Freedom to live

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1 April 2016

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During the ancient times before imprisonment, there were executions and executions only which were rather completed by stoning. There were consisted of several reasons as to why the capital punishment was needed. The United States inherited its use of capital punishment from the European settlers in the seventeenth century but in the eighteenth century, German philosopher Immanuel Kant appealed that execution was the “fairest punishment for murder”. He presented that it is the most suitable punishment for those who have committed murder and that a person who has done wrong should suffer for it. Arguing that killers should “die in order to gain release from their suffering”, including that the crime must fit the punishment. Arguments against the death penalty expose capital punishment for what some believe is a reasonable punishment, while others view it as revenge disguised as justice but overall, is continuously an issue that would not be equally discussed and abolished world-wide.

Disagreements about the death penalty mostly turn on issues of fairness, morality and effectiveness. There consists of endless reasons as to why the death penalty is to be abolished. One of many is that executions cost more than life in prison. According to Statistic Brain, it costs nearly 2 million per person to be executed, all which consists of maximum security, counsel for defense and others. Another popular point is that the innocent may be wrongly executed. This is a high risk because evidence, DNA, and witness statements are not one hundred percent reliable. A slightly relevant case was a falsely executed man named Cameron Todd Willingham. He was executed in Texas, known to be the number one state with the highest rate of executions. He was accused of allegedly setting his house on fire that killed his three young daughters. He repeatedly claimed his innocence and the arson investigator was questioned right before Willingham’s’ execution. After his execution, an investigative report discovered the fire was an accident.

Several reasons include that the death penalty punishment does not necessarily decrease the crime rate, that life in prison also guarantees no future crimes, some religions forbid death penalty, killing is wrong even through a punishment, that it violates international human rights laws and that it promotes killing as a satisfactory solution to a difficult problem. A common factor as to why people oppose the death penalty is because of the cruelty of the act itself, such as the common contemporary methods of execution, such as by shooting, hanging, using gas, electrocution and lethal injection.

According Amnesty International who are strong non-advocates of the death penalty, capital punishment is the decisive rejection of human rights. It is the “premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state”. Half the amounts of US States have banned the death penalty for example New York, finding it unconstitutional. In Just Revenge by Mark Costanzo, he states that most Americans are supportive of the death penalty in the abstract by simply wanting the government to take care of it, “cleanly and efficiently, in a distant prison”. He questions that “is it morally acceptable to subject murderers to psychological torture before we kill them?”. While others assure it is a harsh, inhuman and undignified punishment done “in the name of justice”, including that inflicting punishment on wrongdoers discourages others from wrong doing. Some may say that the death penalty is a way to lash back at those who have harmed us, but cooperatively we must be more reasonable and humane than those who commit the act themselves.

Those who favor the death penalty argue that if there were no death penalty to hold over the head of prisoners, those who have been sentenced to life without parole would be free to commit whatever crimes they chose without fear of increased punishment. Death penalty supporters often press two claims of executing murderers. The first is that it is injustice to the victims of murder if we do not execute their murders. The second claim is that the death penalty is needed to frighten potential murderers. Fear of the execution chamber will restrain potential murders, knowing they could face the executioner and that those who otherwise kill will stop and innocent lives would be saved.

Another factor as to why the death penalty is justified is it giving closure to victims’ families who have suffered tremendously from the loss of their loved one. And also a prisoner can escape prison and give them another chance to kill. The death penalty is said to be needed to protect society from those who would kill again. Many of these factors which relate back to revenge. In some cases, the capital punishment is a “risk taker”. There are certain cases in which killing a criminal can lead to questioning as to whether or not the individual was guilty of the crime.

The death penalty fails to effectively build up a society that is free from crime. Furthermore, it does not relieve the pain and loss of the victims or their families. States have made many proposals as to why capital punishment is wrong. As citizens, the death penalty does not alleviate the fear of violent crime or better safe-guard the people and is not imposed with fairness. Pope John Paul II made a very clear point in a statement he made about the death penalty. He stated “the death penalty does not allow the opportunity for the spiritual and human reconciliation with the victim” and also that “we cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing”. This quote is a very good example to supporting the idea of abolishing the death penalty that we cannot teach that murdering an individual is wrong by killing a criminal.

Depending on the country, there are different views as to whether the death penalty should be abolished or not. The factors on both sides of the argument have led to the abolition of the death penalty in Eastern Europe. For example, Ukraine has put a pause to its punishment of the death penalty, as well as South Africa, whose parliament voted to formally abolish the death penalty, which had earlier been declared unconstitutional by the constitutional court. Their constitutional court believes that death is the most extreme form of punishment. They believe every individual has the right to life, dignity, public opinion. Not only is this an issue in the United States, but very well around the world. In India, the Indian Penal Code authorizes the imposition of the death sentence as a penalty of murder.

Although it is nearly impossible for the abolishment of the death penalty to be equalized and understood by both sides of the arguments, the ideas and opinions shall never fade. With several states not having the death penalty, the real question is whether or not we need the death penalty. Capital punishment is not the core of our criminal system; its only one aspect of it. Only a small percentage of murderers are sentenced to death, and only a small percentage of that are executed. The real question is whether we insist on keeping the death penalty even though we don’t need it.


“End Capital Punishment.” Abolish the Death Penalty. Amnesty International USA, 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.

Costanzo, Mark. Just Revenge: Costs and Consequences of the Death Penalty. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997. Print.

Bureau of Justice Statistics. “Death Penalty Statistics.” Statistic Brain RSS. Statistic Brain Research Institute, 6 Aug. 2012. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.

Kronenwetter, Michael. Capital Punishment: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2001. Print.

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