Capital Punishment: Fair Or Unfair?

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The most severe form of punishment of all legal sentences is that of death. This is referred to as the death penalty, or “capital punishment”; this is the most severe form of corporal punishment, requiring law enforcement officers to actually kill the offender. It has been banned in numerous countries, in the United States, however an earlier move to eliminate capital punishment has now been reversed and more and more states are resorting to capital punishment for such serious offenses namely murder. “Lex talionis”, mentioned by the Bible encourages “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” mentality, and people have been using it regularly for centuries. We use it in reference to burglary, adultery, and various other situations, although, some people enforce it on a different level, some people use it in reference to death. An individual may steal from those who have stolen from him/her, or an individual wrongs those who have wronged him/her, but should an individual have the right to kill to seek retaliation? Four issues are on the hot topic in the United States, stirring up America’s feelings towards this issue. There is controversy debating capital punishment today and whether or not it works, or if it is morally right. We have a certain privilege in our own lives, but should the lives of others belong to us as well. Do we have the right to decide on the lives of others, of people we may not even know? If we find someone guilty of murder, we sentence him to death. This makes us murders ourselves, but is there possibility in justifying these acts? Those who assist in the death penalty are they not partners in crime? Is the death penalty a cruel and unusual punishment or is it now just a necessary tool in the war of crime? With today’s increase in crime and violence in our society, the death penalty effects every American, whether interested or not, and has existed for quite some time now. The use of the death penalty has actually declined throughout the industrial Western World since the 19th century. In 1972, a movement in America to have the death penalty declared unconstitutional arose, during the landmark case of Furman vs. Georgia, declaring the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment, nonetheless, a Supreme Court decision in 1975, Gregg vs. Georgia, stated capital punishment did not violate the eighth Amendment rights, and the executions began... ... middle of paper ... ...cause we do not live in a civilized society, whereas mass murders and those who create such devious and heinous crimes will surface at different times, and there needs to be a way of ending their madness. We live in a day and age where killing happens everyday though, and first time offenders, for example, should receive a life sentence, teaching the individual, and those around the individual that if “You do the crime, you pay the time.” Stricter bans on parole for those who receive life, more equality in sentencing and, a lot fewer death sentencings to capital punishment would vastly improve the United States’ legal system, and put an end to this exhausting argument. Bibliography: Sources Cited #1.) Jacoby, Jeff. “The Accuracy of Capital Punishment.” Boston Globe Feb. 2000: 37+. #2.) Horwitz, Joshua L. Frontline: The Execution. New York: Knopf, 1998. #3.) Bonevac, Daniel. Today’s Moral Issues; Classic and Contemporary Perspectives. California, Mayfield, 1999. #4.) Bailey, William. Social Science & Capital Punishment. Boston: Beacon, 1996. #5.) Discussion: Topic on Capital Punishment, Joseph Chapel, Tony Fusco, Raymond Brown, Deborah Jacobs. Seton Hall University, 2001.

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