Should capital punishment be abolished?

by nboyer on September 2, 2014 - 6:26pm

Capital punishment has raised many moral issues for decades. In the article “Capital Punishment in America: Dismantling the Machinery of Death”, published by The Economist on April 26, 2014, two points of views are raised concerning the death penalty in the United States. As the article mentions, the United States is one of the few remaining wealthy countries to still use the death penalty as a form of punishment.

According to one point of view, capital punishment should not be abolished because it is simply fair. The author of this article explains that from a religious point of view, this type of punishment can be justified by certain passages from the Bible such as, “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth” – Exodus. In fact, the religious attribute value to the lives of the innocent, such as unborn children in the face of abortion, but not criminals. Also, it is argued by some that the death penalty can actually prevent murders because of its severity. Those that are for this punishment believe that taking the life of a murderer is best for the society as a whole; everyone is given the same chance and those who choose the path of crime must pay for their actions.

One the other hand, others believe that capital punishment should be abolished because murder is still a crime against humanity. The author points out that most rich countries are now opposed to this vengeful act. In addition, those opposed to the death penalty argue that it does not seem to deter murders. The United States has a higher murder rate than the European Union, which does not use capital punishment. In fact, the states that allow capital punishment have more murders than the states that do not allow it. Another issue lies in the ever-present risk of murdering an innocent person. In the unlikely event that a prisoner is proven innocent after many years of imprisonment, that person can at least be let free. Although no cases of executing innocent people have been reported since 1976, some cases remain highly questionable. Therefore, abolishing the death penalty would be beneficial because it causes harm to the society.