisely what it condemns by murdering a criminal. Yet others bring out the seemingly futility of executing criminals: they preach peace and forgiveness, and despise the death penalty for its seeming emphasis on vengeance. These are valid arguments and clearly have their own logic. However, it is my personal opinion that the death penalty is justified not only for its punishment of criminals, but also as the most respectable way to uphold the sanctity of human life. It should be understood...
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