The Death Penalty is an Acceptable Form of Punishment Essay

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The Death Penalty is an Acceptable Form of Punishment

On March 29, 1971, a thirty-seven-year-old male was convicted of killing seven people and suspected in killing another thirty-five. His methods of killing included gunshots, stabbing with forks, knives, or swords, dissecting, and battering with clubs. He showed no remorse for what he had done, but instead created a media circus in which he had a starring role (Blundell 124-30).

If anyone deserved to be executed for a murder sentence, it was Charles Manson. His rampage, Helter Skelter as Manson himself called it, was one of the most brutal serial murders in United States history. The public was outraged and demanded a just and fair punishment.

Yet Manson still
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In poll after poll, more than seventy percent say they support the death penalty, a figure that has remained consistent for at least the past decade (Brownlee; Foster). While the percentages have not changed much, the nature of the discussion has. Not long ago, it was framed in terms of practicality: Was the death penalty effective in deterring crime? Was permanently incapacitating an offender the best way to protect society? Was capital punishment fairly and evenly administered (Foster)?

Increasingly, another argument for the death penalty is being voiced, one far more elemental. It centers on the right of a victimise loved ones to gain peace of mind through the death[of the killer]. In other words, [this is] the right to a form of therapeutic vengeance (Landauer).

Why do Americans hold these feelings of anger toward convicted murderers? Why do they feel that it is acceptable to serve the death sentence on inmates, even though it does not deter crime? And why do Americans, with a sense of vengeance, support the death penalty as a form of retribution instead of punishment? Perhaps the answer lies in simple demographics.

While death penalty foes are quick to point out that the United States is one of the few Western countries with capital punishment, it is also true that Americans are more likely to experience violent crime than citizens of other countries. Americans might not feel so vengeful if they trusted the judicial system to…