Capital Punishment in the US: Effective Justice or Unnecessary Cruelty?
Lethal injection, electrocution, lynching, death by firing squad, the gas chamber; these are the five ways that the death penalty is still carried out in the United States. As brutal as these sound, it used to be much worse. In historical times, people used to be executed by crucifixion, boiling in oil, drawing and quartering, impalement, beheading, burning alive, crushing, tearing, and even stoning. The methods used today are meant to punish heinous crimes, and rid the earth these dangerous criminals, instead of the intentional torture that was inflicted by the historical approaches. Many Americans, especially those of a religious persuasion, are opposed to the usage of the death penalty today. They feel that it is cruel and inhumane, unnecessary, and an irrevocable punishment. Personally, I disagree with this opinion, for several reasons. I believe that it may be a cruel punishment, but a necessary one that fits some crimes. Also, even though it is true that the mistake of executing the wrong person can’t be corrected, this can be prevented by proper investigation before conviction. In this essay, I will be addressing the morality of this conviction, cost of death vs. life in prison, how effectively the death penalty deters criminals, the chance of irrevocable mistakes, as well as giving supporting arguments for both sides.
Personally, I believe that the death penalty is the most effective form of punishment for some crimes, such as murders. The first argument I would like to address is the morality issue. In the article “Public Opinion and the Death Penalty: A Qualitative Approach”, Falco and Freiburger state that “The crimes of rape, torture, and murder pivot on a moral code that escapes indisputable proof by expert testimony. Abolitionists may contend that the death penalty is inherently immoral because governments should never take human life, no matter...