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Capital Punishment - the Death Penalty

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Essay title: Capital Punishment - the Death Penalty

Introduction: An extensive body of literature about the death penalty (capital punishment) exists in both popular and professional journals. The articles cover the pros, cons, and reasons for the death penalty and why it should and should not exist. Some reasons that are mention in the articles on why capital punishment should not exist is the fact that some people on death row are innocent, there is no retribution or reformation, and the fact that the criminal is in custody so why should we kill him? Some reasons that are stated in the articles on why we should keep the death penalty because of tradition and sometimes the death penalty is the only suitable punishment.

Review of the Literature: The argument with capital punishment is very simple to understand. The argument is should we have it or not? It’s easy enough to understand. It can also break it down into how the death penalty is performed, but that’s another topic. This paper will start with how John D. Bessler’s (2002) mind is unchanged after the terrorist attack of 9-11. John D. Bessler states in his article America’s death penalty: just another form of violence, that “My own opposition to capital punishment remains unchanged.(Bessler, 2002 p. 13)” John D. Bessler argument is against capital punishment because he feels that our government already has “a criminal in custody to use violence, that is, the death penalty to try to reduce violence. (Bessler, 2002 p.14)”

Bessler article also states how America’s death-penalty states have higher homicide rates than do non-death-penalty states. According to Bessler, “The state of Minnesota, where I lived, for instance, abolished capital punishment in 1911 and yet has one of the lowest violent-crime rates in the country. (Bessler, 2002 p.14)”

The statistics in the article state that the national homicide rate was 6.3 murders per 100,000 people in 1998, however Minnesota’s rate that year was less than half that figure. Bessler’s article also states another problem with the death penalty is, “the conviction of the innocent, (Bessler, 2002 p.14)”

According to Dudley Sharp’s article, Still Necessary (2002), “The leading salvo in those claims is that 101 innocent people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence. The number is fraud. (Sharp, 2002 p248).”

Sharp’s article later goes on how both the international media and the U.S media have swallowed such claims to only pass them along to the public. Sharp claims in his article, that the number of innocent people released form death is much lower than it actually is. His article also gives a rather disturbing story of Jenny Ertman, age 14, and Elizabeth Pe-a, age 16 both got raped and murder by a gang while taking a short cut home that supports why he agrees with the death penalty. “They were both raped: orally, anally, and vaginally. The gang members laughed about the virgin blood they spilled. When they had finished, they beat and strangled the girls. But Jenny and Elizabeth wouldn't die. With all their strength, with their souls still holding on to the beautiful lives before them, they fought for life. The gang worked harder. The girls were strangled with belts and shoelaces, stomped on and beaten. Their dreams disappeared as life seeped away from their broken bodies. (Sharp, 2002 p.247)”

Sharp’s article later goes on and tells us how the parents suffered as well, not to rape, but the fact that their child was rape and murdered. Sharp strongly feels that sometimes, the death penalty is simply the most appropriate punishment for the vile crimes committed. He explains that it is the jury who decides the death penalty. Ones own peers.

Joseph Bottum (2005) also agrees with Dudley Sharp on the death penalty. In his article Christians and the death penalty, Joseph Bottum gives a similar story, but this has only one offender, Michael Ross. Michael Ross is responsible for the murders, and rapes of Dzung Ngoc Tu, Tammy Williams, Paula Perrera, Debra Smith, Robin Stavinsky, Leslie Shelley, Aprin Brunais, and Wendy Baribeault. Bottum’s article says that the families of those children and women got a feeling of rightness and a sort of balance with his death. “It gives the feeling of rightness and a sort of balance restored to a universe gone wrong with the taking of innocent life. It aims, as satisfying stories must, at what we used to call poetic justice: the killer killed, the blood-debt repaid with blood, death satisfied with death. (Bottum, 2005 p.17)”

The article supports that statement by explaining how murder is a not a normal crime. When one steals from another those items can be give back, regardless of what it is. With murder, once you take a life its gone forever. “Capital punishment may occasionally be necessary in a modern democracy, but it is

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