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What are the most common arguments for and against the death penalty?

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moriningstar | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 31, 2012 at 3:45 AM via web

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What are the most common arguments for and against the death penalty?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 31, 2012 at 3:56 AM (Answer #1)

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The main arguments for the death penalty include:

  • The idea that it is a deterrent.  In this view, the death penalty frightens people who might otherwise commit murders.  They don't want to die so they don't commit murder.
  • The idea that it provides justice.  This view holds that it is important to punish people in a way that is commensurate with their crimes.  Whether it scares anyone else or not, it is just to execute those who commit terrible crimes.
  • It keeps society together.  It allows people to feel that crimes are punished and that the government protects those who are law-abiding.

The main arguments against the death penalty include:

  • It does not deter crime.  This argument holds that the death penalty does not scare people from committing crimes.
  • It is unjust.  This argument holds that the death penalty is most typically given to poor people and/or minorities and is therefore unjustly applied.
  • It is immoral.  This argument holds that killing people to punish them for their crimes is simply not a moral thing to do.
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bellatrix12 | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted July 31, 2012 at 8:11 AM (Answer #2)

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For the death penalty:

-It deters others from commiting the same crimes for fear of losing their life

-It is often deemed a just punishment- 'an eye for an eye', in this case, a life for a life

Against the death penalty

-By killing, it lowers the law to the level of criminals showing they are no better

-By fighting crime with death it is sending a negative message to the public and saying that killing/violence is permitable

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