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The Death Penalty Is It Justified

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Is the death penalty a service that is justified and valid form punishment? One would say there are two arguments to this topic with several different reasons or explanations. One being prevention, while the other side is saying there is a potential execution of an innocent man; and the other says justice and punishment; and last one says execution is murder. Murder as we know is clearly part of our society, and surely it is evident that something needs to be done about it. A variety of felonies has been committed in various parts of the world and has been attributed by the death penalty.

The death penalty is it justice? For many centuries ago the death penalty has been practiced by many cultures. There are thirty-four states that current have the death penalty and sixteen states that do not have the death penalty, to include Washington D.C. and United States army. The U. S. Navy allows the death penalty. Laws regarding the death penalty dates back to the tenth century from British influence. The death penalty once it traveled to America it was history after that. The death penalty in states where it is legal is trying to encourage the other sixteen states that do not have the death penalty to re-instate in order to show the effectiveness it would have it they used it as a punishment. Innocent until proven guilty, that has long been our motto in the U.S for years. However, what about the family and the family members that are going through the process of death…An issue that is creating all the tension is our society is whether the death penalty is justifiable and a valid form of punishment (House, 2009).

In different parts of the world the death penalty has been assigned to those who commit several offenses from the time of Babylon to present- day America. History on the death penalty (capital punishment), by definition is “the use of death as a legally sanctioned punishment,” is an acceptable and efficient means of deterring crime (House, 2009). The death penalty is a punishment method for murder and heinous crime which is still effective in our society today.

The Moral debate or what has been argued is that the death penalty is a violation of the Eighth Amendment, which says that the U.S should not use “cruel and unusual” punishment. The Supreme Court ruled this unconstitutional from 1972 to 1976 (Honeyman & Ogloff, 1996). But because “punishment is a legal infliction of suffering, it must be somehow be “cruel”. The purpose of our criminal justice system is to protect our rights of life, liberty, and property of all citizens. We know that punishment for some crimes must be harsh in order to deter potential criminals from the act. Terrorism, perjury, kidnapping, treason, and murder are all considered capital crimes or capital offenses (Mossler, 2010).

Punishment for the death penalty should be morally permissible for those who kill. If someone takes the life of an innocent person that is malicious behavior, the murderer is giving up his or her own right to live and society is justified in taking and ending their life. Remember the case of Timothy McVeigh. He killed several people by shooting them. His issues on the death penalty came from arguments on his religion. He said only “God” could end his life; his crime could not justify him getting the death penalty, no matter how much he knew he was guilty, or knowing that he would probable get executed. Rationally speaking we can never be certain in deterrence purposes that people that are convicted of capital crimes are always guilty. The most persuasive objection to capital punishment is the possibility that some convicts will probably not be guilty in the long run (Van, 2001).

Is it human nature to fear death? Will the death penalty deter a person from committing a crime? It will definitely make them think twice before committing a brutal crime like rape and murder because of the death penalty (Bhatti, 2011). The death penalty is the most feared form of punishment and life in prison is just a deterrent and it will never have the same effect as the death penalty. Abolitionists argue that no one would die if we didn’t have capital punishment. We would not be spared a death case; our life span would be shortened in a death sentence case, but if imprisoned it would hastens an unavoidable event (Van, 2001).

The use of the death penalty still has unanswered questions. It may cost the government to house and feed criminals, which is perhaps a life sentence of solitary confinement and it may be more of deterrence to the system. The death penalty brings an escape to prison life. An alternative to the death penalty could be a lifetime of solitary confinement is a nightmare. There is no television, sports activities, games of social activity. If only the public knew that this would be the result of such heinous crimes, maybe these would be murders would think twice about the crimes they commit. There are those on drugs who do not realize what they have done until it is too late. For them, they made the choice to get high and get on those drugs prior to committing that offense. The committed the ultimate crime, they murdered an innocent victim.

As human beings we are often faced with several dilemmas that we may consider wrong according to our own ethics on the death penalty. No one person is right or wrong for having an opinion. It is our personal ethics that help shape who we are today and defines our personality. We are able most of the time to comprehend what death and murder is and to understand that it is morally wrong and it was stated in the Bible. “Do any of us the right to determine who gets the death penalty? Many are against the death penalty, some are for it, it all depends what side fits the code of their personal ethics. I am against. The Bible states that “Thou shall not kill,” and I take that literally, no matter what the situation or circumstance.

Protestants, Evangelical (Amish and Mennonites are exceptions) and Fundamentalists are people who believe in the death penalty and are morally correct. There are religious groups that do not support the death penalty are Amish, Presbyterian, Quaker, Jewish, Catholic and American Baptist (Bern, 1979). They have the moral issues of punishment with the moral right of depriving a human the right to life. Performing the execution is viewed as cruel, inhumane and degrading to one’s life. If the execution is performed it causes an ethical dilemma, depending on the belief. Doctors should not assist in premeditated death; they are sworn to preserve life.

If you have ever watched the movie the Green Mile, it was an intriguing movie on how the staff in the prison was so cold towards the death-row inmates. It makes you wonder how they were filling when performing the execution. I found several articles explaining issues that they go through both mentally and physically while performing these executions. From the Ten Commandments, growing up as children we were always taught that killing was not ok.

Locke’s view regarding conscious, your self is not tied to any particular body or substance, and it only exists in other times and places because of our memory of those experiences; Hume the empiricist believes that the source of all genuine knowledge is our direct sense experience and if we examine our sense experience through process of retrospection, we discover that there is no self (Chaffee, 2010, p. 111). Determinist, “hard” and “soft,” view all humans as necessarily caused events that has passed, indeterminist are convinced that some human actions are independent and the choice of freedom is genuine possibility in some circumstances.

For example, an indeterminist may find themselves at the crossroads and have to make a decision, that choice is least dependent of external or internal events. Then you choose the path to take, you are held responsible for the choice. If you find yourself in the same situation, you choose another choice. Which option do you choose, there is conviction for choosing. Indeterminists leave open the possibility that undetermined actions are simple and random; libertarians are convinced that people are able to make free choices that are genuine by exercising free will. They keep important distinction in mind (Chaffee, 2010, p. 162).

The clear question is, is capital punishment ethically acceptable? I would think not because the state should not have the right to put people to death, although, almost every other country does it in some form or another (but not by some conventional form of punishment). Some countries have firing squads that demoralize their subjects. We still have people that are for the death penalty. States who uphold the death penalty must change their rhetoric to embrace the feeling that we ought never to requite wrong with wrong. It must not use its power in such a way as to violate any list of fundamental right. The right to life requires states to re-establish respect for human life. Universal acceptance and secure protection of the right of every person is the most important good that a society can bestow upon its members. It is entirely righteous that the state acts as final steward of all rights.

Plato, Hobbes and Kant all support the death penalty. In Genesis 9:6, it says; “who so sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed”. The death penalty from the backward-looking position murderers deserve to die and from forward-looking position the death penalty is morally allowed and deterred for all other possible murderers. If you take the life of an innocent victim deliberately is cruel, the murderer not only relinquishes his right to live but society will be justified to sentence him to death (Waller, 2008).

Berns, W. (1979). For capital punishment: Crime and the morality of the death penalty (p. 91). New York: Basic Books Bhatti, S. (2012). Death Penalty Pros. Retrieved from: http:www.buzzle.com/articles/death-penalty-pros.html Chaffee, J. (2010). The Philosopher’s Way: Thinking Critically About Profound Ideas. [VitalSource bookshelf version]. Retrieved from http:digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781256507666/id/ch04figure16 Honeyman, J. C., & Ogloff, J. R. (1996). Capital punishment: Arguments for life and death. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 28(1), 27-35. Retrieved from House, R. (2009). The death penalty and the Principle of Goodness. International Journal of Human Rights. 13(5), 680-688. doi:10.1080/13642980802533224 Introduction to the Death Penalty. Dealthpenaltyinfo.org. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/part-i-history-death-penalty Mosser, K. (2010). Introduction to ethics and social responsibility. San Diego, Bridgeport Education, Inc, Inc. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu Van, d. H. (2001, Jun 11). The ultimate penalty…and a just one: The basics of capital punishment. National Review, 53, 32. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/229633092?accountid?=87314 Waller, B. (2008). Consider ethics: theory, readings, and contemporary issues (2nd ed).

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