Capital Punishment Results in a Better Society

Capital Punishment Results in a Better Society
When it comes to capital punishment most people think of the death penalty. I don?t think people realize how many papers, books, and controversies there is over this topic. One of the many questions that arise when people think about capital punishment is how it affects crime, and more importantly, if we use the death penalty more effectively, it not only becomes a deterrent to crime, but also brings about a better society.
When we use the death penalty and others learn from the mistakes of those receiving the death penalty then it is a successful deterrent. An article from the American Economic Review (quoted in the book The Death penalty, 1949) titled ?The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death,? stated this fact perfectly. ?For every execution that occurred in the United States in the Period 1933 ? 1967, between seven and eight potential murders were avoided.? This fact states that people actually do learn from others? mistakes. People have to fear something before it stops them from doing wrong again. There is nothing worse to fear than death, except for fear itself. An example of a successful deterrent is a mother with children. When one child does something wrong and the mother punishes that child in front of the others it stops the child and other children from doing the same thing. This sort of thing needs to happen in society a little more. We need to punish those who do wrong right away.

When the death penalty is not used correctly and people continue to screw up in life and learn nothing from it, then the death penalty cannot be considered to be a deterrent. For most everyone, fear and death is the best deterrent. But then, ?How can prisoners fear execution when the leading cause of death among death row prisoners is not lethal injection, electrocution, hanging, or poison gas, but natural causes?? (The Death Penalty, 1949) In the ?good ol? days of capital punishment? you were found guilty of a crime, then you were sentenced to die, then you were executed. (Not even enough time to show the judge that the bloody glove really does fit, and yet you say it doesn?t.) Criminals feared this day in their careers. Nowadays it takes some fifteen years and millions of dollars to have a trial, have more trials, convict him, sentence him to die, then only give him a life sentence, then let him go in twenty years for good behavior and hope he doesn?t kill again. Criminals do not fear this. They know they can get off easy and only rot in jail for a few years and they?re right back out. Back to the example of the mother and her children: If the mother does not punish her child right away in front of the others then the punishment does no good. The child forgets the bad thing he did and will probably end up doing it again.

To try to support my point I gave a survey to three teachers at DeLaSalle High School. Unfortunately the survey turned on me. All of the participants had the opposite opinion of mine. They all agreed that capital punishment is not a successful deterrent to crime. They argued that it depends on the crime, and that criminals believe it won?t happen to them. One topic that there was disagreement on was that of being able to sentence someone to die. One person had a strongly ?no? because they don?t believe in ?eye for eye? justice. Another person said it depends on the reason and leaned towards punishing someone to death but the other person summed up his answer the best: ?We sentence soldiers to die for the sake of their society in war time, to protect their society. Why can?t society sentence offenders to die to protect itself?? Basically saying we sentence soldiers to die to improve our society.

The Roman Catholic Church has multiple opinions on killing and death. It is already well-known that the fifth commandment is ?You shall not kill.? But in more serious cases where more harsh crimes are committed, severe punishment, including the death penalty is given. It is thought that preserving a society requires making someone unable to inflict harm unto others. In order to do this you have to punish or try to rehabilitate the person doing wrong. The following is and excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The primary effect of punishment is to redress the disorder caused by the offense. When his punishment is voluntarily accepted by the offender, it takes on the value of expiation. Moreover, punishment has the effect of preserving public order and the safety of persons. Finally punishment has a medicinal value; as far as possible it should contribute to the correction of the offender.
If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority should limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Throughout this paper I have tried to voice some of my own opinions while telling the facts. And if I haven?t done this now is my chance. First of all I would like to say that I am totally for capital punishment. I believe that it works and that we should use it more today, and that it does make better society. Second, the only problem with capital punishment today is that it is not swift and public. In the old days someone was sentenced to die and than right away his head was cut off. When we punish someone in public then others will learn from the mistakes of that one person. But when it takes fifteen years to kill someone and it happens only with a few people watching, nobody learns anything. It has been proven throughout time that capital punishment works, and that it most definitely deters crime. Even today in countries with capital punishment today, crime rates are down and people live in a better society. What?s so wrong about capital punishment anyway? It?s just a way to sift through society to separate the good and the bad and have everyone live in a better world.

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