The Instigator
bss10506
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
36 Points

A just society ought not to use the death penalty as a form of punishment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/18/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,137 times Debate No: 13176
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (7)
Votes (8)

 

bss10506

Con

Please only argue in round two, so please don't argue in round 1.
Danielle

Pro

My opponent has instructed not arguing in R1, so I'll send the debate back over to him for now.
Debate Round No. 1
bss10506

Con

Thank you Pro:

Just Society: A morally and rightly fair ordered community.
Punishment: Penalty imposed, as for a violation of law.
Death Penalty (capital punishment): A death penalty for a punishment.

"I note the continued difficulty of justifying capital punishment in terms of its ability to deter crime, to incapacitate offenders, or to rehabilitate criminals." Stephen Beyer, U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Since I agree with this quote, it is easy to bring up my value for this round: Utilitarianism. My value criteria will be Equality.

Contention 1. The death penalty helps to deter crime.
The death penalty, a severe punishment, would be more effective in stopping crime than a life imprisonment would. When someone is actually killed for a crime, it puts a permanent inscription in your mind; when you know you can be killed for a crime you might think twice before committing crimes. When you kill someone and you only get a lifetime imprisonment for it, other people will not be afraid to commit the same crime again. But if you give the person a death penalty, others will learn not to commit horrible crimes anymore. By using death as a punishment, since it is a serious punishment, it will open up the eyes of people around and help them to learn their lesson. Now then, more and more people will stop committing crimes and have a less dangerous community to live in.

Contention 2. What would be the best for everyone in the future and present day.
When you are on death row because you were the main committer of a huge massacre, then more people would want you dead than alive. It would be best for the society as a whole to take away this killer forever instead of leaving him imprisoned for life where there is a possibility of escaping. He should not still be allowed to be part of a society; people would not want him there anymore, and nobody would want him anywhere near themselves for fear that he might try and do something to them. Also, if you give this guy a death penalty, then the people who have lost their loved ones will have a better feeling inside of them. Plus, if someone where to murder your parents purposely, when you grow up the possibility is high that you would want to take revenge on the killer's family too, thus killing innocent people who had nothing to do with the killing. By using the death penalty, you are eliminating years of feud. Now less people will get killed, which is a good thing for all of us because if you were in a society that had many killings everyday, then I bet that you would not want to live there anymore.

Contention 3. The death penalty balances the deaths of people.
When you have just killed someone, you have no right to be living either. Lifetime imprisonment would not work in this type of situation simply because it would not be an equal deterrent. By killing someone, you are taking away their right to life, so someone else should be able to take away your right to life too. That way, the deaths are balanced and everyone is still living fairly. If you give this dude a lifetime imprisonment, nothing is balanced out because many people have their lives taken away, but you are still letting the guy stay alive! This way, it would be equal for everyone.

Thank you everyone, and please vote for me!
Danielle

Pro

== Introduction ==

Many thanks to my opponent for starting this debate.

When I had accepted the challenge, I didn't realize that this debate was only 2 rounds. I thought my opponent simply wanted to make the opening arguments, which is why I complied with his suggestion of not posting anything in round 1. However, I've noticed that because this debate is only 2 rounds long, my opponent has specifically structured it so that he does not get to have a rebuttal to my contentions. I'm not sure why he did this, but it's my burden to offer arguments so indeed in this round I will include a response to my opponent's arguments, and then present contentions of my own. I'll let the audience vote according to all that's been presented.

Thanks and good luck, Con.

== Rebuttal ==

I agree with my opponent's definitions.

1. The Death Penalty Deters Crime

----> While Con argues that the death penalty should be legal because it serves as a deterrent against murder, this statement could not be further from the truth. Innumerable studies have been conducted and proven to show that the DP does not, in fact, deter crime. In addition to the many studies I will link you to, consider the fact that the murder rate in non-death penalty states has remained consistently lower than the rate in states with the death penalty, and the gap has grown since 1990 [1]. As in the past, the Northeast (where there is no DP) continued to have the lowest murder rate in the country, while the South continued to have the highest (where there is a DP) [2].

According to statistics from the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report, regions of the country that use the death penalty the least are the safest for police officers. Police are most in danger in the south, which accounts for 80% of all executions (90% in 2000) [3]. A survey of experts from the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Law and Society Association showed that the overwhelming majority did not believe that the death penalty is a proven deterrent to homicide. Over 80% believe the existing research fails to support a deterrence justification for the death penalty. Similarly, over 75% of those polled do not believe that increasing the number of executions, or decreasing the time spent on death row before execution, would produce a general deterrent effect. In fact, executions may actually increase the number of murders, rather than deter murders. [3, 4].

In short, criminologists, psychologists, law enforcement and statistics all prove that the DP is *not* an effective deterrent. Therefore, my opponent's argument has been negated.

2. The DP Would Benefit Everyone in Society

----> My opponent describes a Romeo and Juliet scenario where a murder would have a snowball effect and lead to people killing others, such as what happens with gang violence. However, this commits the base rate fallacy: using weak evidence to make a probability judgment without taking into account known empirical statistics about the probability. Con has not provided us any evidence that this would be the case, and in fact I argue the opposite -- it is not likely for people to go on killing rampages to avenge the murders of their loved ones, for a plethora of legal, practical and moral reasons.

Nevertheless, I negate this contention on several grounds. First, by imprisoning a murderer, you are removing them from society thus eliminating the threat. Second, since prisoners can be forced to work unpaid labor, we can have many unwanted jobs done for free (such as picking up trash on the side of the road). This is a way that imprisoned criminals actually benefit society as opposed to if they were dead. Third, when killed via DP, your death is quick, painless and humane. If a murderer is a horrible human being, perhaps society would agree that morality and justice would best be served if this criminal was forced to be kept alive and caged like an animal for the rest of their pathetic days.

Fourth, killing is immoral. There are a lot of moral questions regarding the DP, and some feel it's a hypocritical standard. We may as well avoid this unnecessary moral dilemma. Fifth, some think the DP is cost effective; however, it's actually the opposite -- a legalized DP costs the state (tax payers) more money [5]. Finally, let's not forget the fact that mistakes HAVE been made; we've killed innocent people in the past, and many times people on death row have been retried thanks to new evidence and found innocent [6]. Out of at least 400 innocent people convicted of capital crimes they did not commit [7]. Is that something society wants on their conscience? Killing innocent people? Again, refer back to the morality/hypocrisy argument.

3. An Eye For an Eye

... will make the whole world blind.

----> First, Con advocates retribution for crimes. If someone kills, they should be killed. However, our criminal justice system does not work that way. If I cut off someone's hand and take away their right to have a hand, is my hand subsequently removed to impose fair punishment? No. The purpose of punishing criminals is to protect society. Jailing people for their crimes protects society at large from their direct influence. Moreover, I've explained how killing a criminal swiftly and painlessly is not exactly a "fair trade" for most of the murders that warrant the DP (which are brutal). It is easy to make the argument that people being tortured i.e. kept in solitary confinement is the proper moral equivalent to ending someone's life.

== Arguments ==

Now that I've negated my opponent's contentions, I'd like to note that many of my arguments are indeed found in the rebuttal (especially contention 2). However, there are indeed some additional points I'd like to make. First, I'd like to reiterate that a legalized DP is the more expensive burden to tax payers, due to the endless appeals and required additional procedures clog our court system. Second, this country is sharply divided on the issue and many people feel that this violates our commitment to avoiding any punishment that is "cruel and unusual." Some even constitute the policy as barbaric. Thomas Jefferson once said, "What all agree upon is probably right; what no two agree in most probably is wrong." Clearly the controversy is not unwarranted; the DP does indeed raise a lot of moral questions.

For instance - if we're advocating that killing is wrong, is killing another the way to properly express that sentiment, or is it hypocritical? Some believe that no human has the right to take another person's life in any scenario, whether they're innocent or not. If you say deserving parties ought to be killed, what about a case where a father kills a man who kills his child? Should the father not be held accountable? By saying only the government can determine whether something is right or wrong, it gives them a monopoly on morality. To quote Friedman, it is not the law's job to make people moral or upright. The only thing they can do is establish laws that can be equally applied to ALL people, even if they work for the government (including not killing).

The "eye for an eye" mentality establishes revenge, not justice. Also, note that many juries are hesitant to convict people being tried because they don't want condemning someone to death on their conscience. It would overall be best for society and the legal system to eliminate the DP.

[1] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[2] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[3] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[4] Homicide Studies, Vol. 1, No.2, May 1997
[5] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[6] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[7] http://karisable.com...
Debate Round No. 2
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
Con set the debate up so that he would not rebut Pro's arguments. That's a fatal mistake, as it were. Pro provided references to support her arguments, Con did not.
Posted by m93samman 4 years ago
m93samman
@Kinesis it's actually 1 round
Posted by Danielle 4 years ago
Danielle
... You didn't even have sources. Lol nice try, bro. Good one.
Posted by Danielle 4 years ago
Danielle
I still have 3 hours - why the rush? I will submit my argument in time.
Posted by bss10506 4 years ago
bss10506
Can pro please hurry up???????????
Posted by bss10506 4 years ago
bss10506
What? Can Pro please hurry up?
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
O.o

Two rounds?
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Vote Placed by Shtookah 4 years ago
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