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Capital Punishment - an Eye for an Eye

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Capital Punishment - An Eye for an Eye

Capital Punishment - An Eye for an Eye

What are you waiting for? Push the drugs, pull the switch, release the trap door, do whatever it takes to end the life of that convicted murderer on death row. One who has been charged, tried, and convicted, by a jury of his peers, should pay the ultimate price for the heinous crime they chose to commit. What better way to deter someone else of committing the same atrocity. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and yes, a life for a life. "Of the roughly 52,000 state prison inmates serving time for murder in 1984, an estimated 810 had previously been convicted of murder and had killed 821 persons following their previous murder convictions. Executing each of these inmates would have saved 821 lives." (Stanford Law Review, 1988 November, p. 153). Clearly, those executed can't murder again. Still, there are those that view capital punishment as barbaric, and as reprehensible as the crime of murder itself. I support capital punishment for the reason that it is the most appropriate punishment for the willful taking of one's life that we have available to us today.

According to David Garland, in his Washington Post article, "much of what we think we know about American capital punishment comes from the longstanding debate that surrounds the institution. But in making their opposing claims, death-penalty proponents and their abolitionist adversaries perpetrate myths and half-truths that distort the facts." (2010, para.1). Opponents to capital punishment believe there are many reasons the death penalty should be abolished. It is a complex issue and it is difficult to point to any single fact or argument as the most important.

Death penalty opponents cite various claims to support their stance on this issue. Statements such as:

There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of imprisonment. States that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates. The death penalty has no deterrent effect. Claims that each execution deters a certain number of murders have been thoroughly discredited by social science research. (ACLU, 2007)

along with:

Since the reinstatement of the modern death penalty, 87 people have been freed from death row because they were later proven innocent. That is a demonstrated error rate of 1 innocent person for every 7 persons executed. When the consequences are life and death, we need to demand the same standard for our system of justice as we would for our airlines... It is a central pillar of our criminal justice system that it is better that many guilty people go free than that one innocent should suffer. (Feingold, 2000)

and finally, many contend that the USA is keeping company with notorious human rights abusers. They remind us that the vast majority of countries in Western Europe, North America and South America have abandoned capital punishment as a means of punishment for the crime of murder. They identify the United States as one of the major advocates and users of capital punishment, in so doing, placing the USA in the same company as Iraq, Iran and China.

Awareness of opposing views requires one to revaluate one's



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