Issues Surrounding The Death Penalty Essay

1189 words - 5 pages

Issues Surrounding the Death Penalty

Does executing murderers really stop violent crime in the U.S.? Our government seems to think so. In many states the death penalty still exists or is being reinstated. Many people contend that the death penalty should be used in cases of heinous crime where guilt is obvious. Bill Clinton signed a bill adding 58 more crimes that are punishable by death. For example, if you see a murder or know of one and do not report it, you could be executed. If you know a gang killing, you could report it and be killed in a revenge, or you could remain silent and let the government kill you. Is this justice? (Biringer 1)
It has been statistically proven that the death penalty doesn’t deter crime. In 1982, Texas reinstated the death penalty. From 1982 to 1991 the national crime rate increased five percent, while Texas crime rate rose by twenty-four percent. Their violent crime rate rose by fourty-six percent (Hughes). Obviously killing criminals did nothing to curb crime. Races are targeted by the death penalty. Killers of whites are 4.3 times more likely to be executed than killers of blacks. In total, 18,000 people have been executed in the United States, only thirty-one involved a white person killing a black person. Is justice truly color blind? (Vandeberg 2)
The death penalty is a convenient and easy answer that may appeal to some but which,unfortunately, fails to tackle the problems it’s supposed to solve, There is always the one problem that executionists face; the risk of executing the innocent. In the United States, where one of the fairest judicial systems exists, 350 people were wrongly convicted of capital crimes between 1900 and 1985. Over half the countries in the world have now abolished the death penalty in law and practice. In the United States there are still at least thirty states that have the death penalty. (Doerr 2)
Since 1967 there has been one execution for every 1600 murders. There has been approximately 560,000 murders and 358 executions from 1967 to 1996. Almost 5900 people have been sentenced to death and only 358 executed. Most often people compare execution and murder. They believe if two acts have the same ending or result, then the acts are morally equivalent. For instance, are kidnapping and legal incarceration the same? They both involve imprisonment against one’s will. Is killing in self defense the same as capital murder? Both end in taking human life. The moral confusion of some people are astounding. Some equate the American death penalty with Nazi holocaust. People see no moral distinction between the slaughter of 12 million totally innocent men, women and children and the executions of society’s worst human rights violators. (Death Penalty 1)
There are also a great deal of religious issues with the death penalty. The bible states clearly “Thou shall not murder.” Does this mean, under certain...

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