“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” -Harriet Tubman
The death penalty is controversial topic in America; although I am not American myself, I have decided to write about the subject as it is interesting and stimulating.
Currently, the death penalty in America is legal in 31 states, therefore resulting in it being a majority sentence option among districts. Although this seems a large number, only 20 people were executed in 2016, resulting in it being the least number of deaths by execution since 1996. The lowest number of deaths by execution is 0, both in the year in was re-instated 1976 and 1978 and 1980.
Collectively, in the U.S. there are only 5 different methods of execution, with lethal injection as the default. Other methods, only legal in some states are Electrocution, Lethal Gas, Firing Squad, and Hanging. The majority of these were banned by other states, due to their inhumanity and cruelty.
Some believe that in the U.S., the death penalty should not be banned, due to the fact that it may act as a deterrent for major crimes, such as aggravated murder. Between 1980 and 1985, violent crime rate decreased significantly however it increased again in 1989, a trend continuing through the 1990’s.
On the contrary to this, some may argue that the change in violent crime rate only accounted significantly for a five year period, therefore resulting in the deterrence of crime through threat being obsolete. As a justification of this, the death penalty was a waste of resources: it is not an economically stable concept.
Another reason for the opposition of death penalty is the right to live. No matter what has been done, the right to life is universal, therefore it should not be revoked. It was once stated by Thomas Aquinas that the death penalty is immoral and if we are to kill for crime, we are just as bad as the people ourselves:
Therefore if any man is dangerous to the community and is subverting it by some sin, the treatment to be commended is his execution in order to preserve the common good… Therefore to kill a man who retains his natural worthiness is intrinsically evil, although it may be justifiable to kill a sinner just as it is to kill a beast, for, as Aristotle points out, an evil man is worse than a beast and more harmful.
– Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae (Source BBC)
Personally, I agree with this point. Murder is immoral, however there are other, more effective ways of prosecution; on top of this, is it not possible that a person may be executed by mistake? This, and the cost in necessary resources, leads me to a conclusion that the death penalty should be abolished. Why is it we are still practicing an cruel form of prosecution which was even viewed as immoral thousands of years ago?
*Edit: The death penalty could be applicable under certain circumstances, however this would depend on the severity of the case.
What is your view on the death penalty: do you believe it should be abolished or not?
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