“The reason to support the death penalty is because it saves other people’s lives.” In the words of George W. Bush at the Oct. 17, 2000 presidential debate, Capital punishment is morally correct and justified in society. It is effective in ensuring that criminals won’t create more victims, and that past victims will obtain justice.
According to deontologist Immanuel Kant, a state that isn’t willing to demand the life of someone that has taken a life is immoral. By taking the life of a victim it is causing the murderer happiness, but it is causing more people to suffer and mourn the loss of the victim. Therefore the victim was used as a means and the crime was not committed for the greater good. Executing the murderer is for the greater good, because it will create justice. The crime and the punishment is used as an example to society of what is morally acceptable.
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The death penalty prevents future crimes, by deterring criminals. People choose to obey or to violate laws based on the gains and consequences of their crime and actions. If the punishment for a crime is too little, then the crimes will continue and grow. If the punishment is too severe then it is unjust. The key is to make the person debating the crime rationalize between the good it will do for them and the bad it will bring upon them, the bad things are meant to deter them from creating the criminal act.
The death penalty should not be used for all crimes. It is best if the death penalty is used to be proportionate to the crime that was committed, but carried out in a humane way. Even though the victims weren’t given the humanity that is offered to the criminal, the criminal should not be punished for the sake of revenge, but punished for committing a crime.
Kant also believed that the state has the authority to punish an individual, which I agree with. Criminals have been fleeing from the location of their crimes into other states and countries. In order for a civil society to punish the criminal, we need them extradited to the United State or to the location of the crime, in order carry out the act of justice. To prevent more criminal acts against innocents, the government will condemn the guilty parties to death and save the lives of future victims.
Life is one of our most sacred possessions. Americans are promised life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The government is obligated to protect the rights of the people. The constitution’s framers believed capital punishment was acceptable, because when the ability for someone to live their life is ended, the government has a legal duty to protect other members of society and to provide justice for victims. Justice is not equivalent to revenge in the sense that justice is humanely administered and revenge is inflicting harm or suffering on the criminal in an inhumane, malicious manner and expecting to forcefully even the scale, when justice balances the scale in a productive manner.
Some of our past methods of capital punishment were firing squads, gas chambers and guillotines. Today these techniques aren’t being practiced because of the barbaric way in which these executions were performed. Since respect for human life has increased over time, we have been able to devise more acceptable forms of execution. Although our previous techniques for capital punishment was brutal and cruel, we are now implementing lethal injection as the most commonly practiced form of definitive reparation. Lethal injection can either be a series of administered drugs, such as pentobarbital or one high dose of the drug. The reason lethal injection isn’t considered cruel and unusual, is the lack of torture and the effectiveness.
The drugs are administered intravenously. There are three stages to dying by lethal injection. The first step is to give the inmate an anesthetic to fall asleep. Second, the inmate is injected with a drug to paralyze their entire muscle system, which stops the inmates breathing. The third step and third shot administered stops the inmates’ heart. There are some states that prefer to use one dose of a drug, which follows the same procedure except the inmate dies from one large overdose. Regardless of the number of dosages administered, the inmate is still being executed in a humane and a morally acceptable manner, without suffering and torture.
In the Supreme Court case Baze v. Rees, lethal injection went under much scrutiny. Practicing lethal injection was claimed to prohibit the inmates’ eight amendment rights, which restricts the government from using cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court eventually ruled to uphold lethal injection as a method to use during executions. Lethal injection does not inflict unnecessary pain, which means it isn’t related to torture. Therefore the inmates’ eight amendment rights were not being violated.
The death penalty saves lives, deters criminals and provides justice, it is used in efforts to keep society morally in check. To live and let live is the purpose of people living in society. If the ability to live and pursue happiness is taken away, then the government must intervene and repair the wrong doing, by seeking justice. “The end of Law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge Freedom.” –John Locke
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