For the past several months Americans have regularly listed crime andviolence as the number – one problem facing the nation, far surpassing worriesover the economy or health care.Despite the many government and community initiatives launched duringrecent years to reduce crime, most Americans see no improvement. In a 1993survey asking respondents if they felt crime was increasing or decreasing intheir areas, only 5 % felt that it was decreasing, a full 93 % felt that crimewas either increasing or staying the same. And it is not just statistics: Iconsider myself along with those 93 %. Because while Guiliani administration istalking about crime rates in the New York City going down, all I see and hearin the media are reports about horrible crimes committed by New Yorkers.
As George Pettinico states in his article ” Crime and punishment:America changes it’s mind “: The media’s extensive coverage of crime, especiallythe most brutal and horrific cases have heightened the public’s fear and angerover this issue to a near frenzy. When asked in January of this year, ” Howoften do you see reports of violent crime on television ? ” 68 % replied “almost every day “.Although the media have played an important role in raising the public’sawareness of lawlessness, crime in America is far from a media – createdphenomenon. Government statistics support the image of a nation which hasoverwhelmingly lost the war against crime.
For instance, in 1960 there were 161reported violent crimes per 100,000 people By 1992, the figure had jumped to 758per 100,000 — a rise of over 350 %.More and more people today are starting to think that something isterribly wrong when a modern, civilized nation must confront statistics likethese. The American public is demanding an end to this violence, and surveysshow that they believe swift and harsh punishment is the most appropriate andeffective means to these ends.The death penalty, or as it is sometimes being called ” capitalpunishment ” is the hardest punishment that could be received when a person isconvicted of a capital offense. Until recently it did not exist in New YorkState but after new governor, George Pataki was elected he managed to bring itback. Since September 1, 1994 the death penalty law was in effect.
And eventhough, as far as I know, there is no strong statistical evidence that the deathpenalty lowers the murder rate, many people were very happy with that decision.What they probably though was” some people would not commit a murder, rapeor another violent crime if they would know that they could get on a death rowfor that “.However, my personal opinion is that death penalty has to be justifiedon its own goodness, rather than by some pragmatic result it brings about. Thegovernor and legislature of New York State evidently agree with this contention,for they enacted a death penalty law in the face of falling rates for murder andother serious crimes.Currently there are two opinions about the death penalty law. Firstopinion is that the existence of such a law helps keeping the crime rates down.The opposite one is about a fact that killing people should not be done byanybody, including state and federal law enforcement system.
Let us take acloser look on both of those opinions.Bringing the death penalty law back to life was a part of Gov. GeorgePataki’s election program. As we have seen learned from the media and from theresults of numerous surveys, a quite large number of people who supported GeorgePataki, were doing that mainly because of this part of his program.But does having a death penalty law actually help keeping the crimerates down? The answer is in the statistics: it turns out that the violent crimerates in New York State did not go down for the past year since the deathpenalty law was in effect.
Another thing that would surprise those who supportdeath penalty is it’s price. The fact is: each death penalty case costs about2.3 million dollars. That is three times more than a price for keeping a personin a prison for the rest of his life. Here is what Mr.
C.Hoppe states in hisarticle ” Executions Cost Texas Millions “: For the states which employ thedeath penalty, this luxury comes at a high price. In Texas, a death penalty casecosts taxpayers an average of $ 2.
3 million, about three times the cost ofimprisoning someone in a single cell at the highest security level for 40years.” A lot of articles were published in the newspapers and magazinesconcerning the question of a death penalty law.One of those articles lists many arguments against the death penalty.Here is what David Dunlap writes about the death penalty:” Opposition to the death penalty does not arise from misplaced sympathy forconvicted murderers. On the contrary, murder demonstrates a lack of respect forhuman life. For this very reason, murder is abhorrent, and any policy of state -authorized killings is immoral.Capital punishment denies due process of law. Its imposition isarbitrary and irrevocable.
It forever deprives an individual of benefits of newevidence or new law that might warrant the reversal of a conviction or thesetting aside of a death sentence.The death penalty violates the constitutional guarantee of the equalprotection of the laws. It is applied randomly at best and discriminatorily atworst. It is imposed disproportionately up on those whose victims are white, onoffenders who are people of color, and on those who are themselves poor anduneducated.
The defects in death – penalty laws, conceded by the Supreme Court inthe early 1970s, have not been appreciably altered by the shift from unfettereddiscretion to ” guided discretion. ” These changes in death sentencing haveproved to be largely cosmetic. They merely mask the impermissible arbitrarinessof a process that results in an execution.Executions give society the unmistakable message that human life nolonger deserves respect when it is useful to take it and that homicide islegitimate when deemed justified by pragmatic concerns.Reliance on the death penalty obscures the true causes of crime anddistracts attention from the social measures that effectively contribute to itscontrol.
Politicians who preach the desirability of executions as a weapon ofcrime control deceive the public and mask their own failure to support anti-crime measures that will really work.Capital punishment wastes resources. It squanders the time and energy ofcourts, prosecuting attorneys, defense counsel, juries, and courtroom andcorrectional personnel. It unduly burdens the system of criminal justice, and itis therefore counterproductive as an instrument for society’s control of violentcrime.
It epitomizes the tragic inefficacy and brutality of the resort toviolence rather than reason for the solution of difficult social problems. “As we can see, from these points of view, death penalty in it’s everyaspect is a thing that American society must get rid of .But, as in every issue that involves the life of the human being, thereare different kinds of opinions regarding the death – penalty law. Some peopleactually believe in effectiveness and usefulness of a death penalty. Even thoughthose opinions are not backed up by any facts or statistics, there still is avery large number of people of all races, ages and genders who support thedeath – penalty law.
Lawrence Altman is a part of the group of people whosupport the capital punishment. Here is what he thinks are the main argumentsfor having a death penalty : ” Is it described in a Holy Bible that a deathpenalty is required for a wide variety of crimes, such as murder, rape, etc.Another reason why the death penalty should be in effect is that manypeople feel that killing convicted murderers will satisfy their need for justiceand / or vengeance.Deterrence is another fact that speaks for the capital punishment: manypeople feel that the death penalty will deter criminals from killing. However,there are no known reliable statistics that support this belief.Also capital punishment reduces the costs that are required forimprisonment: once a convicted murder is executed and buried, there are nofurther costs.
“My personal opinion regarding this article is that listed abovearguments for the death penalty are very wrongful and could be easily turneddown by the results of numerous surveys and different statistics.Even the fact about the Holy Bible is wrong because, The Holy Biblespeaks positively against any killing of a human being whatsoever. But that isexactly what capital punishment is – a killing of a human being that isauthorized by law.
The statement about criminals being deterred by the presence of a deathpenalty is wrong also. According to statistics, the violent crime rate in NewYork State did not go down since the death – penalty law became effective.Another fact from statistics is that numbers of committed violent crimesin the states that do have a death penalty law and numbers of committed violentcrimes in the states that do not have that law are approximately the same.Another false opinion about the death penalty is that it killing theconvicted murderer actually reduces the costs. As we learn from the Mr.
Hoppe’sarticle, ” Executions cost Texas millions “, the cost of executing a convictedprisoner costs three times more than keeping him in the cell for 40 years. As wecan see, the above opinion does not have any sense.The only true fact about the usefulness of a death penalty is the factthat many people feel that killing convicted murderers will satisfy their needfor justice and / or vengeance.
The only bad thing about it is : executing acriminal does not bring his victim back to life. Even though some people fellrelieved when the murderer is executed, there is no way to reverse the crime(s)that he has committed.Even though almost everything and everybody speak against the capitalpunishment, I think that people who committed violent crimes should be punishedto the fullest extend of law, which capital punishment basically is.As well as no human being deserves to be executed, no human beingdeserves to have his or her life taken away by the criminal. The laws of livingsay: ” Sooner or later you will be responsible for everything you do in yourlife, whether you like it or not, and whether you regret it or not “.Category: English