The Death Penalty: Justice or Murder?
The death penalty is one of the nation's most hotly debated topics. Most Americans are either heavily in favor of execution or heavily opposed to it. Mr. Edward Koch, former mayor of New York, is an ardent supporter of the death penalty; in 1985 he wrote an essay entitled "Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life"(557-562). A South Carolina lawyer, Mr. David Bruck, read Mayor Koch's essay and replied with an essay of his own, entitled "The Death Penalty" (563-566). Mr. Koch claims that to lessen the penalty for murder would be an insult to the memories of the victims (560); however, Mr. Bruck correctly argues that justice is not served by creating another victim, this one to feed the bloodlust of the public (566). The death penalty is barbaric; it cheapens life, sacrifices dignity, and defies morality.
To call for the murder of another human being cheapens life in general.
Capital punishment is a vicious cycle: someone, whether it be the media, a politician, or someone else entirely, stirs up the American public, then claims the people support the death penalty. This leads to more media coverage of capital cases, which in turn incites the population and perpetuates the cycle. People should be likened unto sheep in some ways; singly, the person may be quite intelligent, but given the presence of many other people, a group consciousness forms. Under the influence of the group, that intelligent person could conceivably act in a way he or she wouldn't consider normally. The death penalty further cheapens life by being a legal means of discrimination. The Southern states are far more likely to convict black males than white males, particularly if the crime was against a white person. While Mr. Bruck doesn't...