Argumentative essay death penalty
The problem of the death penalty takes its origin from ancient history and continues to remain the subject of intense social and political debate today. The difficulty in solving it lies in the fact that neither the proponents nor the opponents of the death penalty are able to convincingly prove to the public the need for this extremely merciless type of punishment or the extreme importance of its abolition.
In most countries, public opinion shares the desire of people to preserve the death penalty as a type of punishment that brings true justice to the victims and their families. However, respect for human rights should not depend on public sentiment, as many years of experience have shown the ineffectiveness of the death penalty in preventing crime.
This paper argues that a criminal should get fair and reasonable punishment that would serve the purposes of justice and be worthy of a society where the right to life is considered as an absolute value.
Argument FOR: The death penalty and deterrence
Execution of the criminal gives rise to the illusion that the society has “cleansed” itself and that the life of its members has become more secure. However, execution does not contribute to the fight against the social causes of the most serious crimes. On the contrary, the atmosphere of cruelty and bloodthirsty mercilessness that is legitimized by the state only creates new prerequisites and favorable conditions for even more terrible and cruel crimes.
Moreover, the allegation that the death penalty has a deterrent effect on a criminal is based on the idea of a “rational” criminal.
- Yet, only 5-10% of crimes are premeditated, and if they are prepared in advance, they are committed by mentally unstable people and by the influence of some internal factors that have nothing to do with thoughts of retribution.
- The remaining 85-90% of crimes is usually committed in the state of affect or pseudo-affect, that is, the offender becomes aware of the consequences only after the commission of the crime.
- Thus, the so-called “deterrent effect” does not apply to such people and cannot be a sense-forming factor that could stop one from committing a crime.
Argument AGAINST: The death penalty and justice
The proponents of the death penalty argue that this type of punishment is justified if the offender is extremely dangerous to others. In such cases, imprisonment does not guarantee the safety of the public.
- First, the term of imprisonment will come to an end sooner or later and the offender will be set free, where he can be like a beast that has been released from a cage.
- Second, there is always the possibility of escape.
- Third, even in prison, the offender will be able to encroach on the human dignity and life of his cellmates, staff, guards, or visitors.
- Finally, he will live in prison at the expense of respectable taxpayers. The tragedy of this situation is that there are always relatives or friends of the victim among such taxpayers.
Therefore, they will be forced to pay with their money for the upkeep of the killer of their loved one instead of getting legal retribution. Considering all these possible dangers and a moral dilemma, one may suggest that execution is the only way to save many people from the impending violence and give justice to the victim’s family. From this point of view, the death penalty can indeed be justified, because it helps the state to protect the most important values developed by civilization, and above all the natural right of innocent people to live.
Argument FOR: The death penalty and the value of life
As evident from the discussion above, it is believed that the offender must be executed, because the society, in the case of life imprisonment, will be forced to spend on his upkeep. However, economic expediency should not influence the decision concerning someone’s life and death. Otherwise, why not kill the unemployed people with disabilities, the upkeep of which is also very expensive. Thus, moral issues should not be decided on the basis of mercantile, monetary, or material considerations.
Research shows that the main factors provoking crime are poverty, ignorance, inequality, and/or mental deviations of a particular criminal. With these in mind, one can surely understand that the death penalty cannot affect these causes.
A state that supports the death penalty, in fact, claims that murder is an acceptable way to solve the problems of society.
Society perceives it as an act of justice and, as a result, has a completely distorted concept of solving the problem of crime. People are beginning to think that problems with crimes can really be solved through murder, and they do not think about the reasons that motivate or drive some people to commit serious crimes. However, this primitive perception devalues not only the life of the criminal, but human life as such, making one believe that killing is allowed.
To date, the problem of the death penalty continues to remain the subject of intense social and political debate. However, neither the proponents nor the opponents of the death penalty are able to convincingly prove to the public the need for this extremely merciless type of punishment or the extreme importance of its abolition.
The research of the arguments for and against this type of punishment has made it evident that the death penalty is ineffective in preventing crimes.
Moreover, it creates new prerequisites and favorable conditions for even more terrible and cruel crimes, as well as devalues human life. Therefore, one may argue that a criminal should get fair and reasonable punishment that would serve the purposes of justice and be worthy of a society where the right to life is considered as an absolute value.
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