Capital Punishment - The Death Penalty

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 10th gradeA+, January 1996

download word file, 2 pages 5.0


Is the death penalty just? Politicians, lobbyists, philosophers, and experts from all walks of life continuously debate this controversial subject. Has any one of these individuals listened to the rest of us? The answer in many cases is no.

The United States is a democracy of embodied officials, who represent the people, their wishes, beliefs and ideals. That means, through elections, we decide what policies are to be enacted. In the case of capital punishment, various polls report that seventy percent of Americans are in favor of the death sentence. That is a clear majority. So called experts are free to petition grievances and speak freely according to our constitution. But the fact of the matter is seven out of ten Americans have evaluated the dilemma of capital punishment according to their own values and beliefs. Their conclusion was favorable to the death penalty. At this juncture of time, the question of it being just was answered by the majority - and the majority rules.

Many experts who speak against the death penalty cite it as barbaric. The definition of murder, according to Webster, is 'the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought.' Therefore an uneducated person would classify murder as equally barbaric. The mitigating factor of the death penalty is, or should be, an already established punishment for this crime. The killer willingly committed the heinous act of taking a life, knowing they would be subject to this penalty. Therefore, he decided to gamble on not being caught, or thought that he was above the law. In either case he willingly forfeited his life with the taking of another. The killer may not agree with 'Lex Taliones', but the consequence of his action were obvious.

While critics argue that an innocent person may be put...