The Ethics of Capital Punishment

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Americans have argued over the death penalty since the early days of our country. In the United States only 38 states have capital punishment statutes. As of year ended in 1999, in Texas, the state had executed 496 prisoners since 1930. The laws in the United States have change drastically in regards to capital punishment. An example of this would be the years from 1968 to 1977 due to the nearly 10 year moratorium. During those years, the Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment violated the Eight Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. However, this ended in 1976, when the Supreme Court reversed the ruling. They stated that the punishment of sentencing one to death does not perpetually infringe the Constitution. Richard Nixon said, “Contrary to the views of some social theorists, I am convinced that the death penalty can be an effective deterrent against specific crimes.”1 Whether the case be morally, monetarily, or just pure disagreement, citizens have argued the benefits of capital punishment. While we may all want murders off the street, the problem we come to face is that is capital punishment being used for vengeance or as a deterrent.

Capital punishment has been used worldwide, not only the governments to instill fear, but to show that there are repercussions to ones actions. From the time we are born forward, we are taught to learn the difference between right and wrong. It is ingrained in our brains, what happens to people that do bad things. Capital punishment is renowned for being the worst thing that could be brought amongst ones life. It takes away our right to live! This is the strongest impulse that human beings have. So how are we legally able to take this born right away from another? The only justifi...

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...s of society thus inhibiting us from committing more crimes. John Lamperti said, “If executions protected innocent lives through deterrence, which would weigh in the balance against capital punishment's heavy social costs. But despite years of trying, this benefit has not been shown to exist; the only proven effects of capital punishment are its liabilities.”9

In the final analysis we see that it is hard to prove either side. For both arguments can become faulty by debate. Murder no matter how it is done is wrong, how we go about prosecuting those who act against our fellow kind is in the hands of our legal system. However, I do not want them on the streets where the people I love are, nor do I believe that a murderer can change. A person who is capable of killing another human being without cause will never fit into society and thus should not be a part of it.

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