Capital Punishment

Essay by schmidtlsuCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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The issue of capital punishment has been one of heated debate since the reinstatement of the death penalty by the Supreme Court in 1977. There are many good points on both sides of this highly emotional issue; however, there is only one that can be consistently backed up with more than just emotional rhetoric. The death penalty is not only a tool of justice; it is a method of deterrence that can be backed up with facts and evidence.

There are many fundamental arguments behind the pro capital punishment movement. The first argument is retribution, because no just society can let a murderer live. The second argument is deterrence, because if a murderer thinks that he may lose his life for taking another's, he is less likely to murder. Furthermore, if a murderer is put to death he can't murder again. The third and final argument is precision. In the past there have been relatively few cases of innocent people being put to death, and with new technology such as DNA testing, proving guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt is now easier than it was in the past.

On the night of June 24, 1993, Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena, 14 and 16 years old respectively, were walking home from a friend's apartment. On their way home they decided to take a regular shortcut to save time in order make curfew. A week later they were found dead. The two girls had both been raped by more than five different men, and were then strangled to death, while the other men involved kicked and punched them (Hall).

This is a prime example of when the death penalty is the only option. If a person that cold hearted and unethical could commit this act, they have no place in...