View Full Version : Capital Punishment

02-01-2007, 08:06 PM
Well it seems to me that heavy conversation has been lacking recently (maybe it was the occurrence of the random fact threads), so I decided to post up an argumentative essay on the death penalty that I just wrote.

The debates concerning capital punishment are numerous, and each one is heated, reaching into many aspects of life. Although probably everybody has a stand on whether or not we should sentence criminals to death, most have never put solid reason behind their opinion. Capital punishment touches on moral, religious, and logical grounds. Is it justifiable? Are we trying to “play God” by executing people? No matter the question a person poses in an attempt to denounce the use of capital punishment, there is always an answer that is in the same realm as the question, be it religion or economics or anything else. Capital punishment is unquestionably practical and justified.

The biggest point of opposition to capital punishment is that it does not actually deter crime. There is no hard evidence that the administration of the death penalty has a direct effect on the murder rates in this country, but there is a very strong correlation. The point is commonly brought up that states that have, and use, the death penalty actually have higher murder rates than states that do not. This point is brought up by the very same people that say that capital punishment does not affect homicide rates. It could just as easily go the other way to say that some states use capital punishment because they have high murder rates. The fact of the matter is that executions and murder rates are related. From 1968 to 1976, executions across the country were put on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case challenging the constitutionality of capital punishment. During that time, murder rates increased by 36.1%. In 1960, there were 56 executions and 9,140 murders. By 1964, there were only 15 executions and 9,250 murders. Between 1964 and 1975, there was a total of 10 executions and homicides had risen to 20,510.

After the national moratorium on capital punishment had passed and execution resumed, the murder rates began to drop. Researchers began a study on the affectivity of capital punishment in Utah:
On January 17, 1977, Gary Gilmore was executed by a firing squad at the Utah State Prison. After the execution, there was a 20% decrease in the murder rate from the year before. A similar situation occurred in 1987 when Utah executed Pierre Dale Selby for murder. During the eight months before the execution, Utah had a monthly average of 4.75 murders. During the four months following Selby’s execution, there were 16 murders, a monthly average of 4.0 and a 16% decrease. During the six month period following the execution of Arthur Gary Bishop on June 10, 1988, Utah showed a 19% drop in the murder rate.

When faced with an argument of religion or morality, the main point is that it is not just to kill another human being and that it undermines their natural human rights. But almost all religions make distinctions between the severity of certain sins, the worst of which is the mortal sin or some equivalent. The common belief is that this type of sin shuts the sinner off from the source of his or her own moral privileges. Basically, by making the choice to commit such heinous acts that are condemnable to death, that person gives up his rights as a human, his right to life. Since 1900, it has not been proven that any innocent person has been wrongfully stripped of his or her right to life.

Another argument in opposition to the death penalty is that it is not economically favorable. The point is made that the cost of capital punishment can be between one and seven million dollars when all is said and done. By contrast, the average total cost of life imprisonment without parole is $500,000. What these statistics do not account for is the fact that most of the money going into capital punishment cases is not in fact the government’s, but is the cost of appeals, paid for by the convicted felon. On the other hand, the cost of a life sentence includes living expenses and medical, dental, and psychological health care services, all paid for in full by our government through our tax dollars.

There is legitimate evidence to show that capital punishment is both effective and justified. There is a strong correlation to show that low murder rates are connected to the use of the death penalty, supporting the theory that capital punishment is in fact a deterrent of crime. Capital punishment is also justified on a moral level, as legal executions do not violate any inherent human rights. It is also a strongly favorable economic alternative to the sentence of life without parole. This leaves no strong, arguable reason that the death penalty not an effective form of punishment in our world today.

02-01-2007, 08:09 PM
Please don't let this thread turn into a flame war. I put a lot of work into this essay and would appreciate that you respect me and the other members here by refraining from intentionally offensive comments.

02-02-2007, 11:15 AM
good essay

i stick with the "an eye for an eye" saying

02-02-2007, 05:53 PM
"some states are trying to abloish the death penality, my state's putting in an express lane. If more than 3 people saw you do what you did, you dont wait on death row for 30 years ,jack, you get to skip to the front of the line.'

-Ron white

my .02