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Is Capital Punishment Just?

             In American society today, there is great controversy regarding capital punishment. There are valid arguments for and against this issue. Both sides would agree that to kill is to deprive someone of life or to put someone to death. To kill in any circumstance that requires planning implies that motive and intent are necessary in order for this act to occur. With respect to this, execution is a premeditated event which deprives a person of their life. Therefore, the death penalty is as unrighteous and unjustified as the act of murder itself.
             Proponents of this practice claim that the death penalty prevents future murders. They believe that society needs to discourage would-be criminals from criminal acts. Since society has the highest interest in preventing murder, it should use the strongest punishment available to deter murder. Those who believe that capital punishment is a deterrent to future murders are ignoring the burden of proof. This practice needs to be proven effective beyond a reasonable doubt in order to justify the execution of certain offenders. The death penalty is not a deterrent because most people who commit murders do not expect to be caught or do not carefully weigh the differences between life in prison or possible execution. Frequently, murders are committed by substance abusers in moments of passion or anger. There is no conclusive proof that the death penalty acts as a better deterrent than the threat of life imprisonment.
             A second argument in favor of capital punishment claims that a just society requires the death penalty for the taking of a life. Under this belief, the taking of the murderer's life restores the balance of justice. This allows society to show that murder is an intolerable crime that will be swiftly punished. Any lesser punishment would undermine the value society places on protecting lives. This unjustified emotional appeal for retribution only serves as a way to justify revenge.

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