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Capital Punishment – Barbaric Or Appropriate?

There was a time when capital punishment was the accepted form of punishment in relation to a multitude of crimes. An alternate punishment was not open to discussion because the death penalty was the method considered most responsible for providing a deterrent for others who may have considered similar crimes.

However, over the last several decades most European countries have left capital punishment behind. Today these countries and many others embrace a punishment that includes life behind bars, but does not subject violent criminals to the death penalty.

In North America it is Canada and Mexico that have moved away from capital punishment while America remains tied to a state determined form of the death penalty.

Many Asian and Arab countries also hold onto the idea that the death penalty can be useful as a punishment against crimes such as murder.

In America there remains strong support for the death penalty. The truth is while there is considerable support for capital punishment there is also a widening gap among those who would like to see exceptions made under certain circumstances while others resist any exceptions.

One compelling argument stems from the idea that justice can’t always be served if the convicted is dead. The premise is essentially that there may likely be individuals who have been subjected to the death penalty that were innocent. If there were some new forensic technology that could prove someone’s innocence a few years from now why would we consider the use of the death penalty?

If we look at it purely from the standpoint of other civilized countries we may be inclined to determine that the death penalty is a barbaric form of justice that does not need to be used in the 21st century.

Even among those who espouse Christianity as their religion of choice there is deep division over the use of capital punishment. Some believe the idea is in conflict with a God who is referred to as ‘love’. Others view capital punishment as a way to enhance the countries ability to maintain a more civil society.

In ancient times capital punishment was often used by new leaders to execute those who had been in opposition to their newly established rule. This was often normal for a new ruler who wanted to be assured the people would respond well to the new reign.

However, in present times the debate over the death penalty centers around the individual who will be put to death for violent crimes. While the issue tends to center around the convicted some would argue that it is the victim that is most often forgotten. It has been said, “The victim had no choice in how they were treated, so why does the convicted seem to receive special treatment?”

Numerous stories are available that follow perpetrators of violent crimes who revisit those offenses when released on parole. Those who are for the death penalty see this as a validation of their argument.

The role of capital punishment as a deterrent finds those who are emotional on either side of the argument. There are those who believe the individual can be rehabilitated while others believe this is a weak form of justice that could lead to deadly consequences in the end.

Submitted by:

Tom Phelps

Discuss Capital Punishment and the Death Penality at ControversialForums in our Debate Forums.




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