Capital Punishment is Bad Logic, Bad Deterrent

Why kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong? Could it really be that clear? Could this oversimplified adage of rhetorical redundancy truly explain this situation so easily?

Is it possible that state-sponsored murder has no logical foundation? For that is how I wish to approach this issue.

Simple. Cold. Logic.

Punishment has three main objectives: retribution, rehabilitation, and deterrence. All of which hold no ground with the death penalty.

Retribution seems to be the biggest concern of those who support execution. It is an argument that I can understand, but must disagree with.

I hope not to appear “Holier than thou” by saying that, because in all actuality if I was put in the position of a victim I would feel the same way. If my family were brutally murdered I too would howl for revenge against the offender.

I could never give this individual a fair, honest trial. I couldn’t listen to the defense open-mindedly. I’d just grid my teeth throughout the entire process in the hopes of a death penalty verdict.

The legal system could not operate if it possessed this kind of bias. It would not be a fair distributor of justice if victims were in control. Furthermore, is not this dated policy of “eye for an eye” barbaric and inhumane? Do we still cut off the hands of thieves and publicly stone adulterous women to death? No because we have morally evolved beyond such practices.

So why do we still kill criminals? Shouldn’t we take the higher ground above such despicable people? Killing them won’t bring loved ones back. If anything it’s granting the offender less suffering. Instead of spending the rest of their life confined to a cold, dark cell you are allowing them a quicker way out.

A criminal is an individual that has been deemed unfit to live in society. Incarceration is an institution designed to rehabilitate criminals into becoming responsible members of their communities again. Unfortunately, capital punishment negates any possibility of rehabilitation for the offender.

Some would say that this is because death row inmates could never fully readapt to society. These monsters are so mentally perverse that they would never be capable of rejoining the rest of the world.

If this is the case then doesn’t the law forbid the execution of the mentally insane?

Aren’t these same sick individuals supposed to be locked in psychiatric ward for their remaining years? Doesn’t life in prison accomplish the same thing?

History has proven to us that capital punishment is no deterrent of crime. This policy has been practiced since the earliest recorded period of human civilization. Yet murders have never declined for this reason.

The quick, horrific act of execution does not resonate with members of the criminally inclined population. So doesn’t it seem more effective to have a longer show? Why not keep the murder alive and have the rest of their years stand as a shining example of the legal system.

Cesare Beccaria, the father of criminology, feels this way. Isn’t he a fairly credible source?

So we have come to an unavoidable question: why does the United States continue to practice capital punishment?

What does a majority of the modernized world understand that we do not?

Is it because they see how economically straining the death penalty is?

Is it because they realize the cruelty of execution?

Maybe they are just capable of comprehending the irrelevance of the practice?

These people can’t be right about everything. They’re humans just like us. They can easily make even the most irresponsible mistakes. Although in their system of justice, mistakes can be corrected and innocent men can be acquitted.

In our system however, execution makes errors a little harder to fix.

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