Argumentation Paper: Death penalty pros and cons
The death penalty or capital punishment as some refer to it, is a very two sided theory. It is and ongoing battle between two groups of people, those who believe its right and the others who are completely against it. The death penalty is designed similar to the eye for and eye rule which is rather self-explanatory, when someone intentionally burns your arm, their arm is burned as punishment. There is an ongoing war of words and on occasion violence between the pro and anti-death penalty believers. Both of these powerful groups stand their ground and don’t give much room at all for the middle man.
One of the most common reasoning’s for anti-death penalty groups is the chance of racial bias and ethnic discrimination. Race is widely evident in the convictions sentenced to the death row instead of life imprisonment. The main cause of these allegations is the fact that According to the NAACP “almost 50 percent of those currently on the federal death row are African American”.() These terms and conditions have definitely brought attention to the chance of pure ethnic discrimination and also gives quite good reasoning for these groups to be against the death penalty.
Deterrence is another large reason why anti-death penalty groups do not believe its right to execute people for their harsh crimes. Most people believe that the death penalty will deter crime more than life imprisonment. Deterrence however has shown in some states not to be affective at all according to the American Civil Liberties union “states that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates. The death penalty has no deterrent effect. States that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates”.() The death penalty has no deterrent effect. . In other words there being no real evidence that having the death penalty will actually deter or change crime rates at all. However it does show that it doesn’t make much sense using the death penalty as a deterrent.
The pro death penalty groups believe that the death penalty is a marginal deterrent, which is the use of severe punishment as a threat to deter people from offending such crimes. According to Ernest Van Den Haag “People fear nothing more than death. Therefore, nothing will deter a criminal more than the fear of death… life in prison is less feared. Murderers clearly prefer it to execution — otherwise, they would not try to be sentenced to life in prison instead of death “. The death penalty is considered by many as a great deterrent as well and should be used as needed when the person or persons convicted are proven guilty. Thus there be no reason at all why they should not be punished in a similar way to the harsh crimes they have committed.
Retribution is another reason why the death penalty was put into action, due to the devastating aftermaths of people lives when they are robbed of their norms in life by losing someone they loved or knew by someone else’s wrong doing. There is no room at all for forgiveness of these intentional acts and therefore the death penalty acting as the closest thing to retribution possible. As stated by J. Budziszewski “Deserved punishment protects society morally by restoring this just order, making the wrongdoer pay a price equivalent to the harm he has done. This is retribution, not to be confused with revenge, which is guided by a different motive”. Retribution is the closest form of peace these people will ever feel after having their lives forever damaged and altered by these horrific events.
The death penalty is a very controversial topic and has its pros and its cons but there is one fact overlooked by many and that’s just imaging your own child, family member or even just someone you knows life being taken by someone else for their own wrong being. Thinking of that alone makes me a strong believer of the death penalty because I know I would want justice for whomever had such harsh crimes committed against them. Therefore I believe if someone’s life is taken there is no reason at all that the person who took that life should get to live, they do not deserve that choice.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) “NAACP
Remains Steadfast in Ending Death Penalty ; Fighting Injustice in America’s Justice System,” NAACP website June 28, 2007
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
“The Death Penalty: Questions and Answers,” ACLU.org
Apr. 9, 2007
Ernest Van Den Haag, PhD
Late Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University
“For the Death Penalty,” New York Times
Oct. 17, 1983
J. Budziszewski, PhD
Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin “Capital Punishment: The Case for Justice,” OrthodoxyToday.org Aug./Sep. 2004