The notion that for every wrong done there should be penalty to a similar degree is known to people since time immemorial. There was a time when a state did not consider personal injuries to be crimes against society and it was only a matter between two families. At present such matter is taken over by the state and is immensely considered to be criminal behaviour. If it is proved that one has murdered, he or she is usually sententenced to life imprisonment. But is this penalty appropriate for such a heinous crime?
Should capital punishment be reinstated? Do many people deeply support it? There is a well-known quotation widely used in Mahatma Gandhi‘s policy of non-violence which states: “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”. If we respond to every single injury, in our society there would be no need for laws and we could all be primitive again. To put one to death in the electic chair to show that murder is wrong is contradiction in policy that confuses criminals and undermines any criminal deterence capital punishment was intended to have.
The most recent FBI data clearly demonstrates that countries with the death penalty actually have higher murder rates than those without. Moreover, study after study has found that the capital punishment is much more expensive than live in prison as the process of it is far more complex than for any kind of crime. The largest costs come at trial stages when it is decided whether or not sentence defendant to death. This shows that countries do not need this extreme threat to prevent crime. The anti-death-penalty morality arguments of some Christians are persuasive to many.
It is assumed that God commanded “You should not murder” and that this is a clear instruction with no exceptions. According to Christians, only God should create and destroy our lives. Opponents of capital punishment vemently believe that execute one using an electric chair is the kind of revenge and human judgment that Jesus so often warned against. Therefore, death penalty is incompatible with a teaching which emphasises forgiveness and compassion that are fundamental tenets of Christianity. Futhermore, some Christians argue that in many countries the imposition of the death penalty is biased against the poor.
Since Christian teaching is to support the poor, Christians are highly likely to be called the opponents of death penalty. Some people argue that the death penalty may bring a closure to the victim’s family. They would not have to worry that it could happen to another family. However, some families of murder victims are against it on the moral grounds. They deeply believe that death penalty will do the same damage to families like theirs. It is widely assumed that it would be a better punishment if someone would die repenting and trying to make up for crimes.
When people have been killed there is no chance of rehabilitation that makes criminals see their mistakes and there is a possibility that these previously dangerous people will turn into productive citizens that contribute to society and help make life better. The system can make tragic mistakes. No reliable data could show how many people have been executed for crimes that they did not commit. Unfortunately, such errors do occur. A film „The Life of David Gale“ makes overwhelming impression convincingly demonstrating a life of a man who is found guilty of murder and awaits his execution.
The entire movie is designed to show what happens when an innocent man is sententenced – his family, marriage, career and reputation are all destroyed. Another movie based on a similar story is „The Green Mile“. A giant black man convicted of raping and killing two young girls is sentenced to death. While on the death row, we learn that he is innocent but there is no way to stop his inevitable execution. This proves that if in real life the government makes a mistake putting one to death in the electric chair, innocent people can always be released from prison, however, they can never be brought back from death.
Capital punishment is immoral and a violation of natural rights. It is wrong for everyone involved: criminals, victims’ families and the prosecuted innocent. It should be replaced by a safer and more inexpensive option. The death penalty does not guarantee safety for innocent victims, it does not effectively deter crime, and it does not usually give closure to victims’ families. Nothing good comes of hate, and nothing good can ever come from capital punishment.
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