Capital punishment is an act that has been used around the world for centuries. In fact, the earliest record of capital punishment dates all the way back to the Roman government in the fifth century (Part I: History…). Capital punishment was used in America even before the Revolutionary War. European colonists brought their methods of justice and punishment with them whenever they immigrated here. In America, there are two sides to this issue, but there is a compromise that can be reached.
To begin, many would argue that capital punishment should be abolished because it is inhumane. As humans, who is qualified to say who lives and who dies? On all basic levels, all humans are the same. They all have downfalls, and some make mistakes. Humans, though, are capable of rehabilitation. Allowing capital punishment disables criminals from having the opportunity of changing themselves. A rehabilitated criminal could function as a productive citizen of society. Also, capital punishment is archaic and primitive. In 2018, humans should be able to solve problems and deliver punishment without the threat of death. Lastly, lethal injection malfunctions have happened in the past, and they will inevitably continue to happen. Right here in Oklahoma, Clayton Lockett was sentenced to death, and his execution was botched. Jerry Massie, Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman, informed BBC News that one of Lockett’s veins blew and that the drugs were not working as anticipated (Gill). Lockett seized and was struggling to move his arms and legs, while trying to speak. It took 43 excruciating minutes for Lockett to die. Capital punishment is inhumane.
However, many would argue that capital punishment is necessary because justice needs to be served. While those who are against capital punishment would say that it is inhumane, those who support it would say that criminals who would be receiving it are inhumane. Supporters of capital punishment would remind those who are apprehensive that actions have consequences, and some actions require severe consequences. Next, capital punishment is a way to show victim’s families that they are recognized and not forgotten. By allowing heinous murderers to live out the rest of their lives in a prison with food, housing, and health care would be disrespectful to victim’s families.
To continue, capital punishment is a deterrent to crime. David Muhlhausen gathered from research that “each additional execution appears to deter between three and eighteen murders” (Muhlhausen). In his article he also mentioned that the shorter the wait on death row, then the greater the deterrence of crime. Finally, many would insist that capital punishment in necessary in America.
While there are two sides to this issue, there is a common ground and a compromise can be reached. Supporters on both sides of the issue would agree that they all value human life, and that consequences do need to be dealt to those who commit terrible crimes. A solution to this problem could be that only the most heinous criminals should be sentenced to death. Any cases that involve dismemberment or serial crimes, such as murder or rape, could be subjected to the death penalty. However, the risk of lethal injection is too great. Instead, America should return to the firing squad. There have been too many experiences where lethal injections have been botched and inmates have gone through cruel pain. Between 1890 and 2010, 3.15% of 8,776 executions have been botched (“Botched Executions”). Of that 3.15%, none were from a firing squad. Using a firing squad is the most humane method of execution.
In conclusion, capital punishment can be argued to be both necessary and unnecessary. There are definite pros and cons to each side of the issue, but a compromise can be reached. Capital punishment should only be used in the most extreme cases, and it should be done by a firing squad. Being united on this issue will make America stronger as a country. One can assume that no matter what side a person agrees with on this issue, human life is precious to all.
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