Capital Punishment: Looking at Both Sides
It’s so hard to say where I stand with the death penalty - Capital Punishment: Looking at Both Sides introduction. There are those moments when a person commits a crime so heinous you’re in that state of mind of wanting the death penalty for them. But then you realize this is a human being. I truly do not believe in the death penalty. To me, I think executing someone for a various form of wrongdoing would not punish them. Instead I think that’s just taking them out of their misery. The punishment for doing something wrong that is, for that the person committing such an act, should not be killed but put through suffering by living in jail for the rest of their life.
It’s tough, and honestly people have their opinions and it’s in their right to go with or without the death penalty. Capital punishment is one of life’s topics that leave many divided opinions due to its risque nature. It has been a subject full of controversy for centuries and still continues to be discussed to this day. Throughout my piece I will explain the case that is pro Capital Punishment, as well as the contrasting side – the opposition. Capital punishment has been the center of much controversy dating back to its origins.
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Although the roots of capital punishment can be traced as far back as 1697 BC, arguments over its effectiveness and morality continue in the midst of its existence today. There are many people who have come up with reasonable arguments for both sides of the issue. Most people who believe that the death penalty is a fair punishment use the argument, “lex talionis”, meaning, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, an arm for an arm, a life for a life. ” (Hooker, 1996, p. 34).
Although in today’s modern society many countries have now opted to declare capital punishment obsolete, some areas still feel that keeping the penalty instated is necessary such as the United States and China. In the times surrounding the origins of capital punishment, it was used for a wide variety of crimes. Capital punishment can also be found in the Bible. The Bible prescribed the death penalty for crimes such as murder, kidnapping and witchcraft. By 1500 AD, in England, only major felonies carried the death penalty: treason, murder, larceny, burglary, rape, and arson (Encyclopedia Britannica).
The United States inherited capital punishment from European settlers in the seventeenth century. They promoted the idea that heinous crimes deserved severe punishment. And this is what brought capital punishment to its present standing. Did you know that in 2009, 13 people were executed in Texas? The total number of executions in Texas since 1976 counts 452 people. By the way, the death penalty is allowed in 34 states and the total number of executions in those states since 1976 counts 1200 people. With the last execution being in Texas on, March 30, 2010.
Plummeting crime rates and recent revelations of innocent men being sentenced to death have eroded public support for capital punishment. Contrary to the argument made earlier, many people still believe that capital punishment does not deter people from committing felonies. According to research conducted by Isaac Ehrlich in a study, spanning from 1957-1982 the number of murders in USA at present is 3 times as large as it was 20-50 years ago, and that is with the death sentence still firmly secured.
It has also, been found that execution is far more costly than imprisoning offenders due to the long waiting times at death row, this is because of the need for special prisons to accommodate the offenders so they have a place to reside while they wait for the congested execution list to reach them, which can result in years of agonizing anticipation. Maintenance is costly as it is needed for the various methods of carrying out the sentence. It is against human morals to participate and condone in the taking of a human life regardless of what they have done to deserve it.
Methods of death can also be torturous as the electric chair has been found to take more than one effort to complete a successful execution. Every person deserves the dignity of a decent withdrawal from life. Surely by accepting a person being killed as cruelly as they killed another, is just as despicable and uncivilized? And finally, the judge may not always be correct, and if so, the decision after carried out is irrevocable, justice would miscarry and the wrongly convicted would never get another chance to be cleared and freed of all charges.
It can be seen therefore that both sides give strong arguments and with such a difficult and sensitive subject it appears an absolute resolve will never be met. In the end, it comes down to opinions and everyone is entitled to their own. Society as a whole does strive to make the best decisions for some nations they feel capital punishment is the correct solution, as for others they feel equally as strong with the alternative approach. What view is correct? We will never know.