Today’s world appears to be a livid quagmire of moral confusion. In view of this, insanity seems to be running high in the public life and various governments on the moral level. Criminal gangs appear to be running criminal affairs both in prisons and the usual streets. Situations that were once viewed as holy are now sacrilegious. What was once a disgrace is now extolled from the highest standing points of the community as a good course. Capital punishment is now being struck out of the sanctions of law, but abortion being legalized on the other hand. Is capital punishment, otherwise known as the death penalty, justifiable? Arguably, the issue of capital punishment in the U.S. and the world over has lately undergone an elemental shift. Both sides of the debate shoot strong questions and arguments to rally behind their ethical, moral, and societal standing points. This text presents a number of reasons as to why capital punishment should be an obligatory sanction for particular crimes.
For a fact, it would be pleasant if every individuals lived in a world that is peaceful and devoid of any kind of crime; a situation where every citizen lived under the golden rule. However, the state of affairs is appalling. Conspicuously, human beings have motility and the free will, which means that selfishness, can and does indeed thrive. In this view, selfish individuals have the will to make their own choices to murder or rape others for their personal gains and reasons. It is quite unfortunate to understand that perfect pacifism cannot be viable in the current world. It is also unfortunate that violence is at times the only way to stop selfish individuals from deleting the lives of their fellow human beings. Arguably, it is necessary that capital punishment be extended to those people, who commit gratuitous violence, especially against innocent individuals and families (Bieber 43).
This essay seeks to ask the following questions: Why do most governments have armies and armed police officers if all forms of violence are wrong? What would be the state of affairs if there were no army or police officers? What is life’s true worth if no degree of murder can warrant the sacrifice of the life of the executor? How long can unarmed police or army officer last on duty? How many criminal elements would take advantage of such a situation? It becomes obvious, after answering these questions, that the removal of capital punishment from the laws cannot produce justice, peace or safety in this violent world. History proves the fact that there will be now real law in a situation that lacks law enforcement. Without armed enforcement of the law, it would be hard to deal with selfish and criminal gangs.
Democratic reasons should be permissible only because of virtue and generalized intelligence. Without capital punishment, not even pacifists themselves would last long in such a society. The streets will be full of criminal elements. Criminals, especially those that use deadly force, will not be cowed by mere laws without real enforcement. Certainly, there is no law without enforcements or sanctions. In view of this argument, why are policemen and army officers heavily armed if capital punishment is erroneous? When a police officer kills a criminal person who is about to commit murder, he would be applying capital punishment on the spot. It is also a death penalty when a soldier kills an approaching enemy. There is no other way to go around this. If the police or army does not kill these elements, they will be the first to die.
Most opponents of capital punishment usually argue that killing a murderer will put the law enforcer on the same spot as the killer, thus all are killers. In this view, no amount of torture, rape or murder can bring back the sacrifice of the perpetrator’s individual life. However, this is wrong. Such thinking implies that killer’s life is more worthy than the people he has maimed or killed. This would be unbelievable. As discussed before, there is no law without sanctions. Furthermore, sanctions have to be of the save value, if not more, of the laws in question.
Purposes of Punishment
Every form of punishment has some aim that will serve to rationalize the distress brought upon the offender. Some of the aims include incapacitation, retribution, deterrence, and rehabilitation (Bieber, 74). About retribution, punishment is payment for a certain unlawful act. The form of punishment imposed here should be equal to the amount of harm done. In view of incapacitation, punishment distracts offenders from doing the same crime, basically by containing them. This idea is all about removing offenders from the streets lest they carry out any more mischief. In rehabilitation, punishment serves the purpose of changing the tendency of the offender towards certain unlawful behavior. This will help them change when they are finally released back their communities. With deterrence, punishment discourages other persons in the community from committing the same (Acker 82).
Here, people wonder whether the idea of executing criminals is morally right. Discussions about ethics touches on things like deterrence, retribution, and rights of forfeiture. Proponents of capital punishment argue that it is justifiable to execute serious crimes like murder, because criminals have given up on their rights to life (Bieber 43). According to John Locke, a renowned philosopher, people maintain their rights to life until the moment they bridge the rights or other persons. Consequently, they will forfeit all of their lives including that to life. The society, therefore, can kill these individuals in the same manner as a dangerous wild animal.
Proponents of capital punishment also argue that it serves as a straightforward application of the retributive notion of penalty: a human life for a human life. Defenders of this view follow tradition, because the idea has governed the society for a long time. As argued by Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher, every individual in the society is worthy of respect, since they can make free choices. In view of this, murder is also worthy of respect. The society should treat offenders in the same manner that they treat other people. That means they should be executed if they execute other individuals in the society. One other well known justification of capital punishment is the idea that is prevents the rest of the society from engaging in similar activities. The question here is whether executing murderers does deter other persons from committing the crime than sending them to prison. Arguably, death penalty does better.
Issues Related to Public Policy
Legal issue that surrounds capital punishment is whether it would be done in a justifiable manner, taking into consideration all the flaws witnessed in the system. Is a death penalty a good public policy? In the U.S., specifically in Arizona, this debate focuses on issues dealing with racial bias, executing the innocent, and proportionality. Certain states like Arizona carry out trials on capital punishment with a jury, or without at times. Proportionality is whether the death penalty can be handed down uniformly under the same circumstances. In view of executing the innocent, history has brought up several instances of people that have been convicted wrongfully (Aronson and Cole 623). Therefore, people still harbor reservations about executing people lest fresh evidence is presented that sets the person free. Under racial bias, debaters argue whether capital punishment will be handed down with this. Even defenders of the death penalty have conceded that there is some aspect of racial bias, when sentencing someone to die.
Arguments against the Death Penalty
According to those against death penalty term, it is discriminatory, arbitrary, and unwarranted. According to them, it is usually handed down to those who lack personal or family lawyers (Cholbi 256). More often than not, the ability of lawyers has a lot to do with whether the capital punishment will be endorsed more than the crime. The state of affairs in the justice system is still imperfect in deciding both punishment and guilt. Capital punishment is also costly and does not accomplish anything in particular. Death penalty goes against the general idea that governs the society; it means that no being is beyond salvation (Cholbi 258).
According to their argument, the death penalty never even matches all the murders that have been committed. For example, the U.S. witnessed more than 20,000 murders in the last three decades. There have been only approximately 1000 executions over the same period (Laffey 391). Furthermore, the practice is not balanced throughout the country. Some places, especially in the South, continue to execute more people than the North. The death penalty is forced on only a handful and not every serious crime offender. In view of this, capital punishment should be abolished once and for all.
In conclusion, it appears that the debate regarding capital punishment is here to stay for some time unless a perfect solution is obtained. Both proponents and opponents of the death penalty have their strong reasons as to why capital punishment should be instituted in the law or abolished everywhere. Nonetheless, this text proposes that capital punishment be applied to serious crime offenders like murderers. To avoid executing the wrong people, the justice system should wait for some time in order to ensure that no more evidence is applicable for the release of the individual. If an individual murders a fellow individual knowingly, why should mercy be extended to him or her?