Death Penalty Essay: The Barbaric Practice of Capital Punishment

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The Barbaric Practice of Capital Punishment


Rarely has any issue across the world faced such fierce debate as the practice of sentencing convicted persons to death. Capital punishment, or the death penalty, was until the last few centuries, a widespread and common event, applicable for even a minor offense. As society and culture have evolved, however, the barbaric practice has come under close scrutiny. Today, many first-world countries have outlawed the death penalty in all but the rarest instances, such as treason during wartime.



The United States, however, which has stood at the forefront of the fight for global human rights, still uses the death penalty liberally, and can apply it for a great many crimes. This
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Hammurabi's Code, as well as the Bible referred to "eye for an eye." "Proponents and opponents of capital punishment probably concede that there is an element of revenge in retributive justice-maybe the largest element in it-and that it may be the reason for the masses' continued support for the death penalty." (Hook 82) As societies have advanced, however, the act of killing a murderer seems to be the only act for which we maintained this vengeful idea. We do not rape the rapist, abuse and abuser, or burn down an arsonist's house, so why do we continue to kill the killer? Does not this sort of act on behalf of the state seem a bit hypocritical to the masses? George Bernard Shaw was of the opinion that, "murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but similars that breed their kind." (Hook 61) This we are led to question whether murder by the state acts as a deterrent to the public, as its proponents have always claimed, or whether it merely serves to condone death.



The proponents of the death penalty have from the very beginning made their single point of argument the fact that the death penalty is a deterrent to the people to keep them from killing others. While common sense might lead us to believe this is true, absolutely nothing has served to prove this point. Thus, we are continuing a practice that doesn't even have a proven point, other than revenge against criminals. As a matter of fact, as…