Anderson Issues

Commentary on the Zeitgeist

Is the Death Penalty Effective?

Posted by Rhino on November 5, 2010

Is it effective or ineffective? Is it morally just, or unjust?

Though capital punishment has been used by many cultures, countries, and societies, throughout all of human history, is it justified? Is it morally acceptable to kill a killer? Do we fight fire with fire, or no? Both those for and against the usage of capital punishment have valid arguments and/or statistics to back up and prove their points of view.

Here is a brief history of the death penalty, brought to you by the Death Penalty Information Center

The first established death penalty laws date as far back as the 18th Century B.C. in the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon, which justified and used the death penalty for 25 different types of crimes. The death penalty was also in the 17th Century B.C.’s Draconian Code of Athens, which made death the only punishment for all crimes, as well as in the 5th Century B.C.’s Roman Law of the Twelve Tablets. Death sentences were carried out by means such as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement.

Britain influenced America’s use of the death penalty more than any other country. When European settlers came to the new world, they brought the practice of capital punishment.

Currently, some states allow the death penalty, while other states do not. Texas, if you didn’t already know, does have the death penalty. In fact, it uses capital punishment more than any other state in the U.S.  Statistics on the capital punishment show that its usage has increased by an enormous amount within the last 30 years. This compares positively to the crime rate. It seems to be the pattern that the more capital punishment enforced, the lower the crime rate the following year.

Justice Stewart, held in the Supreme Court in Gregg v. Georgia, claimed:

We may nevertheless assume safely there are murders,

such as those who act in passion, for whom the threat of

death has little or no deterrent effect.  But for many others,

the death penalty undoubtedly,  is a significant deterrent.

Crime growth has been increasing, which reflects the criminal leniency rate.  There are many loop holes devised for offenders, and because of that  crime rate has increased drastically. More and more people are being  murdered, raped, assaulted, kidnapped, and robbed, etc.

We’ve all heard the false insanity pleas, as well as the numerous loop holes that criminals and their attorneys use to get them out of serving a long sentence, or facing the death penalty. Though, don’t get me wrong, there are numerous accounts of legitimate insanity pleas, etc.

Those opposed to capital punishment:

The obvious argument- why is it just to kill a killer? Does that not stoop us to the same level as the killer him/her self? Its hypocritical, it seems improper, inhumane, immoral (in the eyes of some).

The American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) is working to put an end to state-sanctioned murder in the United States.  They claim it is extremely disturbing to anyone who values human life.

Jeremy Irons speaking out against the death penalty:

A helpful site for a more in-depth look on capital punishment’s legality, history, and statistical analysis can be found here.

So what do you think? Is capital punishment justified, given the statistics and history, or is it not justified, given the moral positions  and statements? Is it fair, or not? Should it be allowed? You be the judge.

23 Responses to “Is the Death Penalty Effective?”

  1. Nice post. Great topic. Hopefully we’ll get some discussion rolling on this issue. I’m debating about whether or not to watch this film later this year in CI.

  2. will12 said

    Tough decision. I feel that justice is critical to ensure safety in America. Those who do wrong should be punished to harshly inform them of their doings. This also establishes a fear in people that persuades them to obey the law and act with good conduct. But is it completely fair to strip criminals of their life? The U.S. Bill of Rights does say that one has the right to “Life”. Howerver to argue against this point, the Bill of Rights does not provide the right to murder others. When applied to criminals who murder, they should be punished for their severe violation, but the catch is the Government does not have the right to kill the criminal, because that would be depriving the right to life. To me on a constitutional level, the death penalty is not constitutional. But when I remove the constitution from the equation, I view murder as very wrong, in which the punishment for it should not be lightly applied. The death penalty does remove humans who have committed serious faults, and in a sense makes our world a better place in a physical way, but on a moral way, the death penalty is not right. It is a very tough decision to choose a side, but if I was forced to pick, I would side with no death penalty.

  3. petertv53 said

    In regards to to the death sentence, I believe a convict should be given the choice between the death penalty and a life sentence. There are those that would probably rather end their life, then spend the rest of it in prison and vice versa. If the convict was given a choice, then there wouldn’t the question of morality, because the convict would have sole control over their fate, and they could decide what’s best for them

    • will12 said

      I think that is a good idea actually. It seems kind of awkward to do such, but that does seem like a way that can lower the controversy of death sentences. I agree, that some people may chose to end their life, and if they can accept that, then it works out for them (kind of sad though). If a criminal wants to continue their life, they could chose so. Seems like a very awkward idea at first, but I think that is actually an interesting proposal.

  4. lil dreezy said

    I don’t think we should have the authority to take the life of another. We are not a perfect species and there have been too many times where an innocent person is falsly convicted and sent to jail.

  5. JAT said

    I agree, I don’t believe one person should have the power to make a decision that determines the life of another. I don’t think as human beings we posess the right, or the integrity for that matter, to take the life of another human.

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  8. cr0uchingtiger said

    Personally, I am against the death penalty, I think forced death upon a person is unjust regardless of the circumstances. Every person on the planet should have the unalienable right to live. However, extremely harsh punishments should still be placed upon such extreme criminals, such a life sentences and solitary confinement. I think the death penalty is actually almost an “easy way out” for criminals who have commited heinous deeds, and I think the more sever punishment would be allowing the person to live and suffer with guilt and applied consequences.

    • DuBLorD said

      Cr0uchingtiger you can look at it as better to make criminals live it out but other people look at that as cruel and unusual punishment. By makeing some one sit for there hole life which say they are 20 can be over 60 years or more and if they are made to spend it in solitary confinement then that can make the criminal go insane from being all alone and having nothing to do. Which can mean that, that polisie of makeing them live out a sentence in jail and in solitary confinement can be looked to as unconstutetional. I personaly am for the death penality but i also feel that it is such a contreversal topic that it is something that no one can realy just say is how it is it is something that no one can realy be sure about. I suppourt the capital punishment not because i wish for people to die but that by getting read of people who are actually guilty and insanewe are doing the world better and most likely saving lifes.

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  12. Keirstin olivarez said

    I’m doing an essay on “is the death penalty effective” and it’s a debate I say that the death penalty is effective in positive and sometimes negatives ways but one things for sure they won’t be able to commit that crime again

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