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Capital Punishment


In the past, people have invariably felt that if they had
been wronged in some way, it was their right to take
vengeance on the person that had wronged them. This
mentality still exists, even today, but in a lesser form
because the law has now outlined a person's rights and
developed punishments that conform to those rights, yet
allow for the retribution for the crime. However, some feel
that those laws and punishments are too lax and criminals
of today take advantage of them, i.e. organized crime,
knowing very well that the punishments for their crime,
whether it be murder, theft, or any other number of
criminal activities, will be so negligible that it may be
well worth their risk.
Although in the past, the number of crimes that were
subjected to capital punishment, defined simply as the
death penalty for a crime, were large, amendments were
passed to reflect the changes in the society's views on the
morality of capital punishment. That resulted in the
narrowing down of the list of one hundred crimes to twelve,
punishable by the death penalty in 1833, and in 1869 it was
cut down yet again to just three: treason, rape, and murder
because of the violent nature of these crimes. These
crimes, even today, are still viewed as violent and should
be punished with the highest degree of discipline available
to achieve justice. 

After much public pressure, capital punishment was
suspended on a trial run in 1967. This proved to be
ineffective, because even though the law stipulated that
crimes such as treason or the murder of law enforcement
agents, were still to be subjected to the death penalty,
the federal cabinet continued to commute those criminals
from death to life sentences; hence the law was not being
followed and justice was not being served. This soon was
followed with capital punishment's abolishment in 1976, as
a formal declaration of what was already happening or
rather what was not happening. It is felt that because of
this and the fact that there has not been an execution
since 1967, that today's current form of punishments are no
longer a sufficient deterrent for such serious crimes and
have contributed to a ever rising crime rate. 

Since this is where the real issue of whether or not
capital punishment should exist begins, such a
controversial issue could be best understood if we looked
at capital punishment in a perspective of how it fulfills
one of the four fundamental objectives behind punishment
retribution? The sentencing objective based on the
principle of "an-eye-for-an-eye", which means that what one
person has done to another should also be done to that
person in return. Is that not justified, especially in
cases of premeditated murder of another human begin,
another life? Does capital punishment not act as a
deterrent? Does it not threaten with an imposition of a
penalty for the commission of an act considered wrong by
society? What about segregation? Does capital punishment
remove criminals from society so that they cannot repeat
their offense or commit other offenses against society?
Doesn't capital punishment follow the above three
objectives well?? 

Most people would say it does. But then, of course, people
who support the abolishment of capital punishment would ask
about rehabilitation, the re-training of prisoners with an
employable skill for use when they are released. Not only
is it expensive to re-train and house criminals, but with
some, it is just not possible, because they are hardened
criminals and will not change. For those people, it is just
not worth the effort and the taxpayers' money to even
attempt to reform them. 

Another point to consider is that today prison terms are
not enough. Many people are allowed out early on parole
and/or remission, resulting in criminals just serving one
third of their prison terms and being released back into
society. This type of quick release cannot adequately
retribute someone's death nor deter the criminal strongly
enough from repeating the same offense.
Capital punishment fulfills our society's "checklist" of
what a punishment should do, especially the objective of
retribution. Many people who want capital punishment
restored, have also clearly stated that without a suitable
punishments for crimes, justice will never truly be served
to those that have suffered damages or losses. People will
think less and less of the law and start resorting to
"private law and order". This would not only create chaos
but raise the crime rate further with people running around
on private vendettas. 

Even with these facts and arguments, the federal government
refuses to restore the death penalty. So all we can do now
is protest to the government, wait, and hope that it will
not take a high crime rate and the loss of many innocent
lives before they realize what a mistake they made in 1976
by totally abolishing capital punishment. 

... A sinner may commit a hundred crimes and still live.
- Ecclesiastes 9:11-12



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