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Capital Punishment is Murder

American history is replete with examples of brutality and foolishness that will forever blot the American conscience. Early in this century, Sacco and Vanzetti were railroaded for a murder of which they were almost certainly innocent. The trial was a farce, and the verdict was a more a result of bias against Italians than of the evidence. Their lives were forfeit. Later in the century, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were tried for conspiracy to commit espionage. Despite questionable evidence and even more questionable conduct on the part of prosecuting attorneys and government agencies, they were convicted; the verdict was a statement of public hysteria and fear of Communism. They too met the executioner. Not yet ingrained in the annals of history, in the past months the state of Texas executed a man who even the state admitted had not pulled the trigger, but was only an accomplice. If the recent elections prove anything, it is that these examples of the state-sanctioned murders of innocents have done nothing to change the American mind. Many Republicans ran and won on a “law and order” platform; in New York, Governor George Pataki defeated former Governor Mario Cuomo largely on the basis of Cuomo’s opposition to capital punishment. This article is an appeal to readers’ morality, to their consciences. It does attempt to show that the death penalty is costly and impractical (though it is), or that it is unconstitutional (which it may well be). The article is an appeal for mercy.

Perhaps the greatest problem with the death penalty, as the cases of the Rosenbergs and of Sacco and Vanzetti point out, is the chance for error incurred in capital cases. A study conducted at Stanford University found that, since 1900, more than fifty pe…

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…run by criminals unless the criminals are all destroyed: it is a war of us against them and we must use whatever means are necessary to fight against them. Even more moderate advocates of capital punishment tend to hold to a black-and-white morality that justifies the brutality of capital punishment as a necessary act of self- protection. However, before giving in to fear of crime and justifying the deaths of innocents that inevitably result from the institution of capital punishment, we should remember that one of the few things that distinguishes human from animal is the capacity for mercy. Even if we could be absolutely certain of a person’s guilt, by killing him or her do we not make murderers of ourselves. Darrow reminds us exactly what it means for society to abandon its mercy: “I would hate to live in a state that I didn’t think was better than a murderer.”

We Need Gun Control

We Need Gun Control

Baton Rouge, Lousiana–October 17, 1992–8:30 P.M….A Japanese exchange student, Yoshihiro Hattori, was searching for a party he had been invited to. Thinking he had found the house in which the social would take place, Yoshihiro knocked on the door. Not knowing that they had the wrong house Yoshihiro and his companion startled the proprietor. After having the front door shut in their face the two boys began walking back to Yoshihiro’s car. Yoshihiro Hattori and his friend, Webb Haymaker, then turned back towards the house upon hearing the carport door open behind them. Instead of seeing the party’s host, these two boys were greeted by a ” ‘Freeze’ ” and a .44 Magnum-carrying Rodney Peairs. Yoshihiro, thinking he had found the party after all, stepped towards Mr. Peairs and said, ” ‘We’re here for the party’ “. Webb Haymaker then found himself standing over his dying friend, Yoshihiro Hattore, a victim of unintentional homicide. (Haymaker 26)

Tragic incidents like this one seem to be becoming more and more common in modern America. The availability of a firearm was the direct cause of Yoshihiro’s death. Likewise the availabilty of firearms in general is related to accidental, as well as intentional, homicide. The United States Congress should therefore limit or illegalize the sale, use and carrying of handguns and assualt weapons.

The reasoning behind this statement is that I do not believe that these aformentioned weapons have a legitimate place in American society. Nor do I believe that the typical American is responsible enough to own one of these particular firearms. Conversely though, many Republicans view assault weapon and handgun restrictions as an infringement upon an American’s rig…

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…nd-held weapons available to them. ” ‘The greatest threat to our structure is the possession and sale of weapons in this society,’ “. – Former President Jimmy Carter (Gerik 2)

Works Cited

Academic American Encyclopedia. “American Bill of Rights”: Jan 1995,

Gerik, Melanie. “Carter stresses handgun control”. The Daily Texan: March 7 1995, p1-2

Graves, Debbie. “Carter discusses guns, politics, peace in speach”. Austin- American Statesman: March 7 1995, pB3

Haymaker, Holley G. “Another Magnum, another victim”. The New York Times: Oct 31 1992, v144, p15(N) pA26(L)

Ifill, Gwen. “Congress still torn on gun control by complex regional divisions”. The New York Times: Oct 20 1991, v141, Sec. 1, p13(N) p19(L)

Toner, Robin. “Senator Decides to Fight N.R.A.’s Fire With Fire”. The New York Times: Oct 27 1994, v144, pA10(N) pA26(L)

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