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Capital Punishment: The Social, Moral, And Historical Aspects Of This Controversial Topic

1621 words - 6 pages

Capital punishment is seen as the act of killing an individual as a form punishment given to a particular crime. The act is carried out by a lawful hearing in a court of law. Capital punishment applies to cases of murder, but some countries apply capital punishment for fraud, adultery, and treason against the crown. Its use varies in many countries worldwide. Those who use capital punishment often justify their actions with the argument that such harsh punishments will deter prospective murderers from commit the act of murder.
The use of capital punishment goes back “to early English common law, where virtually any person convicted of a felony offence faced a mandatory death sentence, but the practice has always been much more widespread in the [United States, rather] than in the United Kingdom, which abandoned capital punishment in 1973” (Marcus 2007). In 1896 America’s first serial killer, Herman Webster Mudgett’s was executed because he operated a hotel that he called the “Murder Castle,” and entice women, through sexual relationships, to take out life insurance policies with him as the primary beneficiary. Once he had them involved, he tortured and killed them, dissected their bodies, and sold the skeletal remains to medical schools for research. Mudgett confessed to twenty-seven murders, but it could have been more, he was tried and hanged.
In such a case, one could readily identify with the ultimate punishment of death as it relates to the inhumane way he took the lives of innocent victims. His sadistic and premeditated actions placed the rest of the society in fear that anyone could be the next victim. By law, the government is bound by law to protect the safety of all its citizens. With the likes of Mudgett on the streets, there is no way that the state can guarantee the safety and protection of the citizens.
Nevertheless, human rights groups and civil libertarians of the society view the act of killing as being inhumane. These groups have argued for an end to any form of killing regardless of the nature of the crime and would condemn the killing of Mudgett. But, what else can be done? The logical arguments presented against capital punishment are that rehabilitation occurs regardless of the crime. Nevertheless, the flaw in such reasoning is that twenty-seven murders can only be planned and cannot be accidental, and a planned punishment is the only solution.
Still, there are still those in the society who believe that the only way to stop the worldwide increase in murders is to continue with capital punishment as a means of deterring others who may want to commit these crimes. The issue of whether or not capital punishment is based largely on the moral, social and historical foundations will remain debatable as the society is overrun by sadist, who have very little regards for the value of the life of a person and as such their lives are invaluable. Presently, reports have shown that nearly 2000 persons in the Unites States alone...

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