In Cold Blood:Death Penalty Essay

1252 words - 5 pages

In Cold Blood: Death PenaltyCapital Punishment has been part of the criminal justice system since theearliest of times. The Babylonian Hammurabi Code(ca. 1700 B.C.) decreed deathfor crimes as minor as the fraudulent sale of beer(Flanders 3). Egyptianscould be put to death for disclosing the location of sacred burialsites(Flanders3). However, in recent times opponents have shown the death penalty to beracist, barbaric, and in violation with the United States Constitution as'...cruel and unusual punishment.' In this country, although laws governing theapplication of the death penalty haveundergone many changes since biblical times, the punishment endures , andcontroversy has never been greater.A prisoner's death wish cannot grant a right not otherwise possessed.Abolitionists maintain that the state has no right to kill anyone; . The rightto reject life imprisonment and choose death should be respected, but itchanges nothing for those who oppose the death at the hands of the state.The death penalty is irrational- a fact that should carry considerable weightwith rationalists. As Albert Camus pointed out, ' Capital punishment....hasalways been a religious punishment and is reconcilable with humanism.' Inother words, society has long since left behind the archaic and barbous'customs' from the cruel'eye for an eye' anti-human caves of religion- another factor that shouldraise immediate misgivings for freethinkers.State killings are morally bankrupt. Why do governments kill people to showother people that killing people is wrong? Humanity becomes associated withmurderers when it replicate their deeds. Would society allow rape as thepenalty for rape or the burning ofarsonists' homes as the penalty for arson?The state should never have the power to murder its subjects. To give thestate this power eliminates the individual's most effective shield againsttyranny of the majority and is inconsistent with democratic principles.Family and friends of murder victims are further victimized by statekillings. Quite a few leaders in the abolishment movement became involvedspecially because someone they loved was murdered. Family of victimsrepeatedly stated they wanted the murderer to die. One of the main reasons- inaddition to justice- was theywanted all the publicity to be over. Yet. if it wasn't for the sensationalismsurrounding an execution, the media exposure would not have occurred in thefirst place. Murderers would be quietly and safely put away for life withabsolutely no possibility for parole.The death penalty violates constitutional prohibitions againstcruel and unusual punishment. The grotesque killing of RobertHarris by the state of California on April 21,1992, and similarreports of witnesses to hangings and lethal injections should leaveSo 3doubt that the dying process can be- and often is -grosslyinhumane, regardless of method(Flanders 16).The death penalty is often used for political gain.During his presidential gain, President Clinton rushed home for...

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