Capitol Punishment Essay, Research Paper
One of the biggest debates in America in the past century has been the debate on capital punishment. Many people feel that it should be an eye for an eye, that if a person wants to kill another person, that person deserves to die for the crime they have committed. Others feel that capital punishment and the death penalty should be considered cruel and unusual punishment which the US constitution prohibits. Then there are some people who believe that capital punishment should be dealt with on a case by case basis, that each one should be looked and ruled on by the circumstances that occurred. Some States allow capital punishment, and some States do not. Capital punishment should not be legal. What makes it right for the government to take the life of someone else? Just because that person took someone s life doesn t make it all right for the government to take his or her life.
What exactly is capital punishment though? Capital punishment is the ultimate punishment for a crime committed. When a criminal is sentenced to the death penalty, he or she usually committed some form of murder or other capital offense that can only be punishable with the loss of his or her own life. Capital punishment has been around in the United States since the time that the country was founded, and has been around in Europe for even longer than that. Hangings used to be the punishment in fifteenth century England for certain crimes such as treason, murder, larceny, robbery, burglary, rape, and arson (Isenberg 26). Capital punishment is nothing new to the United States; it has just recently been the topic of a very heated debate.
Capital punishment is the loss of one s own life in punishment for taking another persons life in the judicial system of America, but how does the executor take the life of the convicted? In the old days, there were public hangings, line-ups in front of gunners, and the electric chair. Presently, though, the only type of capital punishment used in the United States is the lethal injection, where the convict is injected with a deadly chemical combination which supposedly does not hurt the convict and is fairly quick in taking action. Executions used to be a public event that the towns people would come out to witness in town square or the such, but in today s more civilized society, the only witnesses to the execution are the authorities, a priest usually, and the family of the convict are sometimes present.
Those that are against capital punishment have a strong case for themselves. One argument used against capital punishment is the biblical argument. It says in the bible and in the Ten Commandments that thou shalt not kill and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The Christian people of the United States, therefore, would be totally against capital punishment if they were following the words of God because He said that it was wrong to kill and that you should treat everyone else the way that you want to be treated. There is also the constitutional argument against capital punishment. The Eighth Amendment clearly and expressly forbids the imposition of cruel and unusual punishments, a prohibition that applies now to the states as well as the national government; it was argued that the death penalty was such a punishment. In 1976, however, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the constitutionality of the death penalty, stating that it rejected mandatory statutes that automatically imposed death sentences for defined capital offenses, but it approved statutes that set out standards to guide the jury in deciding whether to impose the death penalty. (Berns, Isenberg)
Capital punishment has been limited very much from the wide range of methods and reasons that it once was. The hangings, shootings, electrocutions, and gassings of the past have been considered unnecessarily cruel and have been made illegal. They have narrowed down to only being indoors, out of the public eye. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, for example, stated that executions should only take place within the walls or buildings of the county jail. Capital punishment has also been narrowed down to using an injection of a deadly combination of chemicals. (Isenberg 35-43)
The people against capital punishment are getting closer and closer to having it outlawed in the United States. Very few states still allow the death penalty, and those that do use an injection that is supposed to be for the most part quick and painless. If the pattern that has been happening in the past with the decline in usage of the death penalty, then the time is near for the death penalty to be gone from the United States. The death penalty is an immoral punishment for capital crimes. It may be true that the crime can be considered cruel and unusual, but that does not give the government the right to do the same to that person. We are coming into a world that is more advanced than having to resort back to a barbaric eye for an eye mentality. Capital punishment is immoral and should be considered illegal.