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Capital Punishment – Is It The Right Sentence?

1286 words - 5 pages

There have been so many debates surrounding the death penalty or capital punishment and whether or not it is an appropriate method of reprimand for certain criminal acts. The death penalty has often been called barbaric or ancient because of its historical origin. Some traditionalists may hold on to this fact as the very reason to uphold the practice of capital punishment. It is also a belief that capital punishment as a form of extreme consequence is actually a great deterrent to crime. One additional argument is that the death penalty saves taxpayer money by reducing the costs associated with a lifelong sentence of rehabilitation. For these reasons, should the death penalty continue to be upheld in 35 of 50 states, or should capital punishment be nationally eliminated? Capital Punishment should be eliminated as form of punishment or reprimand. It is simply not the right sentence to impose as it is not just, humane, or cost effective.The United States reinstated the death penalty in1976 in the Gregg vs. Georgia case after Furman vs. Georgia case of 1972 had it revoked. At the time the death penalty was revoked, it was on the grounds that it was unconstitutional in nature as it went against the eighth amendment prohibiting cruel and unusual punishments (law). Many view the original rulings to be fair and consider capital punishment a barbaric practice, looking toward the Bible for justification. They cite the biblical passage that exhorts an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. However, if a crime deserves equal punishment, then why do we not rape the rapist or burn the arsonist? A civilized society must be based on values and principles that are higher than those it condemns. To punish killing with death is inherently contradictory. Biblically we are called to live by higher values. In the New Testament, Jesus said that we may have heard it said "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" but he instructed us to "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5:38-41) to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45), to obey the Ten Commandments which tell us not to kill (Exodus 20:13) and not to put ourselves into the position of God by judging whether others live or die (John 8:7). Vengeance and retribution are to be left to God, who is the only one with the perfect capabilities of judgment. If the argument is that serious crimes deserve equal punishments, it is interesting to note, as MacKinnon states in her text, that the death penalty is also assigned as punishment for treason and rape. Capital Punishment is obviously extreme and unequal to such crimes. There are also certain times when the death penalty is not sought for murder cases (297). Of course murder and terrorism and other forms of crime that are punishable by death are as abhorrent and to many worthy of capital punishment. However, the need to continue the cycle of death beyond the initial crime makes the nation just as guilty.A major argument supporting capital punishment is that it serves as a...

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