The world is full of mysterious answers to questions: Why does the sun rise? Is there a higher power somewhere? These questions can be answered one of two ways; either through knowledge or belief. The accuracy of these answers, however, can vary greatly depending on which method of knowing is used. Belief, for example, is the least accurate option of the two. Belief is personal. Different individuals may have different beliefs on the same matter. People tend to have different beliefs depending on their way of thinking, which in turn depends on the person’s upbringing, education, knowledge, etc.
Knowledge however is something universal; there are no different views factored into knowledge. It is something that is void of any emotions or personal beliefs. When it comes to capital punishment, the answer for whether or not governments should be allowed to execute criminals is an answer based on belief. Some people may believe that capital punishment is wrong while some may believe that it is just. No one knows for sure whether or not it’s right or wrong to execute criminals. Some faith groups, such as the Roman Catholic Church, oppose the death penalty as not being “pro-life. Catholic Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, writes “… the death penalty diminishes all of us, increases disrespect for human life, and offers the tragic illusion that we can teach that killing is wrong by killing. ” This quotation is based off of reason. It shows the side of the debate that views executing criminals as wrong. After all, if we kill someone to teach that killing is wrong, doesn’t that make us just as bad? “If a civilized society cannot say why one man should be executed and another not,” stated Justice Matthew Tobriner, “it does not rationally, logically take life.
Instead, it grossly denies due process of law, inflicting death on the basis of a trial that is capricious, discriminatory and guess-infected. ” For example, wrongly convicted, innocent people have received death penalty sentences and were killed by the state. People are accused of crimes they didn’t commit frequently. How can the state be sure of whether or not the person whose life they’re taking is actually doing justice, or just murdering an innocent person? This is based on reason. Arguing for capital punishment, the Clark County, Indiana Prosecuting
Attorney writes that “… there are some defendants who have earned the ultimate punishment our society has to offer by committing murder with aggravating circumstances present. I believe life is sacred. It cheapens the life of an innocent murder victim to say that society has no right to keep the murderer from ever killing again. In my view, society has not only the right, but the duty to act in self defense to protect the innocent. ” Some crimes are so horrific that some people think that revenge or retribution is the only option.
This reasoning is not based on logic; but rather, it is based on emotions. Therefore, this reason should not be deemed a valid justification. It is commonly believed that the punishment of a crime should equal the crime. This is also known as “an eye for eye” justice. Therefore using this reason, the appropriate punishment for murder is death. Frank Carrington states, “is there any way one can tell whether the death penalty deters murders from killing? There is no way one can tell whether the death penalty deters murderers from killing.
The argument goes on that proponents of capital punishments should not have to bear the burden of proving deterrence by a reasonable doubt. Nor should the abolitionist have to prove deterrence by a reasonable doubt -neither side would be able to anyway. ” He also claims common sense supports the inference that if, the threat of the death penalty decreases, the rate of murders increases than it may be true. But if the threat had increased, the homicide rate may decrease. This statement means that capital punishment may serve as an example to would-be criminals, to deter them from committing murder or terrorist acts.
In conclusion, I find the arguments against capital punishment the most convincing. All of the inferences made in the argument against the death penalty have been based on reason or perception. An argument pro death penalty was based on emotion and has convinced me that the death penalty is in large part, a way of getting even. The “eye for an eye” analogy supports this. Previously, I was for capital punishment, but due to the evidence and the knowledge and not belief, that support the claims, I am against capital punishment. Word Count = 765
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