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Capital Punishment

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Capital Punishment: Right or Wrong?

Capital Punishment? The question as to whether the state has the right to execute a person found guilty of murder has been debated at length for decades. As with the subject of abortion, it is one of the most controversial topics of discussion in our country today. According to the website religious www.tolerance.org, about 60 to 80% of American adults say they want to retain capital punishment (2). In fact, there are only 12 states that have chosen not to enact the death penalty since the ruling of the Supreme Court in 1976 that said it was constitutionally permissible to have capital punishment (Bonner 1). This strikes me as being rather odd since a large number of those same people claim to be Christians and the main thrust of Christianity is love and forgiveness, not vengeance. At the same time, a number of Christians are opposed to abortion, but are in favor of the death penalty. This belief does not make sense to me; if the life of the unborn is considered precious, then all life should be considered precious, including those who have allegedly committed terrible crimes.

Opponents of the death penalty believe that the death penalty is a form of cruel and unusual punishment, is racially biased, can often times be meted out to an innocent person, and is not a deterrent against future murders. Let us begin by first dealing with the issue of the death penalty as being a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Are there terrible murders being committed in this country today? Absolutely. And should these murderers be brought to justice? Here again, I would say without hesitation, of course. However, I do not know how you can execute a person for committing murder, thereby committing the same act that he is condemned for. In other words, murder is murder, whether it be by an individual or by the state. Murder is often a crime of passion and not a preplanned act. Can you say the same thing about executing someone either by the electric chair or injection? The end result is the same, a person is dead, and it is very much a premeditated act carried out in a very mechanical, systematic way. In some respects, capital punishment is no better than the actions of a serial killer; it is killing for the sake of killing. I feel that if a person is deemed to be a threat to society then he should be removed from society and not...

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...east that way, if he is innocent, he would have the opportunity to prove his innocence. Upon researching this subject, I was extremely disturbed to find that the United States is one of the few countries that still has the death penalty. We really need to take another look at our justice system and try to bring about changes. The answer to society’s problems is not to just get rid of those people we believe are a threat to our security, but try to get to the root of the problem. If we don’t, there are always going to be others who will take the place of those we have executed.

Bibliography

Bonner, Raymond and Fessenden, Ford. “Absence of Executions” New York Times – 22 Sept., 2000.

http://eyore.lcspub.psu.edu.2065/universe/document Capital Punishment; The Death Penalty – All Sides to the Topic

http://www.religioustolerance.org/execute.htm Dieter, Esq., Richard C. The Death Penalty in Black & White: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Decides. June 1998 http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/racerpt.html. Rosenberg, Paul. “Making a Case to Stop Convicting the Innocent” Denver Post, Denver, Colo. 22 April, 2000

Will, George F. “Innocent on Death Row” The Washington Post April 6, 2000
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