How Capital Punishment Affirms Life

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Gary Hammontree

ENG 104 M. Williams                

Argument Analysis


Death and Justice:

How Capital Punishment Affirms Life

Mr. Koch’s essay in defense of capital punishment starts with the statements made by two death row inmates at the time of their executions.  Both men made statements that killing is wrong and that in turn, the state is wrong in putting them to death.  These men were convicted of murdering and or raping at least six people.  

Mr. Koch expresses that life is indeed precious and that if the death penalty were a perceived possibility in the minds of these men it might have acted as a deterrent.  That sentiment may or not be true.  In our past, there were more capital offenses on the books.  Rape was at one time a capital offense.  Rape a woman and die.  Oddly, there was a significantly lower incidence of rape forty or fifty years ago.  The random snatching, assault, rape, and or murder of a woman were an isolated event, something that we did not hear of on a daily basis.  That is no longer the case, we are inundated with news stories of rape and murder every single day.  Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to carry out a death penalty conviction.  Prisoners remain on death row for decades before their sentence is carried out or overturned on appeal.  The result is that there truly is no fear of the death penalty, and no deterrent effect.

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Mr. Koch refutes several common reasons that are given for the abolishment of the death penalty.

  1. The death penalty is barbaric.  Former Mayor Koch cites the reform in death penalty methods (lethal injection) as being a non-violent, non-barbaric method, but the protestations persist.  Therefore, it is not the method that opponents find barbaric, but rather the sentence itself, he concludes.  Mayor Koch states, “if we create a society in which injustice is not tolerated, incidents of murder – the most flagrant form of injustice – will diminish.
  2. No other democracy uses the death penalty.  Simply ...

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