After centuries of nearly universal implementation, the death penalty
remains a deeply debated political issue. While one execution takes place, other
murders occur, and the question still stands: Will the death penalty safeguard
society and deter murder, or will it not? The death penalty cannot be considered
a proper economical and moral means of punishment to deter those who might
commit capital offenses, or can it?
In the past, capital punishment horrified people, which deterred them
from committing crime. In England, the country from which the United States
adopted the death penalty, the death penalty was imposed for a rather large
number of offenses in an effort to discourage people from committing crimes.
Methods of inflicting the death penalty have ranged “From stoning in biblical
times, crucifixion under the Romans, beheading in France, to those used in the
United States today: hanging, electrocution, gas chamber, firing squad, and
lethal injection”(Bedau 124). There were drastic penalties for such serious
crimes as homicide. Execution was a suitable punishment for those times. Today,
though, the law is not as strict. This leads potential criminals not to fear the
death penalty because government today uses more “humane” methods of execution,
rather than the brutal punishment that history portrayed.
People who oppose the death penalty say that “there is no evidence that
the murder rate fluctuates according to the frequency with which the death
penalty is used” (Masur 153). It is more likely that the convict would be
paroled instead of being executed because of the present practice of allowing
unlimited appeals. Convicted criminals are not exposed to cruel punishment, but
rather given a long waiting period. If the criminal is put to death, it is
usually done as mercifully as possible.
One problem with the death penalty…