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Capital Punishment

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Introduction

Capital Punishment Capital punishment is a government's response to what society considers the maximum crime. The crimes that are usually deemed the worst are usually limited to intentional murder or treason. However, not all governments consider capital punishment appropriate, and a number of countries do not provide for it. Capital punishment is a nice way of saying execution or retaliatory murder. Simply put, a person who is sentenced for a capital offense faces execution. While the method differs according to what state you live in, the result is nevertheless the same. The larger question concerns the morality of government-sponsored killing. An examination of the issue reveals valid arguments on both sides of the debate. The issue has faced man since society began to develop. It is very likely that the debate will endure long beyond our lives. Those that support capital punishment use a variety of arguments. Some of these begin with the very traditional-the Bible. "An eye for an eye" is often used as an appropriate argument. "The punishment should fit the crime" is another one. ...read more.

Middle

When they leave prison will they be able to function in society in a law-abiding way or not? In capital cases, where the prisoner would not be released, it almost doesn't matter what happens to the criminal. The U.S. Constitution prohibits 'cruel and unusual punishment". Is not an execution "cruel and unusual punishment"? The Supreme Court says that it is not, and for years has allowed for executions. Texas and Florida are two leading states in the area of executions. Yet the result of those states' activities is meager. If advocates of capital punishment believe that it is a deterrent, why is it that the murder rate in these states continue to climb, while in states where there is no capital punishment (Vermont, Massachusetts) the murder rate has actually decreased. Aside from the deterrent debate, there is the moral one. As stated above, does a civilized society have the right to take a life? How can a culture that preaches forgiveness and the value of life, argue in favor of executions? Isn't it interesting that those who generally oppose abortion (basing their argument on the sanctity of life) ...read more.

Conclusion

Yet those who argue for it have not all lost a loved one to murder. Even in the case of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma bomber, a number of relatives of the victims oppose his death. Yet McVeigh himself has dropped his appeals and has asked to be executed as quickly as possible. I find that the entire issue of deterrence is flawed. Murder, by definition, is an irrational act. An irrational person who does not stop and think of the consequences of his action certainly does not stop and think of the possible punishment. In addition, the lack of statistical evidence merely adds to my feelings. With murders continuing to rise in states with plenty of executions, how can one argue that it is acting as a deterrent? As long as we claim that we live in a civilized society, the government must set the standard of our civility. Permitting executions is wrong on its face. We do not prevent murder and we do not promote morality; we merely give in to our weaknesses and uncivilized past. Capital punishment may have been acceptable years ago, but it no longer can be considered civilized. It leaves us no better than the criminal, only with a moralistic excuse for revenge. ...read more.

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