Capital Punishment

Did you know that in the past 20 years more than 124 convicts on death row have now been exonerated because of new evidence? Or that, some convicted murderers, having served their time, have been released to go on and kill again? Capital punishment is a controversial topic that has been discussed by people for centuries and has been an awkward topic for the police and government. The idea of capital punishment has been floating around for many years from crucifixions to the Lethal Injection.

Capital punishment is defined as the killing of a person by judicial process as punishment; and the crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. My aim today is persuade and inform and in the end lead you to the correct decision that is capital punishment is an unimaginable horror, and is blatantly a miscarriage of power. To start with I am going to tackle the issue head on, not try to distract and delude you by using sneaky techniques, as to only tell my own opinions, but rather to firstly show you the opposition that I face, and how they feel.

They see capital punishment as the way forward for their country and the only way to prevail among the plague of criminals that vilify the name of their country. They feel that it is very important; almost a necessity to have a strong deterrent to crime, that will strike fear throughout the crooks and basically scare them into submission. They feel the only way that is efficient enough to do this is by literally putting the fear of death in their hearts. Most criminals when it comes down to it may be able to kill someone but when it comes back round to them they cannot imagine their own death.

The infamous Margret Thatcher who was the first female Prime Minister Is quoted as Saying “I personally have always voted for the death penalty because I believe that people who go out prepared to take the lives of other people forfeit their own right to live. I believe that that death penalty should be used only very rarely, but I believe that no-one should go out certain that no matter how cruel, how vicious, how hideous their murder, they themselves will not suffer the death penalty. ” This is a view that is also held by a lot of her supporters and is a common view on capital punishment.

One of the main reasons Christians have for believing capital punishment is right, is that they believe it is written in the bible. It does actually state in the bible that “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” however this is written in the old testament and modern Christians now live more by the new testament, and now finally consider some of the old views very extremist. An also there are so many contradictions in the bible that you probably can’t find a quote that doesn’t have another one stating the exact opposite.

In addition to that note, a quote against capital punishment is quite simply that in the Ten Commandments it states “thou must not kill” Another view on capital punishment, that people who consider it ok, is that it is maybe even more humane than sending someone to prison. To spend the rest of your life sitting in a cell block the size of a big cupboard and not having any freedom is torture. Seeing the same blank walls every day, the same bed, the same ceiling, this is what would drive you mad.

An interesting case of this is the situation concerning a man called Gary Gilmore. Gary Gilmore committed two accounts murder and was consequently sentenced to life imprisonment; however after he was told this he demanded that he be given the death sentence instead. The jury then went and reconsidered this and came out and told him his wish would be followed and he could either be killed by hanging or firing squad. To which he replied “I’d rather be shot”. This is a peculiar case in which for once the person chose death over imprisonment.

This shows how a prison is consider even worse than death in some people eyes. However it may be thought that Gary was not a perfectly mentally stable person as when he was asked if he had any final words he simply said “let’s do it”. He showed no remorse for his actions and was eerily calm about his impending death. The other side of this argument is that capital punishment is barbaric, brutal and unjust. It is a misuse of power, and where the life of another human being is taken, so it is essentially murder.

It is quoted as being “the special and eternal sign of barbarism. Where the death penalty is applied, barbarism dominates; where the death penalty is rare, civilisation reigns. ” This was said by Victor Hugo a member of the national assembly of France. This represents how many people feel that it is a malicious act or even crime that society is able to kill another man. There are several incontrovertible arguments with capital punishment, and they are simply that you may put an innocent man to death, and it leaves you no way of reversing that choice.

If they were imprisoned they could be released, but once they have been killed there is nothing you can do to repent. Also naturally we are human so our minds can be persuaded by emotions and we lose our objectivity and become lost in emotion which changes our decision. So when you have a jury that decides whether they are innocent they can never be sure and so rely upon their own feelings to decide the convict’s fate. It was Albert Einstein who famously quoted on capital punishment “I have reached the conviction that the abolition of the death penalty is desirable.

Reasons: 1) Irreparability in the event of an error of justice, 2) Detrimental moral influence of the execution procedure on those who, whether directly or indirectly, have to do with the procedure. ” This is undeniably the most logical way to look at the problem, and sums up the way many people look at the problem. Also to prove this point since 1973, 124 people have been exonerated from death row. If these people hadn’t been proven innocent in time they would have been killed.

They would of then found out they were innocent too late and they would already be dead and that is irreversible. Finally to put into perspective what all of this means, it is that naturally we are all enraged and incensed by extreme acts of violence upon people, like murder, but it is not down to us to decide whether or not someone else lives or dies. We do not hold that power. The risk of an innocent person being sent to death and how that is irreparable is too great a risk to take. So the capital punishment is an aged barbaric tool that needs to be left behind.