Would you rather have a hardened criminal, let say a serial killer, or a drug addict with multiple counts of rape and murder, or a robber who had a robbery gone wrong which resulted to multiple homicides, be punished through life imprisonment or capital punishment? This is quite tricky to answer because this kind of question has long been controversial and a subject of many debates. Human rights advocate would opt for life imprisonment as capital punishment would mean death to the individual who committed the crime. Their defense would often say that the criminal, whatever could he have done, still has his right to live as an individual. Other groups, especially those who fight for the well-being of the victims would contradict their defense. The victims can only have justice if the criminal’s life is also taken away. Their belief is like the famous quote “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” The debate would go on and on. Neither of the two parties would back down. There are pros and cons for both types of punishment. A government will just have to make a stand on whatever type of punishment it executes and should not be swayed by the debates. As an individual, I am in favor of Capital punishment because I believe that it executes fair justice to the victims and it deters crime which would lead to a safer place and a safer country to live in.
Crimes are really bad nowadays. It is sometimes the reason why I do not watch a lot of news because when I do, what I would see and hear are stories of robbery, rape, murder, and so on. Stories like babies and children being raped and murdered would throw me off the hook. There is one instance where the criminal even burned the child in an attempt to hide his crime. My anger boils to lava hot and the bile rises in my gut which makes me want to throw up. It is mind-blowing that I could not wrap my mind around the thought of how can one person desecrate an innocent baby or an innocent child. How can one person do hideous things to another without guilt? The act of hurting another person alone, as innocent as that, would really get you unless your heart and mind are greatly evil, your extremely psychotic, or too numb to feel or think anything. The latter could be caused by an assortment of drugs injected into their system as drug addicts were mostly the people convicted of these crimes.
When these kinds of things happen, I believe that it is only fair to the victims and their families that a capital punishment is executed to the convicted criminal. This may not bring their loved one back but it is only fair that crime would be given due justice. The crime is severe thus punishment should be severe. I would also agree that death is the most severe punishment. This ends the life of the person, which means he would not have time to repent and make amends which will be punishment in itself. End of life means also the end of his crooked happiness, thus, it could be a sweet revenge. Yet as our government and law enforcement agencies are not built for revenge purposes, I would not exactly call it that, but I’ll say, it is fair justice. Put yourself in the shoes of the victim’s family, especially the parents of that innocent child then, you would greatly understand the need for fair justice. The pain and grief that the victim’s family is experiencing could not be compared to any. Sometimes, one death is not even enough to make it fair but as you could only end a person’s life once then they can’t do anything but settle with this. Ending his life would also mean no more chances of escaping from prison unlike the life imprisonment without parole punishment. Ending his life would also mean that there would be one less hardened criminal in this world. For the victim’s family, as well to the other people who live in the same place, it will be one less worry that the crime might happen again. This is because fair justice would account for having peace of mind that it won’t happen again to others because the person who did it to their own child is already dead. It will bring closure to the family which somehow would help them release some of their pain.
Those who are on the cons side of capital punishment would greatly say that this does not deter crime. They would even bring out studies and surveys that confirm their idea. Yet, I still believe that having this law in a country will deter crime. My logic is the same with any others that says when the criminals know that they could end up dead when they commit a severe crime then they will tend not to do it anymore. As discussed above, when their life ends, their crooked happiness also ends thus they would opt to not do it. In my opinion life imprisonment does not give the same effect because the prisoners, though restrained with freedom still lives. Although the cons side has a lot of studies which states that there is no evidence that death penalty deters crime, there are also studies that say otherwise. An article written by Robert Tanner for The Associated Press in 2007 says, that lives are saved in every death penalty executed by a convicted killer, counting an average of eighteen people per one convicted killer. This was the conclusion of a study made by the professors at Emory University in 2003 (Tanner, 2007). Another study made by Kenneth Land and his colleagues that focus mainly in the state of Texas from concludes that there is reduce cases of homicide, about 2.5 fewer homicides, in the first four months after a death penalty execution is done. The study analyzed a period of 11 years from January 1994 to December 2005 (Land, Teske and Zheng, 2009). There are other similar studies, thus I stand firm in my belief that indeed, Capital punishment can deter crime. Imagine the huge amount of lives we can save if this is practice in countries all over the world. I also believed in the moral approached of consequentialism wherein, what is important is the good consequence of an act, no matter what action that might be (“Normative Ethics”, n. d.). This means that it is good when you execute one convicted as long as it will save hundreds more.
This kind of controversy will continue on. More people will conduct their own studies just to prove that the other is wrong. There is also a wide range of aspect to consider, moral, cultural and legal. In the culture, for example, one cannot really say that capital punishment or death penalty is good and could deter crimes when one’s culture is centered on the sacredness of life. Thus, you just have to stand firm on what you believe in and I would stand firm in mine. And that is, capital punishment executes fair justice to the victims and it deters crime which would lead to a safer place and a safer country to live in.
- Land, K. C., Teske, R. H. C. and Zheng, H. (2209). The Short-Term Effects of Executions on Homicides: Deterrence, Displacement, Or Both? American Society of Criminology, Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-9125.2009.00168.x/abstract.
- Normative Ethics. (n. d.) Moral Philosophy. Retrieved from http://moralphilosophy.info/normative-ethics/.
- Tanner R. (2007). Studies Says That Death Penalty Deters Crime. The Associated Press. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/11/AR2007061100406.html.