Argument Opposing Capital Punishment.

Essay by davelane22High School, 12th grade October 2003

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The practice of capital punishment is as old as government itself. For most of history, it has not been considered controversial. Since ancient times most governments have punished a wide variety of crimes by death and have conducted executions as a routine part of the administration of criminal law. However, in the mid-18th century, social commentators in Europe began to emphasize the worth of the individual and to criticize government practices they considered unjust, including capital punishment. Should the government be able to take the life of a human being? I think it should not.

The death penalty is not justice. By allowing the government and the legal system to decide who lives and dies is bestowing upon them a power not meant for mankind. Family and friends of the victim often say that the criminal deserves the death penalty. Is justice the motive here, or is it revenge? If death penalty advocates favor executions because they believe justice is being served, would they still be for the death penalty if one of their family members or friends was on death row? It is doubtful.

Why do we have the death penalty? Officially, it is to protect society from these criminals. However, a criminal who is behind bars for the rest of his or her life can do no harm to society. Besides, in my opinion, to live with guilt and a future consisting of a small prison cell for the rest of one's life is the worst punishment. If the government is committing legalized murder, then we are forced to regard the government as a higher being, not subject to the laws that govern it's own people. It is frightening to think that our government has the power to order an individual's death. Anyone who has read Orwell's...