The Death Penalty: It is Never Justified A young man has been charged with the brutal murder of a seventeen year old girl after raping and mutilating her body. This crime was so heinous and unthinkable that the only punishment that seems to fit the crime is capital punishment; there is merely one problem”the man convicted is innocent. The public is so caught up in bringing Justice to the murdered girl that through capital punishment more injustice is brought into the world and the life of another innocent being is taken. There is no going back and undoing the mistake.
There is no undoing in the matter of death. The accidental murder of an innocent person through the death penalty is Just one way in which the death penalty is a completely unethical, flawed, and unjustified form of punishment. Problems associated with the death penalty such as it being inhumane, discriminatory, and an unfair form of punishment, are reasons that capital punishment is never the answer to aggravated murder [claim]. The death penalty is extremely inhumane. Three common techniques used to perform the sentence include the electric chair, gas chambers, and lethal injection.
Supporters of the death penalty argue that modern science has eliminated the factor of pain by lethal injection [rebuttal], but how can this truly be proved? The scientific journal the Nature Publishing Group [backing] reported that almost half the prisoners are still conscious although paralyzed during the lethal injection as the drug stops the heart. The NPG then goes on to state, “If suitably qualified individuals refuse to help prepare a new protocol, the state will face the prospect of continuing to use amateurs to kill people with arbitrary and outmoded technology’ (“Amateur” 2) [evidence].
Dying is a painful thing. The punishment of death is already extreme, but the fact that the prisoner is being put down with chemicals that aren’t even provided by physicians or scientists is cruel and lacks any compassion. Andrew Stephen, the United States editor of the New Statesman magazine which reports on current affairs, [backing] also explained the inhumanity of the most humane form of capital punishment: lethal injection. Stephen explained how the potassium chloride used in the injection causes excruciating pain as it makes its way through the veins and into the heart to kill the person.
Stephen follows this by stating, “The American Veterinary Medical Association even issued guidelines in 2002 saying that the mix was unacceptable for putting dogs and cats, let alone humans, to sleep” (Stephen 33) [evidence]. How can a democracy in the U. S. which stands for Justice possibly support this blatantly inhumane form of punishment that isn’t even suitable for animals? There is no way to properly kill a human being, it is immoral and unjust not matter who it is done to, and therefore does not hold a place in the U. S. Jurisdiction.
The death penalty can also be very arbitrary or random in the sense that there is ot a set standard for everyone who commits murder to be sentenced to death. It makes little sense how some prisoners who are convicted of terrible murders get the privilege of living while others who did not murder in cold blood do not get the opportunity for rehabilitation and redemption. The cause of such arbitrariness can be attributed to discrimination. David Bruck, who was a Harvard and University of South Carolina graduate, served as a lawyer detending those charged witn capita punishment [backing].
Bruck illustrates how unfair capital punishment is in an essay he wrote for The New Republic magazine. Bruck explains how a man from Louisiana named Ernest Knighton killed a gas station owner while robbing the gas station. This is of course a terrible crime; however, the crime was not premeditated and pales in comparison to other gruesome murders, yet somehow Knighton was chosen to be executed. This may be explained by the fact that Knighton was black, the victim was white, the Jury at his hearing was entirely white, and he lacked sufficient defense.
In other words, discrimination was a factor. Bruck explains this execution by stating, “Ernest Knighton was picked out to die the way a fisherman takes a cricket out of a ait Jar. No one cares which cricket gets impaled on the hook” (Bruck NPA) [evidence]. There were clearly more threatening murderers out there than Knighton, but Knighton was chosen to die. The chance that this kind of discrimination will continue is entirely possible [modal qualifier] and illustrates the faults in the system of capital punishment.
However, in cases such as capital punishment where death is involved, there is no room for faults. Life is a precious gift not to be taken lightly. Money also seems to be a discriminatory factor in the death penalty, as rich eople are more likely to avoid the death penalty than are poor people who cannot afford proper defense. A rich murderer’s life is no more valuable than the life of a poor murderer, yet the chance of survival for a poor man is much lower than that of a rich man. This harsh fact is unfair.
Scott Phillips author for the Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology [backing] writes, “As Former Supreme Court Justice William Douglas, for example, noted: ‘One searches our chronicles in vain for the execution of any member of the affluent strata of this society” (Phillips 718) [evidence]. It is efinitely plausible [modal qualifier] that the people who have money are the ones who can afford the best defense and therefore avoid the death penalty. It hardly seems fair that the rich get to live over the poor not because of innocence, but because of the size of their wallets.
Two wrongs do not make a right under the conditions of murder. The system of capital punishment is obviously defective as it discriminates and seemingly picks its victims at random, risking the possibility of killing even the innocent. Advocates of the death penalty argue that it is the only form of punishment that is orthy of murder [rebuttal]. This is an “eye for an eye” mentality. Edward Koch, the former mayor of New York [backing], supported this mentality by stating, “.. it can be easily demonstrated that the death penalty strengthens the value of human life. If the penalty for rape were lowered, clearly it would signal a lessened regard for the victim’s suffering.. .When we lower the penalty for murder, it signals a lessened regard for the value of the victim’s life” (Koch NPA) [evidence]. Koch’s statement is a fallacy of a false analogy and is therefore not plausible [modal qualifier]. No two rimes can really be compared to each other. Rape and murder are admittedly two very horrific offenses, but are in no way the same.
We do not rape the criminals charged of rape to show them how it feels, nor should we kill the criminals charged of murder. Killing the prisoner makes us no better than the prisoner himself. Instead of capital punishment, there should be harsher punishments in Jail for those convicted of murder, Just as those convicted of rape have harsher punishments than those convicted ot tnett. Another argument supporters of the death penalty like to utilize is that killing a uman being is okay because it is done by the state, which has more rights, rather than an individual [rebuttal].
Koch makes the point when he writes, “The execution of a lawfully condemned killer is no more an act of murder than is legal imprisonment an act of kidnapping… Rights and responsibilities surrendered by the individual are what give the state the power to govern” ( Koch NPA) [evidence]. This is once again a fallacy of a false analogy. Of course legal imprisonment is not kidnapping, because it is an agreed upon punishment by the people of a democracy for those who have roken the laws of society. On the contrary, capital punishment is not entirely agreed upon because this punishment is too harsh.
Capital punishment is not necessary to govern its people; if the state must resort to the killing of individuals by the death penalty which has already been proven faulty, there are greater issues at hand. In the end, those who wish for capital punishment aren’t really wishing for Justice, or to keep order. Justice and order can be achieved with without the killing of prisoners. It is rather unjust to inflict the death penalty, its only purpose to serve as a orm of bitter revenge that one can only hope will avenge the death of the lost person.
However, it is not the place of the state to take revenge, but to bring Justice. Justice needs to be fair, humane, morally sound, and it needs to be reasonable. The death penalty in no way fits into any of those descriptions. This is a topic that should concern everyone. If the people of the United States allow for the death penalty, and the legal system makes a completely possible and at some point probable [modal qualifier] mistake and wrongfully sentences an innocent man to death, that death is on each and every person who advocates the death penalty.