The Death Of The Death Penalty Philosophy Essay
The death penalty has been in existence for over two centuries, yet it is still facing reform challenges. Repeatedly, there has been controversy in today’s society about whether capital punishment is a form of “cruel and unusual” punishment. Capital punishment is the inflicting of death upon a person by judicial process, as a punishment for an offense. Capital punishment attempts to deter crime or capital offenses with the fear of death, though crimes are inevitable. Many people have based their stance on capital punishment on their beliefs of moral and pragmatic thought by the ways the felt towards the rights of human beings. In my opinion can we justify death with death? Mahatma Gandhi, a prominent leader of India’s independence movement, stated, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” (Gandhi). We should not kill simply because someone else has killed, this does not fix problems, nor create a better world. I believe the death penalty should be abolished.
Death is considered one of the most violent crimes and penalty anyone con inflict on a individual because they both deprive its victims of completing a long life or fulfilling a potential future. Capital punishment should be abolished.
The constitution is the rule of the land in which we abide by. There have been many disputes on whether capital punishment has broken that law by violating the eighth amendment of cruel and unusual punishment. An article from This Nation states that:
“[. . .] the term "cruel" is taken to mean excessively painful or brutal. Punishments such as torture and dismemberment seem to clearly fall under this heading. "Unusual" has generally been understood to mean a punishment that is not usually associated with a particular crime but which is nonetheless applied arbitrarily in some cases” (ThisNation).
In which I agree, capital punishment is supposed to be a quick painless process but in some cases it is not. In an article from Nursing Standard, they reported “[. . .] figures which revealed that 21 of 49 executed inmates had postmodern thiopental concentration consistent with consciousness” (Lethal). Capital punishment is seen to be “‘the machinery of death’” called by Justice Harry Blackmun because it is “[. . .] capricious, discriminatory and barbaric” (Broken). Not only is capital punishment unusual and cruel but defies the bible morally. When has death become our decision? When did it become our way of playing God? The Bible states thou should not kill and never clearly gives us any acceptable means to kill.
Some would argue that capital punishment helps to prevent or discourage potential acts of crime, because institutes fear of crime. The founder and president of rainbow Coalition and editor at the Nation challenged the logic of deterrence and found “[. . .] the philosophical justifications might be for capital punishment, [but] deterring crime isn’t among them. A 1995 poll by Hart Research Associates found that just 1 percent of the nation’s police chiefs believe the death penalty significantly reduces the number of homicide” (Jackson, Jackson Jr., and Shapiro 20). The police are daily crime fighters and a reliable source. As a reliable source, one can assume they are informed of the potential hazards of crime or whether results change in the community. Instead the death penalty contributes to the problem. Robert Rantoul a state representative did research and concluded “that by devaluing human life and sanctioning an official policy of vengeance, the death penalty actually increased the violence in society and hence, the murder rate” (Jackson, Jackson Jr., and Shapiro 21). Robert Rantoul basically implied that homicide rates are conditioned by other factors than death penalty.
Justice is the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity which capital punishment does not guarantee. Capital punishment attempts to give justice, but is justice always served? An abolitionist, William Berry proclaimed, “the use of the death penalty [. . .] has been steadily decreasing during the past decade.” He went on to state that this is mainly because we have “[. . .] continued discovery of individuals on death row who are actually innocent of the crimes they allegedly committed, and [. . .] the increasing use of life without parole as a sentencing alternative to the death penalty” (Berry). Upon reviewing the cases that the death penalty has been given out, one can see that the judge and the jury were not 100 percent correct in all of these instances. We have been able to come to this conclusion as a result of biological evidence. This evidence shows that victims who were innocent have lost their lives due to the lack of technological advancement. William S. McFeely said, “Post-mortem DNA tests have shown that some people was innocent of the crimes for which they were executed.” Capital punishment is a dire punishment with dire effects, taking the accused to a place of no return. Capital punishment is irreversible. This makes it impossible to correct miscarriages of justice, which lead to the unintended death of some innocent in the long run. The accused should be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt but if not they accused should be sentenced to life rather than death. Though most victims are guilty, the burden of death is not only left on them, but the family as well. Why the family should be left with the burden of death when the murderer was at fault.
Those people that believe in capital punishment do so because it is one of those punishments that create fear in a person in a mental state of mind also causing retribution and reformation. Though the majority of people know that capital punishment is murder, they believe that the defendant deserved it and should get a taste of their own medicine. Capital punishment is one of those process that will “rid the state of a present nuisance” from committing an act of deviance again. “Some claim that capital punishment saves the state money because it is relieved of the care of a murderer. This seems not to be the case” (McFeely).
Given the benefits of capital punishment, it is hard to imagine why anyone would be against it, but there are several arguments against the death sentence that need to be addressed. Death is a one step process with no return. So how would reformation be a process in capital punishment? In the process of capital punishment, giving someone the death sentence requires legal expenditures according to William S. McFeely:
This seems not to be the case. Not only are the structures and personnel necessary to maintain a death row costly, but states also incur heavy legal costs in carrying out the necessary appeals process. Perhaps the most frequently cited rationale for the death penalty is that it deters others from committing crime.
The death penalty does not account for those who are mentally unstable or incapable people. “Abolitionist argue that most murderers cannot think rationally enough to deterred by any penalty, including death. Most murders are crimes of passion, committed in moments of intense” (Kronenwetter, 27). It obvious that we need to rid the world of nuisance but there is alternatives such as life sentencing.
We should ban capital punishment because there is an alternative with less dire effect and possible reverse. The possibility of killing an innocent person is a risk alone we cannot take. Life sentencing without parole has been known to save victims lives, save the government money and rid the world of nuisance.
"Lethal injection on trial in the US as 'cruel' punishment." Nursing Standard 20.31 (2006): 18. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 30 Apr. 2011.
"The Broken Machinery of Death - NYTimes.com." The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/19/opinion/19sat3.html?scp=18&sq=death%20penalty&st=cse>.
"ThisNation.com--Is the death penalty Constitutional?." ThisNation.com-American Government & Politics Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://www.thisnation.com/question/018.html>
Berry, William W. "ENDING DEATH BY DANGEROUSNESS: A PATH TO THE DE FACTO ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY." Arizona Law Review 52.4 (2010): 889-924. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 30 Apr. 2011.
Jackson, Jesse L. Sr., Jesse L. Jr. Jackson, and Bruce Shapiro. "The Deterrent Effect of the Death Penalty Is a Myth." Does capital punishment deter crime? . Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2007. 20-21. Print.
McFeely, William S.. "Trial and Error: Capital Punishment in U.S. History." History Matters: The U.S. Survey Course on the Web. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2011. <http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5420>.
Kronenwetter, Michael. Capital punishment: a reference handbook. 2nd ed. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2001. Print.
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