Essay, Research Paper: Death Penalty


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There are four main reasons for punishment: rehabilitation (to return someone to
a former status), reformation (to re-form or re-create an individual),
deterrence (to deter others or to deter the person punished), and retribution
(an eye for an eye). The death penalty is a punishment to a person in which the
person is put to death for a very serious crime they have committed, usually
when they take another person's life. Our state and federal legislators have
created laws that specifically identify which crimes a person commits that can
be punishable by the death penalty. The death penalty is seen as a deterrent to
increasing and more serious crime. If members of the society know that if they
commit serious crimes they could be put to death for it, they are less likely to
commit these crimes. However, there is great disagreement in our society about
whether it is a true deterrent to crime or not. When I think of the thousands of
inhabitants of Death Rows in the prisons in this reaction is:
"What's taking us so long? Let's get that electrical current flowing. Drop
those pebbles now!" Whenever I argue this with friends who have opposite
views, they say that I don't have enough regard for the most marvelous of
miracles - human life. Just the opposite: It's because I have so much regard for
human life that I favor capital punishment. Murder is the most terrible crime
there is. Anything less than the death penalty is an insult to the victim and
society. It says...that we don't value the victim's life enough to punish the
killer fully. Many abolition supporters quote, "the death penalty is not a
deterrent." Many abolitionist also add there is NO deterrent for a murderer
(there will always be a few individuals that are up for a challenge no matter
what the consequences are for their crimes in my opinion). Since jail is neither
a deterrent in essence, according to those that wish to abolish the death
penalty, how long before "jail time" for murderers would be their next
punishment to target for removal from our books. One argument states that the
death penalty does not deter murder. Dismissing capital punishment on that basis
requires us to eliminate all prisons as well because they do not seem to be any
more effective in the deterrence of crime. Others say that states which do have
the death penalty have higher crime rates than those that don't, that a more
severe punishment only inspires more severe crimes. I must point out that every
state in the union is different. These differences include the populations,
number of cities, and yes, the crime rates. Strongly urbanized states are more
likely to have higher crime rates than states that are more rural, such as those
that lack capital punishment. The states that have capital punishment have it
because of their high crime rate, not the other way around. Abolitionists claim
that there are alternatives to the death penalty. They say that life in prison
without parole serves just as well. Certainly, if you ignore all the murders
criminals commit within prison when they kill prison guards and other inmates,
and also when they kill decent citizens upon escape, like Dawud Mu'Min who was
serving a 48-year sentence for the 1973 murder of a cab driver when he escaped a
road work gang and stabbed to death a storekeeper named Gadys Nopwasky in a 1988
robbery that netted $4.00. Fortunately, there is now no chance of Mu'Min
committing murder again. He was executed by the state of Virginia on November
14, 1997. Another flaw is that life imprisonment tends to deteriorate with the
passing of time. Take the Moore case in New York State for example. In 1962,
James Moore raped and strangled 14-year-old Pamela Moss. Her parents decided to
spare Moore the death penalty on the condition that he be sentenced to life in
prison without parole. Later on, thanks to a change in sentencing laws in 1982,
James Moore is eligible for parole every two years! If Pamela's parents knew
that they couldn't trust the state, Moore could have been executed long ago and
they could have put the whole horrible incident behind them forever. Instead
they have a nightmare to deal with biannually. I'll bet not a day goes by that
they don't kick themselves for being foolish enough to trust the liberal sham
that is life imprisonment and rehabilitation. (According to the US Department of
Justice, the average prison sentence served for murder is five years and eleven
months.) Putting a murderer away for life just isn't good enough. Laws change,
so do parole boards, and people forget the past. Those are things that cause
life imprisonment to weather away. As long as the murderer lives, there is
always a chance, no matter how small, that he will strike again. And there are
people who run the criminal justice system who are naive enough to allow him to
repeat his crime. Abolitionists claim that the death penalty is
un-constitutional by quoting the eighth amendment which forbids "cruel and
unusual punishment." "Cruel and unusual" has never been defined
by our founding fathers, but let's examine the issue anyway. Where does the
Supreme Court stand on the "cruel and unusual" claim of the
abolitionists? In several cases the Justices of the Supreme Court have held that
the DP is not cruel and/or unusual , and is in fact, a Constitutionally
acceptable remedy for a criminal act. There are those who insist that the
Constitution does not support the death penalty. This is simply not true. The
Fifth Amendment states: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or
otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury,
except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in
actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject
for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be
compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived
of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private
property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” There is a
popular saying that only God has the right to take a human life. But nowhere in
the bible is this statement confirmed. Indeed, Genesis 9:6, God states:
"Whoever shedeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood shall be shed."
Also, in the time when God was giving His law to Moses and His people, He said,
"He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death."
Exodus 21:12 "Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer
who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death." Numbers 35:31
"So you shall not pollute the land where you are; for blood defiles the
land, and no atonement can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed on
it, except by the blood of him who shed it." Numbers 35:33 The whole reason
why nations and governments exist is to defend their decent citizens from
vicious criminals. When it fails to do that, they become of little use to its
citizens. When a society ignores their moral duty to defend the safety and
security of their decent citizens and leaves them at the mercy of violent
criminals, they are not being "civilized," they are being negligent. I
am certain that there will come a time when all the nations in the world will be
forced to agree after decades of experience on this issue, that capital
punishment, like the military and the police force and taxes, is an inevitable
and unavoidable consequence of every civilized society and it will no longer be
a question of whether or not a nation should have the death penalty, but rather
how it should be used. While I believe that prompt and consistent executions
would have a deterrent effect, there remains one great virtue, even for
infrequent executions. The recidivism rate for capital punishment is zero. No
executed murderer has ever killed again. You can't say that about those
sentenced to prison, even if you are an abolitionist. By giving a murderer the
death penalty, we are treating him with the same respect he treated his victim.
We are giving them what they deserve, exactly what they did to the victim. If
someone kills and only receives 15 years in jail, this is stating that the
victim’s life was only worth 15 years. When in reality, the person’s life
was worth another person’s life. Even life in jail, is still giving the
murderer partial freedom, this freedom is to live. By taking his life, he is
losing freedom, which is exactly what he took away from his victim. Equal
treatment and justice demands a punishment that matches the crime. Capital
punishment for premeditated murder provides exactly this. The death penalty is
the only punishment, if any that will deter anyone from committing such the
horrible crime of murder. The thing that most people fear most is death. If
anything will stop the murderer from killing it is the thought that he might die
himself. If he kills a victim, he kills himself. This if any will be the only
hope that less murders will occur. Any other punishment is reversible, death
isn’t. My group feels that the killing of another human being without reason
is cold and cruel, and should never go without an equal sentence. To murder
someone shows that you have no conscience and are very liable to do the same
thing again, if you were to get the chance. There is no way of guaranteeing that
the convict will never kill again, he could be let out on bail or escape from
jail. The murderer will kill and kill until he is caught again. With the death
penalty time, money, and lives would’ve been saved. As it states in the Bible:
“Whosoever shedeth the man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed.” The
Old Testament, Genesis 9:6 This states that if a man kills, by man he shall die.
The Bible also states: “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for a hand,
foot for a foot.” The Old Testament, Numbers 21:24 This states that whatever
was done to the victim shall be done to the culprit. I believe murderers should
be put to death because the person’s life who they have taken away has also
affected and destroyed the lives of the person’s family and friends. These
people will be put at ease knowing that justice was served to the murderer and
that he is now dead. These are just a few of the reasons that lead me to believe
that the death penalty is not only a suitable sentence for a convicted murderer
but a must! It all comes down to one thing: if someone kills an innocent person,
the same act he has done deserves to be done to him.

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