Records of the early use of capital punishment, “legal infliction of the death penalty, ” are dated all the way back to 1750 BC. Research has shown that during the colonial days of the United States, the death penalty was strongly supported and often made a public display. Many later saw this as inhumane and soon led to changing views on capital punishment. These changes later led the Supreme Court to abolish capital punishment in 1972, but later the courts reinstated it with certain conditions. Now in the United States, there are thirty-eight states that incorporate the use of the death penalty. Support of the death penalty from society is strong and studies prove that capital punishment is essential for the lowering of the crime rate and for preventing the recurrence of crime.
Under a new law, “three strikes and you are out,” in New York, criminals that commit three serious offenses are then jailed with no chance of parole. Now imagine, there is a man robbing you with a gun. He has already had two serious offenses and knows that if he gets caught he will be in jail for life. He then has two choices: (1.) he can take your money and run, knowing your testimony will give him life in prison; or (2.) he can kill you and eliminate the star witness to the crime. The penalty for that would also be life in prison (Tucker 1). The idea for this plan comes from the perception that only a hand full of “hard core” criminals commits seventy percent of all violent crimes. The theory is that locking these people up and throwing away the key, will make our streets safe again. Unfortunately, this method will not to be successful. The predictable result is that more and more crimes will result in murder because Americans have not grasped what it means to live without the death penalty (Tucker 2).
Many people say that the death penalty does not deter crime; therefore there is no use for it. If capital punishment is dismissed for that reason, then the use of prisons should also be dismissed. So far prisons have not resulted any positive effects on the criminals. Criminals that go to jail do not usually come out and think that they have learned their lesson, they think, next time don’t get caught (Lowe 1).
The regular use of capital punishment has not been practiced since the 1960’s and positive results will not show until the regular use of it is enforced again. From 1930 through 1950, anyone who committed murder knew that they were going to get the death penalty with no questions asked. There were about one hundred seventeen to one hundred ninety-nine executions a year and about five thousand to seven thousand murders a year. The likelihood for execution was about one in twenty-five. In 1992 there were twenty-four thousand murders and only thirty-eight executions, leaving the chance of execution to about one in six hundred, twenty-five. Today the chance of being executed is about the same as being struck by lightening, and the average convicted murderer in the United States serves eleven years in prison. If murder is the ultimate crime then only the ultimate punishment should be suitable, and that is the death penalty ( Lowe 2).
The murder rate lessened in the 1950’s to less than ten a year. Soon after this, the opposing views of the death penalty set in. The execution rate continued to steadily decline. In 1972 the Supreme Court outlawed all remaining capital punishment laws in Furman vs. Georgia, with the exception of those with enough evidence to prove that the death penalty was appropriate. This evidence proves that while the death penalty was enforced, murder rates remained low. However, after Furman vs. Georgia the chance of execution was slim to none and the murder rates are outrageous and in the 1980’s, California’s Supreme Court overthrew thirty- seven of forty death sentences (Tucker 2).
Another point that Tucker makes is that there is a need for a higher punishment for murder to distinguish it from other crimes. For example, if the punishment for murder was twenty years and the punishment for rape was the same, there was nothing to deter the rapist from killing the victim because she was the star witness. With a death penalty attached to the murder, the rapist might think twice about killing the victim. Tucker notes that in China the sentence for murder during a robbery is for the accused to be cut into pieces. The people who commit the crime do not kill because they know that they will be cut into pieces. Contrary to that in China in Russia “where the punishment for robbery and murder are the same, they always murder.” (Tucker 3). These examples clearly show the benefit of a higher penalty, such as the death penalty, to distinguish the difference between murder and other crimes.
Nearly nine out of every ten people support the death penalty in the United States (Vacco 1). Many feel that the society has the right, and the duty, to take the lives of those who kill others. They point out that in the Bible, punishment calls for “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth….”. Many also feel that the death penalty is not unconstitutional. They point out the fact that the framers of the constitution would not abolish the use of the death penalty. The death penalty protects society because if the murderers are executed, they are no longer on the streets (The Death Penalty). Harry Schwartz, a New York writer says “The main argument for executing a killer is that once executed, that person will never kill another victim. A person who has killed another is unfit to live in a human society. That is the ultimate truth by which we must govern ourselves,”. Studies show that by increasing the death penalty by one percent, it would prevent one hundred and five murders (The Death Penalty).
Liberals argue that the death penalty in the 1960’s did not deter the number of crimes. They state that ninety percent of the crimes were crimes of passion, unplanned, impulsive killings among families and friends, and these crimes are not going to be deterred by the death penalty-and they were probably right. Since then crimes committed out of passion have lessened about seventy percent. The other murders are murders committed by strangers, at random, or committed with other crimes. Such murders are the ones deterred with the enforcement of the death penalty (Tucker 6).
According to Tucker, “There is no way around this logic. Basically we have two choices: (1. ) We can go on living with the mayhem that surrounds us; or (2. ) We can restore capital punishment for first degree murder” (Tucker 6). Three-Strikes and your are out will only turn criminals to murder and the only way to make sure this does not happen is by reinforcing the death penalty. Neither choice is an easy choice to make but, we all need to see where we stand and make the decision that we will be able to live with.
Thesis: Support of the death penalty from society is strong and studies prove that capital punishment is essential for the lowering of the crime rate and preventing the recurrence of crime.
A. Why capital punishment was abolished.
B. When capital punishment was reinstated.
II. The use and effects of three- strikes and you are out.
A. What could happen if three- strikes and you are out was enforced.
B. Why three- strikes and you are out will not work.
III. Why the death penalty should not be dismissed for not deterring the crime rate.
IV. Reasons for reinforcing the regular use of capital punishment.
A. When capital punishment was regularly used the crime rate decreased.
B. We have not used the death penalty regularly since Th. 1960’s and since then the chance of execution is slim to none.
V. The after math of Furman vs. Georgia.
VI. A need for a higher punishment for higher crimes.
A. Make a noticeable difference between murder and other crimes.
B. Proof that this idea works from watch other countries.
VII. The support from the society.
A. Why the society defends the death penalty.
B. Points of which the society uses in defending the death penalty.
VIII. Arguments of those who oppose the death penalty.
X. Concluding thoughts of reinstating the death penalty.