The Death Penalty:Social Ethics: Morality and Social Policy

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Death Penalty 1) Two major claims: death penalty serves as a deterrent and death penalty is morally justified because murderers can’t live and you have a right to kill them. 2) The premises and conclusions that the author of the letter outlines are as follows: Death Penalty serves as a deterrent. a. Criminals fear the death penalty. b. Fear of the death penalty deters criminals from carrying guns when engaged in a criminal activity. c. Therefore, death penalty serves as a deterrent. Death Penalty is morally justified. a. Criminals who murder lose the right to life and deserve to die. b. In war, you have a right to kill because you are threatened. c. By being a murderer, you wage war on the citizens. d. It is morally justified to kill criminals who have lost their right to life and whom we have a right to kill. e. Therefore, death penalty is morally justified. 3) Though the claim that death penalty serves as a deterrent is valid, it is controversial in its soundness. It is sound that criminals fear the death penalty. Indeed, death penalty is fearful, as it is irrevocable and takes away the life and future of the criminal sentenced to it. However, the evidences supporting the second premise that is the core function of the claim for the deterrence argument is too excessive. In the letter, the author first presents his own experience to prove that the fear of death penalty deters offenders from carrying a gun. However, using an experience as a proof for deterrence for such a complex and serious punishment as the death penalty is extreme. While supporters of the author may respond with the author’s credibility as a police officer for thirty years, personal experience and insight can’t be extrapolated with possibilities of bias... ... middle of paper ... ... adequate support for the controversy that all killing is morally wrong and that valuing the innocent over the guilty is devaluing human dignity and humanity itself. Moreover, if not all killing is morally wrong, and some quite acceptable, then it stands that death penalty may also be acceptable. In this way, the abolitionist contradicts himself or herself by asserting equal human dignity and worth between the innocent and the convicted that ultimately led to devaluing one human being (the innocent) to another (the guilty). As such, it would only be rational and just to offer aid to the innocent than “to those who are guilty of squandering aid” (Mappes, Zembaty, and DeGrazia 141). Works Cited Mappes, Thomas A., Jane S. Zembaty, and David DeGrazia. "The Death Penalty." Social Ethics: Morality and Social Policy. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 105-53. Print.
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