Capital Punishment: Morally Correct? Essay

2187 words - 9 pages

Capital Punishment, Morally Correct?

March 18
2011

The case for Capital Punishment

Michael Kincannon

Since the beginning of civilized societies the death penalty has been practiced and there has been controversy whether it is morally correct, justice served, or just flat wrong. It has been a part of civilization since the beginning of recorded history, but has faced much scrutiny in recent years. A popular anti-capital punishment slogan reads, "We kill people who kill people to show people that killing people is wrong"1. Is there really such irony in capital punishment as the slogan implies? No, there is not. Abolitionists would like for us to believe that kill, execute, and murder are all interchangeable terms, but they are not. Now, let us insert the proper terms into their "slogan" and see what we get: "We execute people who murder people to show people that murdering people is wrong." I can see why they would like us to believe that those terms mean the same thing, their "slogan" loses the ground it is standing on. I will show you within this essay how and why capital punishment is both morally correct and a proper form of justice.To begin we must first understand what capital punishment is, Wikipedia defines capital punishment as, "the infliction of death upon a person by judicial process as a punishment for an offence"2. The term Capital originates from Latin "capitalis"2 literally meaning "regarding the head"2. This is why in ancient times a capital offence was punished by the severing of the head. Now we must also define "morally correct." Wikipedia defines morality as, "a sense of behavioral conduct that differentiates intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (right) and bad (wrong)"3. I assume we all know that correct is a synonym for right and we can put the two together to deduce that morally correct means nothing more than acting on the principles of good. Now for the last part of the puzzle, Dictionary.com defines justice as, "the quality of being just"4 or "the administering of deserved punishment or reward"4. Now that we understand these terms we should be able to better understand the latter parts of this essay.We cannot afford to be soft on decisions that guard the greater interests of civilized society, and from that perspective, capital punishment serves largely by deterring future murders or other capital offences. Fear of death is the ultimate influence upon the human mind and a fear of capital punishment is bound to play in the minds of prospective criminals who would otherwise freely construct plans to murder fellow humans. Also, it diffuses the human tendency to murder out of revenge or momentary fits of rage. In fact, capital punishment creates a mechanism in people to resist the temptation of murder. Therefore society needs this kind of regulation to minimize the occurrence of murder. According to Ernest Van Den Haag, Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University, "the fear of capital...

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