Essay about Choices: Death Penalty or Retribution

Submitted By Zack-Carter
Words: 1800
Pages: 8

Choices: Death Penalty or Retribution

Zachary Carter
Prof. Jianchu Chen
Moral Choices in Contemporary Society It is an undeniable fact that murders and vicious crimes occur every day. As evidenced by tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, as well as Virginia Tech and Columbine, sometimes people are going to commit murder. Sometimes, it’s even murder in a mass quantity. It has also, unfortunately as it may be, been evidenced that traditional methods of discipline have done little to nothing to deter human beings from killing their innocent peers. In fact just recently, an ex-coworker of mine slit his girlfriend’s throat. He had no proper reason, he had no proper motive, he just felt like doing it, and that’s what he told the police as well. This is a man that I personally believe should be put to death. However, with the death penalty not being legal in most parts of the United States, this cannot happen. I feel that the death penalty should be allowed, on the basis that a monetary retribution cannot be met. The first laws on capital punishment go as far back as 18th Century B.C., and had 25 different crimes under which the death penalty was applicable. Such death penalties were carried out by crufixion, beating, stoning, burning alive, drowning, and even impalement. While very primitive and absolutely primal, I feel that this is the only honest way to handle situations in which a life was ended by another’s hand. The death penalty carried on into 10th Century A.D. where hanging became the most used method of execution. This was ceased however, for a very short time, only to be brought back by Henry VIII. Under his rule over 72000 people were believed to have been executed, often having committed crimes having nothing to do with ending the lives of others. This type of execution is one that I am not fond of in the slightest.1 “The death penalty honors human dignity by treating the defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own destiny for good or for ill,”2 and if the defendant used his moral choices to end the life of another, commit treason, or any other such capital crimes, a capital punishment was administered. The use of the death penalty was quite scarce in the United States since its berth. However, assessments by criminologists argued that the death penalty was a “necessary social measure.”3 It seemed to be, at that point, the only thing that would deter people from committing capital crimes. In the United States, the constitutionality of the death penalty was argued quite a bit. By 1958, it was mutually agreed by the Supreme Court that the death penalty is not constructive to a society in the stage of maturation that the United States was in at the time, and so the death penalty was no longer widely tolerated in the United States. It was still used, but only in the most serious of situations.4 Since 1976, there have only been 1721 uses of the death penalty in the United States, with 3100 inmates on Death Row. The following states; Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin don’t have a death penalty statute in their constitutions. The time of abolition ranges from the years 1846(Michigan), to 2013(Maryland).5 Now a days, the death penalty is a very controversial subject. 18 states have completely abolished it, and many are working towards that direction at a fairly swift pace. Many states and their government believe that the death penalty is not only “cruel and unusual” punishment, but it is also not very cost effective. Inmates are left in jail on death row to essentially rot and die until their “time” comes. There have been quite a few cases where someone who has been left on death row has died before his/her date came. Therefore, while waiting to be killed he did life in prison, costing insane