Capital Punishment, Death Penalty – What Are We Waiting For?

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Capital Punishment Essays – What Are We Waiting For?

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“execution prevents eighteen murders per year.”(Hirsch, 122)

Opponents argue that capital punishment is immoral. But if you follow

the Old Testament, it is moral. In one passage from Genesis, “Whoever sheds the

blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed.” Another from Exodus, “Eye for an

eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for

wound, stripe for stripe” (Samaha, 440). It was not very moral of the prisoner

to commit a murder in the first place. Why should it be immoral to execute a

prisoner, but moral to kill an innocent person. “It is as morally right to

punish criminals for their wicked deeds as it is to praise heroes for their

heroic deeds. If it is noble for soldiers to give their lives for their country

in wartime, then it is morally right to claim the lives of murderers for killing

innocent people in peaceable society(Samaha, 441).” According to Professor

Ernest van den Haag: “The life of each man should be sacred to each other man…

it is not enough to proclaim the sacredness and inviolability of human life. It

must be secured as well, by threatening with the loss of their own life those

who violate what has been proclaimed as inviolable-the right of innocents to

live” (Haag, 67).

Other opponents argue that there is the chance of executing an innocent

prisoner. Hugo Adam Bedu and Michael L. Radelet collected evidence of every

capital punishment case after the 1930’s. They concluded that 23 innocent

people, out of several thousand cases in the twentieth century, were convicted

and executed, but all of these mistakes were made because there was a “forced

confession, suppression of evidence, and perjury” (Samaha 442). That means not

one of these persons was actually innocent they just had bad lawyers, or no

lawyers when they had their trial. The last time a truly innocent person was

executed was before the 1930’s.

The biggest argument for capital punishment is retribution. The victims

family often feels relieved when the prisoner has been executed. “Retribution

satisfies the demand for justice. It channels public outrage into the acceptable

form of the criminal sentence. If criminal sentences do not satisfy this demand

for justice, angry citizens may lose respect for law and even, on occasion, take

it into their own hands (Samaha, 414).” The punishment handed out should fit

the crime committed, if a murder is committed then he or she deserves to be

executed. The best solution to the problem is to execute the prisoner right

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