Many laws consider a premeditated crime more serious than a crime of pure violence. But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for years.
The Council of Europe declares, “The death penalty can no longer be regarded as an acceptable form of punishment from a human rights perspective. It is an arbitrary, discriminatory and irreversible sanction when judicial errors, which can never be entirely ruled out, cannot be reversed.”
In fact, the Council went so far as to create a Protocol No. 6 in 1983, which abolished capital punishment in peacetime. All new member states must ratify this legislation and, so far, 39 of the 41 member states of the council have done so.
Nonetheless, 17 years after the Council of Europe adopted Protocol No. 6, the United States remains one of the few staunch Western defenders of capital punishment. Both mainstream Presidential candidates in the United States firmly supported the death penalty, and one candidate, George W. Bush, personally signed off on 35 executions in 1999 while governor of Texas. Why has capital punishment, which has been condemned by most Western democracies, continued to have such strong support in the United States?
Obviously, Europe and the United States are very different places, but it is …
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…ms cited by the Council as justification for the abolition of capital punishment remain unaddressed in the United States today. Capital punishment is still arbitrary, discriminatory, and irreversible in America. Yet, despite these, and other, compelling reasons to abolish capital punishment, our nation still defends this barbaric, uncivilized and cruel practice.
To many Americans, capital punishment is a quick fix to a national crime problem. We have been willing to overlook the gross injustices of the practice because we have convinced ourselves that it is making America a safer community. Acceptance of this myth must stop. The United States should follow Europe’s lead and acknowledge that the administration of capital punishment in this country is an inherently unfair judicial practice. We must demand a moratorium on the death penalty in America now.
Capital Punishment Essay: Hypocrisy of the Death Penalty
The Hypocrisy of the Death Penalty
If there is a desire by the American people to maintain the death penalty, let us at least be spared the hypocrisy of a justification by example. The death penalty is a penalty, to be sure, a frightful torture, both physical and moral, but it provides no sure example except a demoralizing one. It punishes, but it forestalls nothing; indeed, it may even arouse the impulse to murder. It hardly seems to exist, except for the man who suffers it– in his soul for months and years, in his body during the desperate and violent hour when he is cut in two without suppressing his life. Let us call it by the name which, for lack of any other nobility, will at least give the nobility of truth, and let us recognize it for what it is essentially: a revenge.
A punishment that penalizes without forestalling is indeed called revenge. It is a quasi-arithmetical reply made by society to whoever breaks its primordial law. That reply is as old as man; it is called the law of retaliation. Whoever has done me harm must suffer harm; whoever has put out my eye m…