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Death Penalty Essay
Mark Velarde

Posted on 04/18/2004 1:59:02 PM PDT by markv840

This is just a little something I wrote back in 2001.

The death penalty shows, in the strongest way, the seriousness with which the state views violent crimes and murder. It defends the punishment as such, and confirms that certain criminals deserve death. Capital punishment remains legal in 38 states, many of which allow death row prisoners to decide the method to be used in their execution. Currently, the most common method used is lethal injection, in which the subject lies in a gurney while chemicals first relaxes and causes the prisoner to loose consciousness; the lethal agents are only administered only after he/she is unconscious. Can it be any less gruesome than this? It is certainly more humane than whatever their victims had to go through. Due to the seriousness of the crimes committed by those in death row, their punishment cannot be other than death. If society opted for any other punishment for these criminals, it would simply be unfair for those who were close to the victims. Despite some objections to it, death penalty is nothing but fair, and should, without a doubt, remain legal.

An eye for an eye; the victims’ families deserve justice, and they will be given closure and peace of mind by making murderers pay with their own lives. Punishment should always fit the crime, how else can a murderer truly pay for his crime, if not by facing death him/herself? Surely the killer did not think of his victims’ right to live when taking their life; when society punishes murder with death, its decision emphasizes the fairness of laws and the consequences of a person’s actions. “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”, those who take other peoples’ life do not deserve to keep their own.

Society shouldn’t have to pay for the support of a criminal that is to violent to ever be returned to society. Many violent criminals live decades in prison; these murderers make no contribution to society. Still, while they remain in prison they receive medical care, food, housing, education, etc. at no cost to them. Why should the tax dollars of law-abiding criminals be used to keep these murderers alive in jail? That money should be put to better use in schools, defense, or to lower taxes.

Some argue that a government that imposes the death penalty is just as bad as the murderer. Is it ever justifiable for a human being (or government) to willingly take the life of another person? Is it not what the killer said on the first place? The categorical imperative says that one must act not based on utility but on the ultimate values one embraces. If killing is evil, then it may not be done by anyone for any reason. However if one considers that one of the foremost principles of freedom is “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, when a person takes someone else’s life, He/she has violated these fundamental rights, and thus, has given up the right to his/her own life. Then, the logical conclusion is that it is not wrong or evil for a society to act to promote the greater good; the end justifies the means, at least when it comes to a guilty party who is punished.

Furthermore, what about mass murderers and terrorists who kill hundreds, or even thousands of innocent people? Is it fair to just put them in jail? Certainly they did not give their victims a chance to live. Their victims simply had their lives ripped out of them, the perpetrators never thought of the individual lives they were taking; why should society not only let them live, but give them every other privilege that their victims cannot have anymore? It is not unfair for a government to apply capital punishment to a criminal who willingly and unapologetically takes the life of another human being.

Some people believe that a murderer is less likely than other criminals to repeat their crimes; but would it matter to the murder victims whether their killer repeats the crime or not? Even if the criminal commits one single murder, the importance of his victims’ life cannot be overlooked. The death penalty not only shows that society will not tolerate violence, and that it will impose the maximum punishment possible to those who decide to ignore other people’s right to live; but it also helps prevent, with 100% efficiency, the perpetrator from committing a violent crime ever again. Of course, not all people in jail deserve to die, but certainly not all of them deserve to live.

Capital punishment often reminds society that everybody’s actions have consequences. The punishment given to a criminal cannot, under any circumstance, be less severe than the offence committed. Some people do not seem capable of learning from other people’s experience; people who oppose capital punishment often argue that fear of death is not a deterrent to violent criminals. Can society take the risk of trusting that a killer has reformed after years of jail time? John McAdams from the Marquette University’s Department of political science says: “If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This to me is not a tough call.” Even though the death penalty might not be the most popular choice, it is in fact the right one.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: capitalpunishment; deathpenalty; deterrent
This is an essay I wrote a few years ago; I was a junior in high school then. I’d forgotten all about it, until I found it last week, it’s pretty good (IMO). It got published in a college newspaper in Chicago. I put it here because I thought it might make for some interesting reading. :)
1 posted on 04/18/2004 1:59:03 PM PDT by markv840
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: markv840
Nice essay. One overlooked benefit of having the death penalty available is its use as the ultimate threat to encourage defendants to name their co-perpetrators and/or to elicit a confession from a perp who has acted alone. Sometimes a district attorney will offer to give a defendant life without parole if he fesses up.
3 posted on 04/18/2004 2:32:48 PM PDT by TruthShallSetYouFree
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To: markv840
As a high school junior you showed more logic than a lib phd.

The liberal perspective is the guilty deserve life, only the innocent should die.

You see it in abortion, terrorist attacks, crime, child abuse, drug use .
4 posted on 04/18/2004 4:33:28 PM PDT by TASMANIANRED
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5 posted on 04/18/2004 8:34:13 PM PDT by markv840
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