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Murder In The First

             "A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings.
             An execution is a violent public spectacle of official homicide, and one.
             that endorses killing to solve social problems - the worst possible example.
             to set for the citizenry. The benefits of capital punishment are illusory,.
             but the bloodshed and the resulting destruction of community decency are real.".
             -- Hugo Bedau, in The Case Against the Death Penalty .
             In American society, the threat of capital punishment stands as the ultimate sentence for .
             a criminal. The moral ramifications of the taking of another life, whether it be by murder or as .
             legally accepted punishment, remains an unresolved conflict between Americans. Despite the .
             fact that capital punishment, otherwise known as the "death penalty", is legal in only a handful of .
             countries in the world, the majority of Americans regard it as acceptable retribution. In the 1981 .
             Gallup Poll, two-thirds of Americans voiced general approval of capital punishment. By 1994, .
             the same poll concluded that a tremendous 80% of Americans approved of capital punishment .
             (Moore, 1994:5). It is no wonder that many of our countries leaders endorse the death penalty. .
             The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, believes that mass .
             executions of "27 or 30 or 35 people at a time" would be effective in the reduction of the .
             importation of illegal drugs in to America (Taylor, 1995). In 1972, capital punishment was .
             eradicated in the United States when the Supreme Court declared that under then existing laws .
             "imposition and carrying out of the death penalty. constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in .
             violation of the 8th and 14th amendments." (Fruman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238). This decision, .
             however, was repealed in 1976 by the Supreme Court. Advocates of capital punishment claim .
             that it is an effective deterrent against crime and that it is morally just. The statistics, however, .

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