The History of Capital Punishment

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The clock ticks to 10:53. The late night has grown longer, and Troy Davis is strapped down to a gurney. If he is scared, he does not show it; he appears strong and resolute in what is undoubtedly a very daunting situation. “For those about to take my life,” he says, “may God have mercy on your souls” (“Georgia”). Davis has been on death row for over twenty years for killing a police officer. After every request and appeal has failed, the time has come for Davis to be executed by the state of Georgia. What is special about this case is that thousands around the globe refuse to believe that he is guilty (Curry). People have organized to demand that he be freed, or at least that his sentence be changed. Their effort is futile. Fifteen minutes…show more content…
Society is required to take action to maintain order against crime, they claim. If society did not practice justice, then people would be free to do whatever they wished. It would be anarchy and a disaster. The more debatable argument is that victims’ families suffer without capital punishment. They are forced not only to live with the thought of their deceased loved one, but also to constantly confront the thought that the person who caused their pain is still alive. Olga Polites, a New Jersey teacher, was strictly opposed to the death penalty until her husband’s cousin was murdered. Her anger caused her to change her views entirely (23-25). She, like others who support capital punishment, believes that revenge is the panacea for her pain.
While some may argue that execution is the only effective remedy to serious crime, others believe that less cruel punishments like life imprisonment are just as effective forms of justice—if not more effective . Life imprisonment allows a criminal to improve himself by permitting him the chief human right: the right to life. While victims’ families do deserve justice, their loss does not sanction them to decide another person’s fate. Families should appreciate the possibility that a criminal may repent rather than wish vengeance on him. They have no more right to bring harm to a person than the rest of society; revenge is not a valid answer to crime (Cohen 161-170). Even worse than executing those who are actually guilty of a
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