Dr. Ed O’Neil
May 2, 2013
Debating Capital Punishment
Capital Punishment is defined as the imposition of the penalty of death for a person convicted of a serious crime, such as intentional murder. It is also known as the death penalty.
World history states that death penalty has started even during the Eighth Century B.C. Back in those times, the death penalty was carried out using various methods such as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death and burning alive. This confirms that the formal execution of individuals for violation of rules and laws had always been practiced ever since the earliest period in world history and that execution had always been a part of the criminal justice system. Other methods of carrying out death penalty were the use of gas Chamber, electrocution, Firing Squad, Hanging, poison gas, and lethal injection. While the death penalty was widely practiced in the past, the trend nowadays is towards a more lenient implementation of the criminal justice system. This is evident in the number of countries that have stopped executing those who are in death row. According to Amnesty International, since 2009 there have been 129 countries that have stopped executing death convicts.
To date, countries in the world are divided on the issue of capital punishment. Some countries still impose it while others have totally eliminated it for reasons that it is unnecessary and uncivilized. These countries have decided to substitute longer years of imprisonment and fines instead of capital punishment. For those countries which still practice it, the trend today is the movement towards a less painful and more humane executions. Hanging and Guillotine which were being practiced before were gradually replaced by electrocution and gas chamber. Lethal injections are now being used by countries which still allow capital punishment. It is perceived that lethal injection is less painful and more humane than the other methods of executions.
However, there is no research that can confirm that death penalty can be an effective deterrent of crimes. Â In fact, other studies conducted by sociologists and law professors will prove that the studies citing the deterrent effect of death penalty are often restricted to a single state or a small group of states that do not reflect the real impact of death penalty. There are many factors also to be considered aside from the imposition of death penalty which could significantly affect the crime rates, one of which is the strict law enforcement system. Research shows that it is wrong to presuppose that would-be criminals are logical people who carefully weigh their decisions before they make a crime. In fact, some crimes are not always premeditated or planned as it is likewise possible for a crime to be committed either in a state of anger or passion. Majority of crimes are even committed when the perpetrator of the crime is either under the influence of drugs and alcohol. At this point, it is inconceivable for these would-be criminals to be able to carefully weigh the pros and cons of the crime that they intend to commit. Moreover, if a crime is premeditated would-be criminals do not think about the penalty of death but they often think of ways to elude arrest and conviction not the fear of punishment.
On the contrary, death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment. If the objective of imposing death sentences and executing them is to condemn the violence of crime then putting individuals in death row to execute them is also an act of violence. Rejectionists condemn terrorists like Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein yet they are not cognizant of the fact that they are doing the same to their countrymen by allowing the imposition of death. Retentionists are likewise spilling blood when they implement capital punishment. Life is a gift from God and only He can take it away. Even if there are laws which