The Death Penalty
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The death penalty is also known as capital punishment. It is the killing of a person in order to justify or make right a severe crime they have committed, like murder. It is basically a sentence of punishment by some form of execution. I believe the death penalty is wrong and that no person should get to decide weather a person lives or dies because of the actions he or she has committed. According to Catholic Social Teaching Pope John Paul IIÐ²Ð‚™s Evangelium Vitae, The Gospel of Life defends life from the Ð²Ð‚Ñšvery beginning until its endÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Krier Mich, 226). The church believes a life is important for the whole life. Deciding who gets to live and who gets to die is almost like playing the part of God, deciding who lives and who dies.
There are several countries that still have the death penalty. Some of these countries are USA, Sudan, China, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. There are several methods that are used when engaging in capital punishment. Sometimes victims of the death penalty are stabbed, stoned, hanged, lethally injected, electrocuted, shot, and beheaded. None of these methods sound humane. About 91 percent of all the executions in 2007 happened in the following six countries: USA, Sudan, China, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. There were 53 executions in the USA in twelve of the states the death penalty is legal in. The current number for those condemned to death or awaiting execution in 2006 was between 19, 185 and 24, 646. Two thirds of the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty. Since 1999 the number of people on trial in the USA for the death penalty has been cut in half. Over 45 countries have abolished the death penalty for crimes since 1990. This is a perfect example of how the world is on its way, at least in one area, to becoming more peaceful.
Many of these countries have the death penalty to deter criminals from committing murder. There are many pros, believe it or not to the death penalty. The death penalty has influenced many men to convert to Christianity before they are executed. The two main reasons the death penalty is justified is for retribution and as a deterrent. Another argument for the death penalty is thinking about all the people lives that were ruined by Enron. We should enlist white-collar crimes for capital punishment so as not to suggest that only the poor get executed. The people of Enron obviously only cared about their own personal fortunes and because of that have cause more harm than one murder! If this were how the death penalty worked a person would think twice before ruining so many lives. Also making executions public would deter people from committing crime. Of course the biggest argument is that once dead a murderer cannot commit another crime. In order to justify the death penalty a person could argue that a life is sacred and that a person who takes another personÐ²Ð‚™s life must lose his own life. According to Evangelnum Vitae, catechism is not a binding teaching and Catholics may disagree with the death penalty standing of the church. This teaching specifically stated that the death penalty might be imposed only to protect and not to avenge. If we as a society do not distribute the correct punishment to criminals we risk anarchy and people may take the law into their own hands.
There are also many cons to the death penalty and capital punishment. The Pope states that Ð²Ð‚Ñšnot even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God Himself pledges to guarantee thisÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (229). There is also an increased opposition to the death penalty; the amount of executions has decreased over the years. It is not just the church that stands against the death penalty. Many members of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation speak out against capital punishment saying, Ð²Ð‚Ñšrevenge is not the answerÐ²Ð‚Ñœ (Logan). Since the early 1990Ð²Ð‚™s over 10,000 people have signed the Ð²Ð‚Ñšdeclaration of life,Ð²Ð‚Ñœ which stated that if that person dies of a violent crime, they do not want those prosecuting the case to seek the death penalty (Logan). There are several other reasons for opposing the death penalty such as: the logic is paradoxical because the law states that murder is wrong – by killing someone. The innocent have also been or maybe wrongly executed. Since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated 82 inmates have been freed from Death Row. That is one Death Row inmate found to be wrongfully convicted for every seven executed (Auchter). Executions also cost more than it does to keep a person in prison for life. A person who is executed costs about $2 million opposed to a person who is imprisoned for life, their cost is $500,000. That is a significant difference,