What are some of the arguments used for and against capital punishment?



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What are some of the arguments used for and against capital punishment? (You may want to complete some additional research to add to your knowledge.) How does the ethical debate on capital punishment touch on the issues of the value of human life, human rights, and human dignity? If you had a loved one who was murdered, would you want to have the option of capital punishment for the convicted murderer? Why or why not?

Capital Punishment Edward Jackson 3/24/2011 11:29:49 PM





The arguments against capital punishment, as stated from our book, are ineffective as a deterrent, does not bring back the victims, possible execution of an innocent person, and the denial of rehabilitation of the criminal. The arguments for capital punishment are: it is an effective deterrent, it cost too much to keep criminals alive, it gives the law enforcement system strength, it acts as a self-defense system for society, rehab doesn’t work for criminals, and the revenge idea of it’s an “eye-for-an-eye”.

Wow, it’s quite elegant when you read it in a book isn’t it? Capital punishment, what a term. It’s a sterile, legal way of saying murder (I define murder as taking the life of someone who does not want to die). I am obviously against it, and I have many, many reasons why. For one, I consider it barbaric, an Old Testament ideology that has somehow made it into our modern day America society. Strapping people down and killing them through lethal injection or electrocution isn’t justice, it is murder, plain and simple. It doesn’t benefit the victim, they’re already gone. It doesn’t really even punish the criminal. There’s no restitution to society, and there’s really no real attempt to even rehabilitate criminals; everyone knows we warehouse inmates, and America particularly has its king’s share of incarcerations world-wide.

What we’re doing obviously isn’t working; we need to try something else. Crime rate isn’t going down in America; in fact it’s up in many areas. So is capital punishment really a deterrent? I’d say murderers aren’t born, they’re bred. Criminals, for the most part, are the fallouts of society. And I believe, just because we don’t know what to do with them and what’s going on inside their heads doesn’t mean we get to murder them. It does mean we need to isolate them from the rest of society, protecting society and the criminals (from themselves). That is the ethical thing to do, nothing more, nothing less. But you may ask, “Eddie, what if they killed one of your loved ones?” I would say I’d be very sad. But would I want that person to die? No way. Would I want them wondering the streets? No way! It is shallow and narrow-minded to believe that just because a person hurts you, you should hurt them. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and what are we teaching our society anyway? We teach them that it’s okay to murder someone, if that person has committed murder themselves. Murder should never be okay in any light.

The psychology behind crime, especially murder is greatly beyond my understanding, but what I do know is I don’t know it all, and the people making the laws and enforcing the laws also do not know it all. It would be completely unethical to put a person to death just for us to figure out a few years from now that it was wrong. Let’s use prisons for what they are meant to be used for, to separate the kids that don’t want to play fair with the rest of us. Until we know more about the mindset of a murderer, until we offer real rehabilitation to inmates, and until mankind evolves, let’s leave death to the grim reaper.

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Eddie Jackson
GOK - Liberal Studies/Philosophy student






RE: Capital Punishment Edward Jackson 3/26/2011 11:41:07 AM




Well the penny drops doesn’t it? Humans aren't animals, at least in the sense of intelligent species with the ability to change the world around them. We shouldn't murder because we know it's wrong. It’s wrong for someone to kill us, it’s wrong for us to kill someone. It really doesn’t matter the reason; if a person doesn’t want to die, and we strap them down and kill them, it is cold-blooded murder as I see it.
That doesn’t mean we should let them out on the streets, but it does mean we should contemplate what it means to be morally and ethically evolved. It is a moral imperative that we learn as humans it is a crime against humanity to murder anyone. I’m not religious, but what would Jesus do? It seems to me humans are highly contradictory in their actions. On one hand we say don’t murder, yet Americans legally murder people all over the world, including America every single day; from military to death penalties.
But you may ask, “Should tax payers pay for this?” I would say there are many other ways for tax payers to save money if that’s what they want. Let’s stop putting drug users into prison. Let’s stop putting petty theft offenders into prison. I once met someone who did 3 years in prison for having an ounce of weed on them, it was crazy. How could this be true? It costs roughly $30,000-$40,000 a year to house an inmate (so do the math, that’s $90,000-$120,000 for 3 years), and I am sure that an ounce of weed and the crime thereof, is far, far less; the penalty does not match the crime. And this is just one example out of hundreds if we want to save money on taxes.
Murder is tragic for sure. But I believe it’s not our right to take someone’s life for any reason; especially because (I’ll say it again, especially because) our society may be a contributing factor of why murders happen, of why murderers are bred.

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Eddie Jackson

GOK - Liberal Studies/Philosophy student


What would be the point? To reduce crime? To deter murders from happening? Murders happen in prison, at the center of our penal system. I would say it doesn’t matter, people will be people and murders will continue to happen as long as America turns a blind eye towards the causality of it all. It wasn’t so long ago that there were public executions. And I wonder did crime stop? Of course it didn’t. Crime continued then…and it continues now. I’d say we need to work on our rehabilitation skills. We need to work on our humanity, respect for life, and begin to morally and ethically evolve. It will be a proud day for humans when we can step into the future murder free, until that time, we should do what we can to assess why murders happen anyway. What is society’s role in creating and stopping murderers? We have to get beyond our denial that we aren’t to blame. Once we realize that America is a variable in the equation of murder, we’ll be one step closer to ending it (or at least greatly reducing it). We can start by not murdering death-row inmates, and changing their sentences to life without the chance of parole. We can begin by analyzing when, where, why, and how murders happen, and what we can do to not only stop it, but also what systems, forms of community assistance and education that we need to implement.

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Eddie Jackson

GOK - Liberal Studies/Philosophy student



RE: Unit 4 Discussion Edward Jackson 3/26/2011 12:09:32 PM

Great post! I agree, life imprisonment is a MUCH worse deterrent and true punishment for ones' crimes against humanity. Death is such an easy way out. They should have to work and provide a form of restitution to the family or give back to the system that they are no longer a part of.

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Eddie Jackson
GOK - Liberal Studies/Philosophy student




RE: Unit 4 - DB - Traci L Suddeth Edward Jackson 3/28/2011 9:29:14 PM

I agree Traci; the death penalty should not be within our power. We not only abuse such rights, but who is to say in a few years we wouldn’t figure out it was wrong? What would we think of ourselves then? I know the professor mentioned further down that murderers are like cancer and execution is like chemotherapy. I believe murderers are more like the symptoms of cancer; the real cancers are corporate tyranny, capitalism, greed and corruption that run deep in America. The real question is…can this be treated? Is there a chemotherapy that can treat these types of massive, core components of our country?

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Eddie Jackson
GOK - Liberal Studies/Philosophy student


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