The Death Penalty By David Bruck

1341 words - 5 pages

In “The Death Penalty” (1985), David Bruck argues that the death penalty is injustice and that it is fury rather than justice that compels others to “demand that murderers be punished” by death. Bruck relies on varies cases of death row inmates to persuade the readers against capital punishment. His purpose is to persuade readers against the death penalty in order for them to realize that it is inhuman, irrational, and that “neither justice nor self-preservation demands that we kill men whom we have already imprisoned.” Bruck does not employ an array of devices but he does employ some such as juxtaposition, rhetorical questions, and appeals to strengthen his argument. He establishes an informal relationship with his audience of supporters of capital punishment such as Mayor Koch.
Bruck begins his essay by refuting all of Koch arguments and then goes onto stating his reasons. Then he uses transitional sentences, “Those of us…the difference between the death penalty in theory, and what happens when you actually try to use it,” to transition into arguing about varies cases to back his reasons. Furthermore, he indicates that mental illness is a factor when a person commits a crime. He makes a reference to the Middle Ages when he states that “Since the Middle Ages….prohibited the execution of anyone who is mentally ill to understand what is about to happen to him and why.” He makes this reference to illustrate that the laws of the middle ages in dealing with person who is mentally ill is far better than our laws of now even though the Medieval time was a barbaric age. Bruck then transitions into asserting that the execution of innocents could and would occur. He supports his reason by mentioning Roosevelt Green wrongful execution. He also mentions that the “Ku Klux Klan rallied outside” the prison gate of Green’s to illustrate what kind of people would want the death penalty. He uses the KKK statement to transition into discussing Ernest Knighton’ case to indicate that race is another factor in deciding whether a person should be executed. Moreover, he states that people are ruled by fury rather than justice when wanting capital punishment for murderers. Finally he finalizes his argument by asserting that the electric chair was made by a governor who was in favor of lynching to bring justice.
Bruck mostly uses logical and emotional appeal to persuade his readers against capital punishment. His appeals correlate with his use of tone to persuade. He begins his essay by scorning Koch’s reason for the death penalty by stating that Koch views is “the standard ‘moral’ defense of death as punishment.” Hs use of tone and appeals is stronger when he discusses varies cases of wrongful executions such as Green and Knighton’s because of the strong use of pathos and logos. For instance, he states that the “the state of Georgia refused to allow the examiner into prison” in Green’s case even though Green asked for one in order to prove that he...

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