Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with an intentional or criminal intent. In today’s world, terrible crimes are being committed daily. Many believe that these criminals deserve one fate: death. Capital punishment, the death penalty, is the maximum sentence used in punishing people who kill another human being – and is a very controversial method of punishment. In most states, a person convicted of first-degree murder has the potential to be given the death penalty. Capital punishment is a subject that can be counted upon to stir emotion and controversy into any conversation or argument. The very concept provokes a profusion of valid questions and opinions.
Today’s daily world of crime and violence calls for punishment of a severe nature, and many citizens argue that the punishment necessary is the death penalty. These people quote passages such as the “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” concept from the Old Testament of the Judeo-Christian bible. Some people take the neutral position that there is no right or wrong answer, that each opinion on capital punishment is valid in its own way. Opponents of the death penalty claim that sentencing a person to death do not change the reality of the situation; the harm already done simply cannot be fixed from a vengeance standpoint. You cannot bring the murdered person back by taking the prisoner’s life. Proponents of capital punishment tend to defend their opinion mainly on two grounds: death is a fitting punishment for murder, and executions maximize public safety through incapacitation and deterrence.
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The view of proponents of the death penalty in reference to the “let the punishment fit the crime” ideal is that, in the eyes of many law officials and citizens of the United States, if a crime is so serious that it causes irreversible damage or the loss of human life, then the only penalty for such crimes would be death for the individual that committed this act. Many also feel that if an individual can possess the strength and will to take the life of another human being in a planned manner, then they must also, in turn, be able to face their punishment which could only be a punishment of the same magnitude as the crime they have committed; that is for their life to be ended for the common good. These people feel that, while it is the cruelest punishment, it is the best way to penalize heartless, cold-blooded killers.
The ideal of executions maximizing public safety through incapacitation and deterrence explains that such a punishment as the death penalty would keep callous and dangerous murderers from roaming the streets of our children and innocents. It would serve to “scare” criminals into not committing their crimes for fear of the ultimate punishment. It seems rational to think that if potential killers are aware that if they commit serious crimes they could be put to death for it, they are less likely to commit these crimes. Another strong point of this concept is the retribution and justice bestowed to society. The community demands a sense of closure, that justice be served. This is imperative for peace to be maintained. If criminals were allowed to get away with such a serious crime as the taking of human life, fear and chaos would rule. A sentence of life in prison is not substantial enough. The government must be trusted to permanently protect its innocent citizens from further crime.