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Should the death penalty be abolished? Show more Show less
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Capital punishment is the government-sanctioned execution of an individual as retribution for a crime. Although most countries have abolished death penalty sentences, many retain this practice, including the United States, China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Should we abolish the death penalty, or support each government's right to punish crime as it sees fit?

No, we should not abolish the death penalty Show more Show less

The death penalty serves society well by giving victims closure, making communities safe, affirming life's value, and ultimately establishing justice.
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The death penalty saves lives

By discouraging heinous crime, the death penalty saves countless innocent lives.

The Argument

Before committing a crime, criminals weigh the potential costs and benefits of their actions. If people know that they could lose their lives for crimes, they are less likely to commit them. This idea is known as the deterrence theory. Under this framework, harsh punishment prevents criminal activity. For this reason, we should not abolish the death penalty. Although it is rarely applied, the death penalty’s existence deters crime. If people know that their crimes could lead to their lives being taken, they are more likely to abstain from heinous wrongs. The death penalty ultimately makes our communities safer, because it forces people to consider the potential consequences of their actions, pitting a natural instinct for self-preservation against their desire to commit a crime. In this way, the death penalty saves lives.

Counter arguments

Although this argument seems logical, it wrongly assumes that criminal activity is premeditated and rational. In most cases, people commit heinous crimes while overwhelmed by strong physical impulses such as rage or sexual desire. Crime is carnal. It leaves no room for rational thought. As a result, the criminal will not stop to consider the risk of execution, because carnal impulses leave no room for such consideration. For this reason, the death penalty does not preserve innocent lives.

Proponents

Premises

[P1] If people know that taking someone's life could lead to their execution, they will be less likely to commit murder. [P2] In this way, the death penalty prevents murder.

Rejecting the premises

References

This page was last edited on Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 01:24 UTC

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