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Rhetorical Analysis Of Death And Justice By Ed Koch

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Response to “Death and Justice” In the essay “Death and Justice”, Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York City, presents an argument defending the use of capital punishment in heinous murder cases. In advancing his viewpoint on the subject matter, Koch addresses the arguments made by those who oppose the death penalty. This novel approach to making an argument not only engages the reader more in the piece, but also immediately illustrates his balanced understanding of both sides of the argument. Rather than simply presenting a biased or one-sided argument regarding his opinion, Koch explores a full range of issues surrounding the incendiary issue and displays both balance and erudition in expression his opinion on the issue of capital punishment.…show more content…
Koch cites the pleas of the two men executed who argued before they were put to death that murder is wrong regardless of the circumstances. Both convicted killers acknowledged that what they had done was wrong but further contended that putting them to death was equally unjust. From there, Koch begins to make his argument regarding his outlook on the death penalty law. Ironically, Koch was a Democratic mayor of New York City, where traditionally, a person of this profile would be against the use of capital punishment. Republican politicians typically have been the political party most aggressively in favor of the use of capital punishment. In many cases, politicians in Texas, for example, have vigorously defended the use of capital punishment as a means for exacting justice for society as well as preventing future criminal…show more content…
This not only reflected Koch’s intellectual rigor and reach, but also revealed how complex the issue of capital punishment is not only for political leaders but society as a whole. Moreover, it was interesting to see that the essay was published in the New Republic, which has been liberal periodical that typically made editorial arguments against capital punishment. For the publication is to provide Koch with the platform for him to express his viewpoint illustrated in its own intellectual openness and rigor as well as served to further as that was its position as a leading publication regarding critical thought in the United States. Nevertheless, it must have come as a surprise to see Koch’s argument in the magazine at the time as well as for his constituency in New York, given that they traditionally viewed capital punishment as something unjust and horrific. Indeed, Koch recognized this apparent contradiction and irony in his position. At this time in New York history, the death penalty was not an option for punishment for the legal bodies in the state. So, a person who was convicted of first-degree murder had no risk of being put to death. Instead the convicted criminal would at worse face a life sentence in
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