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United States

Capital Punishment

March 21, 2016

Capital Punishment
The topic of capital punishment has been talked about for years.  It was first banned in 1972, as it violated the rules of the eighth amendment.  This created a great deal of controversy around the topic.  However, the topic was revisited by the Supreme Court in 1976 (Christof, Mendez).  Today, most states have the death penalty in various forms including lethal injection.  This is the most commonly used form of capital punishment in the world.  I do not agree with the Supreme Court in allowing the death penalty.  It could constitute cruel and unusual punishment, if not carried out correctly.  For example, recently in Florida a lethal injection went wrong, where it took several minutes of excruciating pain for the inmate to die because the drugs did not have the full effects.  I am glad the Supreme Court is looking into the manner by which the death penalty is administered.  I believe the death penalty is bad for America, it portrays the country in a terrible light , and does not give the convict the necessary time to come to terms with the they committed.
When people commit a serious crime, they often have suicidal thoughts.  For this reason, the death penalty could be used to “help” the inmate.  For fugitives of the law, dying can be seen as letting go of all their troubles.  The death penalty accomplishes this as well.  If the United States executes a convict, they are relieved of their crime by dying.  I feel a better solution would be to sentence the convict to life in prison.  This would give the convict time to think about the crime, and its effect on the victim’s family and society.  It also prevents them from returning back to society.  The whole reason that people are imprisoned is to protect society.
Capital punishment also makes America look uncivilized and chaotic.  The US is among Iran, Iraq, China, and Saudi Arabia as the top five countries which execute criminals(Christof, Mendez).  These countries justify their capital punishment as legal because the US has it also.  As a country, we want to be known as a role model, and a leader in the world.  In the last 20 years, more than 100 inmates on death row have been exonerated (Christof, Mendez).  This shows the public this country cannot implement the death penalty without errors.  In recent years, there have been more botched executions than any other time period.  This means either executing the wrong person, or not performing an execution correctly.  Both of these reasons portray America as a country that cannot implement a serious penalty correctly.
However, people who are for the death penalty could argue the desire for revenge when the convict is a murderer.  My argument to this point is that revenge is one of the lowest human emotions (Brennan).  Although it can be understood, it is not a rational and well-thought-out solution to a problem (Brennan).  If everybody took revenge on people who seriously wronged them, the whole world would be in a state of chaos and crime.  When one person takes revenge on somebody, it just continues the cycle of revenge and avenge (Brennan).  This will ultimately kill the avenger also because someone could take revenge on him/her too.  This is not contributing to the goal of making world peace.
All the reasons I just stated are all traits of a country that is uncivilized and in a state of chaos.  The United States is not that type of country.  We should abolish capital punishment because it could lead to contradictions with the constitution, as well as, the cycle of revenge.  The death penalty cannot remain in our country simply because it is immoral to kill any person.  Do you want there to be constant violence and lawlessness?  I know I would not.  The death penalty could incite this type of society.  Chaos is not a trait of a healthy country.  It is a dead end.

Works Cited
Brennan, William J. "Top 10 Pros and Cons - Death Penalty -" ProConorg
Headlines. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
Heyns, Christof, and Juan Mendez. "Time to Kill the Federal Death Penalty." Wall Street Journal.
05 Nov. 2015: A.15. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.


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1 Comment
  • Jeremy Houle

    Hi! I really liked this piece- it's a topic that I have thought often about. I agree with what you said, that death is more of like a cop-out, like a way of cheating. The problem that I always ran into is this: our jails and prisons are already busting at the seams, and they even have 'private prisons' now to try and keep up with the demand of space- do we have enough space not to execute the people who deserve to be?

    almost 3 years ago