Capital Punishment


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Throughout the semester, I have studied many social issues in light of
philosophy. One of these
highly controversial social issues deals with the subject of capital
punishment. It is unfortunate, but our society has evolved to the point
where capital punishment has become a necessary function of modern society.

Simply stated, capital punishment is the execution of criminals, for
committing crimes,
which are regarded as so heinous, that the only acceptable punishment is
permanent removal
from the society in which they could not conform. One of the most
controversial issues argued
when considering capital punishment involves determining whether the
execution of our fellow man is justified, and if can be justified, under
what circumstances is it permissible. There are logical reasons to believe
that the death penalty will dissuade members of society from committing
those
crimes punishable by execution. Human nature causes one to fear getting
caught and punished for offenses made. As a child, one learns that
disobedience brings punishment. This negative reinforcement, through removal
of freedoms, makes a person less likely to break the rules. As a society,
we
use the same philosophy that our parents, and grandparents have used by
punishing those who commit crimes. The death penalty deters murder by
injecting the fear of execution into potential killers. People are less
likely to do something illegal if they think that harm will come to
themselves, so the worse the crime, the worse the punishment needs to be.
Thus, speeding in your car is punishable through mere fines, and the
potential loss of you freedom to drive. The more serious the crime, the more
important it is to make the punishment as swift and as appropriate as
possible so as to prevent the recurrence of that criminal act. Essentially,
the punishment should fit the crime. In such a context, the death penalty
makes sense. It is the strongest punishment possible, the removal of all of
an individual's rights and freedoms. Everyone has a natural fear of death.
It
is logical to think that the death penalty would discourage murder.



In an article from the American Journal of Sociology, David Philips says,
"(1) Psychological experiments show that people are often deterred from
exhibiting aggression when they see someone else punished for it (2) there
is
anecdotal evidence that some criminals may have been deterred by the threat
of capital punishment." A further illustration makes the point even more

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"Capital Punishment." 123HelpMe.com. 19 Feb 2018
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clear. I think if someone murdered someone else and as soon as the victim
died, the murderer died as well, the murder rate would be a fraction of what
it is today. Only those killers willing to lose their life would commit the
crime. In the same way, the death penalty can dissuade murder if used with
the proper frequency and speed.



Governments were formed, according to John Locke, to protect the right to
life, the right
to freedom,(liberty) and the right to property. (pursuit of happiness).
These
rights were absolute,

belonging to all the people. But Locke argued that a person surrenders
his/her rights when
committing even minor crimes. Once rights are forfeited, Locke justifies
punishment for two
reasons: (1) criminals deserve punishment, and, (2) punishment is needed to
protect our society
by deterring crime through example. Thus, society may punish the criminal
any
way it deems
necessary so to set an example for other would-be criminals. This punishment
includes taking
away his/her life.



What separates crime from punishment, good from evil are not their physical
aspects but
rather their moral aspects. Moral aspects examine the reasons and
motivations
behind one's
actions. People against capital punishment tend to focus on the death
penalty's physical aspects to
demonstrate that it is the same as murder, while completely ignoring the
moral aspects involved,
therefore, demonstrating their own total lack of moral consistency. The
sentencing objective
based on the principle of "an-eye-for-an-eye", which means that what one
person has done to
another should also be done to that person in return. Is that not justified
especially in cases of
premeditated murder of another human begin, another life?




The argument which is used by anti-capital punishment advocates is that we
should value all human life, even the most violent and deviant ones. This
way
of thinking indicates that there is nothing more to humanity than the
physical traits that identify our species. But there is so much more than
just physical traits that distinguish our species. There is an entire
spiritual aspect to
humanity that the critics tend to completely ignore. Anybody can be
physically human. All that
is, is an accident of genetics. It is the spiritual aspects of humanity that
actually define who and
what we are. Being human on a spiritual level means having compassion and
respect for all that
is good and decent. We respect others rights to life, liberty , and
happiness, and we do not
infringe on others inalienable rights for our own benefit. Murderers display
none of those traits.



Our spiritual traits is where our true differences lie. When a culture
develops it's moral structure to recognize humanity in both a spiritual and
physical aspect, as opposed to a mere physical existence, it will not be
able
to allow, tolerate, or preserve evil and barbarianism just because it exists
inside a physical human shell.


Using a morals arguement, opponents of the death penalty will contend that
execution is the same as murder. They will insist that the use of capital
punishment to stop murder is like fighting fire with fire, and that
executing
the criminal makes the state no better than the murderer. If the death
penalty is murder, then certainly killing someone in a war to defend your
country is murder. Therefore, our country should not fight in any more wars.
This proposition is ridiculous. Even though wars are both barbaric and
tragic, they are often necessary to protect the rights of a group of people,
known as a society. Both war and the death penalty have become necessary
to
protect every member of society's rights and freedoms.


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