Morality of Capital Punishment Every human life is precious. This is something that has been taught by the Roman Catholic Church for years. Each day one is alive can be seen as a gift from God. As a result of this gift, we hear many people come up with phrases such as “Live everyday as your last”, or “Live as if you’ll die tomorrow”. Unfortunately, for some, these phrases can be more than just a saying. They can be facts.
The people, for whom this holds truth, tend to be disliked by many and even hated by some.
The type of person who faces a simple phrase such as “Live as if you’ll die tomorrow” as something that is actually the truth, is typically not a person with much freedom. This type of person, like many other in the same situation, fall under one category; a criminal. A criminal is one held under imprisonment for committing a violent or unlawful act.
The type of criminal who lives in uncertainty of their own life is left with the fear of execution every day, due to their act of murder on another human being. This idea brings forth the moral argument of Capital Punishment.
Capital Punishment is defined as the legally authorized killing of someone as punishment for a crime. The idea of taking a life as a means of punishing someone for murder has been the subject of a long and often heated debate. While many contend that Capital punishment serves the judicial system as a deterrent to crime and as a lawful penalty many others contend that Capital Punishment is both morally and ethically wrong.
Capital Punishment has been used by the United States Government for decades. The government has found that the idea of the death penalty as a just way to punish those who have committed murder.
Across the United States of America there are 34 states that actively use Capital Punishment. Most notably are Texas, California, Florida, and even smaller states such as Delaware. The other 16 states, for example, New York, have abolished Capital Punishment at some point in their history. Most recently is Illinois, who abolished the death penalty in their state earlier this year. Of those states that continue to use capital punishment, Texas remains the highest enforcer with 477 executions since 1976. This alone is an astonishing number, and it does not include the high execution rate up to the 50’s.
In total, the United States of America, as a whole, have executed 1277 criminals. So far to date, there have been 43 executions in 2011. Most prisoners are forced to wait on Death Row prior to their execution for roughly 170 months. Nonetheless, when their day does come, many prisoners are forced to decide in what manner they wish to be killed. There are five methods of execution that consist of: lethal injection, electrocution, firing squad, hanging, and a gas chamber. The most frequently used in the U. S is the lethal injection. The least likely to be used is a firing squad or a gas chamber.
A total of 1103 prisoners have been put to death by lethal injection since 1976 (Dieter 1). Overall, Capital Punishment has been held as a viable way to punish those convicted of a serious murder, despite its brutal method. Many find that Capital Punishment is a practical manner to punish those convicted of murder. This belief stems from the idea that Capital Punishment is a deterrent of crime. In other words, many find that the use of the death penalty publicly decreases the average crime rate. Researchers, who believe this, have found that each execution can be associated with 3 fewer murders in the state of which the execution took place.
These scientists are stating that with the execution of one, three lives are saved. In addition, researchers have discovered that executions deter the murder of not only whites, but African-Americans as well. Each execution prevents the murder of one white person, 1. 5 African-Americans, and 0. 5 persons of other races. In other terms, one execution saves the life of not only one race of people, but many. Lastly, they have discovered that shorter waits on death row are connected with increased prevention. For each additional 2-year decrease in the death row wait, one murder is deterred (Muhlhausen 1).
This means that if a criminal is executed quicker, it is most likely that people will not murder, therefore saving one life. In general, these people have found that one public execution can save up to 18 lives (Muhlhausen 1). It follows that, the execution of one has the potential to save many others. In contrary, many find this factual evidence to be falsified and over interpreted. As an opposition, many scientists have shown how Capital Punishment does not deter crime. For example, it is a known fact that the South has accounted for roughly 80% of the U. S’s executions. On top of this, the South also holds the U.
S’s highest crime rate. Clearly, executing it’s prisoners has little affect on other criminals. Researchers have also used those nations without Capital Punishment to prove how it is an ineffective way to decrease crime. For example, Canada’s crime rate has dropped 27% since their abolishment of the death penalty. Scientists have also discovered factual evidence within the United States to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Capital Punishment (Beadue 1). A clear example of this is shown by the New York Times survey that illustrates that those states without a death penalty have a lower murder rate.
Many of these facts can be classified as coincidental, but nonetheless these facts show that the death penalty alone does not deter crime (Fessenden 1). One simple public execution cannot be given the credit for deterring crime based on this evidence. To conclude, public execution can only be coincidental to a decrease or increase in crime rates, proving it as a less effective way to deter crime across America. Whether or not it deters crime can be a miniscule fact to those who find that Capital Punishment as the only just punishment for one who has been convicted of murder and to those who find it completely unjust.
Through surveys across the country, those in favor of Capital Punishment have said that only by putting murderers to death can society ensure that convicted killers do not kill again. In addition, many find that the cost to aid an imprisoned killer is unnecessary. Therefore, killing him proves to be cost efficient and easier on the government. On top of this, many find that if you have taken the life of another human being, you yourself do not deserve to live. Although a harsh statement, many refer back to the Old Testament to show the justification through “An eye for an eye”.
Another example is seen through the fact that a prisoner can end up on parole and therefore never is handed the justice he or she deserves for murdering someone. In contrary, many find that Capital Punishment is unjust. For example, many view Capital Punishment as an example of an uncivilized society. In other words, a nation who uses Capital Punishment demonstrates to its citizens an uncivilized way to live (Muhlhausen 1). In addition, many find the death penalty to be a denial of civil liberties. This meaning that the government has no right to simply take a citizens life.
Lastly, Capital Punishment is often gone about in an unjust manner. Those executed typically are poor and lack a good attorney, therefore are almost “set up” for murder. Ethically, Capital Punishment is dreadful. Typically criminal’s who are African American, poor, and in many cases both are executed because of a court appointed attorneys lack of skill. Evidently, they are convicted without a fair trial (National 1). Clearly, there are two sides to the argument that Capital Punishment is justifiable. Through all the facts and fictions of Capital Punishment, ultimately there is one question.
This one question asks whether or not Capital Punishment is moral. Morality is defined as a system of ideas of right and wrong conduct. Because everyone’s moral code is different there can be many interpretations of whether or not Capital Punishment is a morally justified behavior. Many find Capital Punishment to be morally correct. This belief is caused by the idea that society has a moral obligation to protect the safety and welfare of its citizens. Many also find that society should support practices that bring about the utmost balance of good as opposed to evil.
Clearly, those who believe this credit Capital Punishment as being one of these practices. Finally, those who find it morally correct state that justice itself is moral. In more concrete terms, justice to a convicted murderer is death, and since justice is morally good, this murderer must be murdered them self. It is after the murder of the criminal that “justice for all” is established. Despite the argument for Capital Punishment being morally right, many find it to be morally wrong. Many people find that capital punishment is morally deplorable on the basis that society has a moral obligation to protect human life, not take it.
This means that we are all called upon to protect the sacredness of human life and not to take it away. On top of all this, it has been said that locking a criminal away for life achieves the same goal as Capital Punishment. This goal is to stop the violent acts committed by the criminal. Therefore, taking away a life is nonsensical and not necessary according to those who find Capital Punishment morally incorrect. The death penalty also proves to be morally wrong as it decreases the value of life, according to many. Many state that the death of anyone, even a convicted killer, diminishes us all.
Evidently, morally Capital Punishment can be seen as not only wrong, but unacceptable. Ultimately, there are cases given both for the moral correctness of Capital Punishment and the moral wrongfulness (Andre 1). The decision on which one is correct lies in the hands of the individual. After researching Capital Punishment and based on my religious background and beliefs, I have formed my own opinion. In every aspect, especially morally, I find Capital Punishment to be wrong. As a living person, I respect life in every form. I believe that life is a gift from God and not one person is ustified to take that gift away. Growing up and going to church I have discovered that every day is a gift no matter what the circumstances. Whether in prison or living freely, God has granted you another day to experience life. This experience is different for everyone, but meaningful for all. This is simply another reason I find it deplorable to take the life of an individual. The ethics of Capital Punishment is another aspect that fuels my reasoning against it. It is deeply upsetting to me that simply because of your lack of wealth or your race affect your chance at life.
I believe that no matter your stature, you deserve a good attorney and a fair trial, because without a fair trial or good attorney it has been proven you are more likely to lose that trial. Being African American should not lower your chances at survival simply based on America’s court system. For a nation who claims to be almighty and great, I find it astonishing that they continue to hurt those who live there based on race and wealth. Aside from this, I am appalled by America and their lack of sacredness for life. As stated, life is a gift.
If America looked at life as something sacred, as it should be, many would come to see the cruelness that comes with Capital Punishment. Lastly, as a Roman Catholic I believe “In one God, the Father almighty”. By stating this, I state that there is only one God. This one God is the only one who can grant and take away life. It is then that I ask America’s governing system, who gave them the right to play God. I do not believe that anyone has the right to simply take life away from someone. God, and only God, has the right to give and to take a life.
Because If I am not mistaken, the United States of America did not grant me or anyone else life, God did. This is why I am astonished at my country’s government’s ability to take away someone’s life. Overall, I find Capital Punishment to be unjust and a moral flaw in America’s punishment system. In conclusion, Capital Punishment is still today, a consequence faced by many criminals. Many states continue to use this form of punishment, as others continue to abolish it. Nonetheless, it is a national moral issue faced by all. The case has been given by both counterparts and leaves many questioning their own belief.
Many state how Capital Punishment deters crime, as others state that it has little effect. In addition, it has been said that Capital Punishment is just and lawful, despite the belief of many that it is just the opposite. Thus, I am only left to ask, if the government says it is illegal to take a human life, then why are they able to do so? Works Cited Andre, Claire, and Manuel Velasquez. “Capital Punishment: Our Duty or Our Doom? ” Santa Clara University – Welcome. Saint Clara University. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. <http://www. scu. edu/ethics/publications/iie/v1n3/capital. tml>. Beadue, Huggo. “The Case Against the Death Penalty – Cons, Anti Death Penalty Arguments. ” American Civil Liberties Union. American Civil Liberties Union, 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. <http://www. aclu. org/capital-punishment/case-against-death-penalty>. Dieter, Richard. Death Penalty Information Center. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. <http://www. deathpenaltyinfo. org>. Fessenden, Ford. “Deadly Statistics: A Survey Of Crime and Punishment – New York Times. ” NY Times Advertisement. New York Times, 22 Sept. 2000. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. <http://www. ytimes. com/2000/09/22/us/deadly-statistics-a-survey-of-crime-and-punishment. html>. Muhlhausen, David. “The Death Penalty Deters Crime and Saves Lives. ” Conservative Policy Research and Analysis. Heritage Foundation, 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. <http://www. heritage. org/research/testimony/the-death-penalty-deters-crime-and-saves-lives>. “National Coalition to Abolish Death Penalty. ” NCADP – The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. 25 Dec. 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. <http://www. ncadp. org/index. cfm? content=25>.