"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however, was repealed in 1976 by the Supreme Court.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, .