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Death Penalty

Beoordeling 6.2
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  • 1e klas havo/vwo | 1276 woorden
  • 1 januari 2006
  • 24 keer beoordeeld
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Against the Death Penalty
I am against the death penalty. Because it is cruel, wrong, and often unfair. The methods that are used are cruel. Killing someone is just wrong. And killing someone who is mentally retarded, or a juvenile, or because of the color of someone's skin is not the right one is just unfair. Amnesty International recorded nearly 4,000 executions worldwide in 2004. China carried out 3,400 of these executions. Iran came in second with at least 160, followed by Vietnam with at least 65. The US was fourth with 60. Almost 80 countries have the death penalty. That's not including the countries that have death penalty only in special cases. Some 60 prisoners were executed in the US last year. 38 of the 50 US states have the death penalty. DC doesn't have the death penalty, Virginia and Maryland do. Virginia executes a larger percentage of its population than any other state. The Supreme Court banned the practice in 1972, but authorized its resumption in 1976. Since then, around 950 people have been executed in the US. Only 3 of those were women.
First of all, I think the methods of execution are cruel. There are seven main method still in use worldwide:

· Hanging: If it is done right, the neck is broken and the person dies quickly. If the fall distance is too short, the person will slowly be strangled to death. If it is too great, the rope will tear the head of. Hanging is a lawful method of execution in 58 countries and the only method in 33 of those.
· Electric Chair: Nobody knows exactly how fast a person dies from the electric shock or what they experience. There have been cases where prisoners lived for about 4-10 minutes before actually dying. The electric chair is not often used anymore. It was used once in the US in 2003.
· Firing Squad: The prisoner is bound and shot through the heart by multiple men. Death appears to be fast, assuming the killers don't miss. In the US, only Utah used this method. It was abandoned in 2004. Shooting is used by 70 or so countries and is the sole method in around 40 of them. Chinese shootings are carried out by a single bullet to the back of the head
· Poison Gas: Cyanide is dropped into acid producing Hydrogen Cyanide, a deadly gas. This takes many minutes of agony before a person dies. The gas chamber hasn't been used in a while but is lawful in several countries.
· Lethal Injection: Lethal drugs are injected into the prisoner while he lays strapped down to a table. If properly done, the prisoner fades quickly into unconsciousness. If the dosage is too low, the person may linger for many minutes, experiencing paralysis. It's only used in a couple of countries including the US, China and Thailand.
· Guillotine: A famous French invention. It chops off your head, so death comes very fast. It's not used in North America. Saudi-Arabia uses this method a lot, along with some other countries.
· Stoning: The prisoner is often buried up to her or his neck. They are pelted with rocks until they eventually die. The rocks are chosen so that they are large enough to cause injury, but are not so large that a single rock will kill the prisoner. This method is used in some Muslim countries.

Secondly, I think that killing someone is morally wrong. No matter who they are, or what they might have done. There is a popular bumper sticker that says: We kill people to show people that killing people is wrong. They're practically saying that you should kill whoever has killed. But then why not kill the people killing the criminals? And then kill the people that killed the people killing the criminals etc. I think that a government that imposes the death penalty is almost as bad as the murderer. It isn't justified for a human being to willingly take the life of another human. So it isn't justified for a government to do that either. Also, you don't go and rob a robber, or rape a rapist. Then why would you murder a murderer? No matter what the circumstances are, murder is murder. Whether you are killing someone or executing someone, it's the same thing. I don't think anyone has the right to decide whether a person should live or not. Life is one of the greatest miracles, no-one should be allowed to decide whether someone is worthy of living or not.
That one person was murdered was bad enough, but to go and kill a second person is worse. I mean, the family of the victim was probably very hurt by his/her death. But the murderer's family is going to be just as sad about the execution of their family member. Many people have already been hurt, but to go and hurt even more people, seems like a crime to me too.
It is also against a lot of people's religion. Both the Jewish and the Christian beliefs have religious texts about this. In the bible, in Exodus 20, it clearly says : Thou Shalt Not Kill. Most Christians are against the death penalty. They want to do what God told them to do. So if it says Thou Shalt Not Kill, they won't kill. And even if the criminal has done so, even more reason for him to live a sad life behind bars. But it does not give anyone any reason to take his life.
Thirdly, a lof of times people are charged and/or executed unfairly. This may be because of mental retardation,or skin color. It may also be because the convicted person is a juvenile or is poor. Sometimes, the conviction may turn out to be based on wrong evidence.
Since the death penalty was allowed again in 1976, around 35 mentally retarded people have been executed. It's unfair to kill mentally retarded people because they often can't help it. They don't know what they are doing or that what they do is bad. Just an example: Ricky Ray Rector was mentally retarded. Ricky had absolutely no understanding of what he did or what was about to happen to him. As part of his last meal, he requested pie for dessert, but explained he would eat it when he came back. He was executed later that day.
When giving the death penalty, there is always the risk of executing the innocent. Since 1973, 120 prisoners have been released in the US after evidence emerged of their innocence of the crimes for which theywere sentenced to death. Some prisoners had come close to execution after spending many years under sentence. For example, Leonel Herrera was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1982 murders of two police officers. New evidence was brought forward which proved that Herrera's brother committed the murders. By Texas law, which states that any new evidence must be presented within 30 days of the conviction, this new revelation was irrelevant. Thus, though the court agreed he was innocent, Leonel was executed on May 12, 1993. Other US prisoners have gone to their deaths despite serious doubts over their guilt.
Many people would disagree with me because they think that the murderer deserves to die. But, like I said earlier, I don't think anyone deserves to die. And it doesn't bring back the person who was killed in the first place, it only makes things worse. It doesn't solve anything.
So in conclusion, I think that the death penalty is cruel, wrong and unfair. Many of the methods used are inhumane and painful. And noone deserves to die or has the right to say someone else should. And lastly, it is often unfair because of many things including racism and/or mental retardation.


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