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The Ethics Of Capital Punishment Essay

1518 words - 6 pages

Americans have argued over the death penalty since the early days of our country. In the United States only 38 states have capital punishment statutes. As of year ended in 1999, in Texas, the state had executed 496 prisoners since 1930. The laws in the United States have change drastically in regards to capital punishment. An example of this would be the years from 1968 to 1977 due to the nearly 10 year moratorium. During those years, the Supreme Court ruled that capital punishment violated the Eight Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. However, this ended in 1976, when the Supreme Court reversed the ruling. They stated that the punishment of sentencing one to death does not perpetually infringe the Constitution. Richard Nixon said, “Contrary to the views of some social theorists, I am convinced that the death penalty can be an effective deterrent against specific crimes.”1 Whether the case be morally, monetarily, or just pure disagreement, citizens have argued the benefits of capital punishment. While we may all want murders off the street, the problem we come to face is that is capital punishment being used for vengeance or as a deterrent.
Capital punishment has been used worldwide, not only the governments to instill fear, but to show that there are repercussions to ones actions. From the time we are born forward, we are taught to learn the difference between right and wrong. It is ingrained in our brains, what happens to people that do bad things. Capital punishment is renowned for being the worst thing that could be brought amongst ones life. It takes away our right to live! This is the strongest impulse that human beings have. So how are we legally able to take this born right away from another? The only justified reason is one who does not respect another’s right to live do not have that right for themselves. The real argument at stake here is not moral though but whether or not capital punishment is the best deterrent for crime.
The theory of deterrence can be defined as the idea that the threat of punishment has to be severe enough to contradict the pleasure that the criminal would obtain from the crime. There are two types of deterrents specific and general. A general deterrent could be explained as a person not committing a crime because of the outcome if they are caught. While a specific deterrent could be explained, that if a murder receives the death penalty and is executed, they will no longer be able to murder. H. Naci Mocan, an economist said “I personally am opposed to the death penalty, but my research shows that there is a deterrent effect.”2 Then the conclusion would be that in order for it to be a deterrent we must fear the outcome.
Capital punishment is necessary because it shows that people willing to do heinous crimes will be held accountable for their actions. However, then the criminal is mercifully treated while they probably did not do the same to their victims. For if they had respected another’s’...

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