AAN Tournament : This house endorses Death Penalty
1. Bop will be shared
2. My opponent will start by giving giving his case immediately in R1 and to even out the rounds he shall pass the last
PRO : -NIL-
CON : Acceptance,Arguments
PRO : Arguments, Rebuttals.
CON : Rebuttals and Counter-Rebuttals
PRO : Rebuttals and Counter-Rebuttals
CON : Shall pass this round.
And I think think that about settles it. Any questions can be clarified through PM.I wish my adversary Good Luck!
I thank Pro for this debate and look forward to reading Pro's arguments and rebuttals. I do not endorse the death penalty and will be arguing against it.
My arguments against the death penalty are as follows:
An Imperfect System
Firstly, and most importantly, human and legal error are always possibilities. To endorse the death penalty, you must also endorse the unpleasant truth that innocents may be executed. When human judgement is required to make decisions, human error, given enough time, will eventually occur. The number of those who are guilty and executed may make the number of those who are innocent and executed look negligible, but a human life is more than number. Sadly, this argument can be supported by actual examples of wrongful convictions and wrongful executions[2, 3] of innocents. Risking innocent lives to take guilty lives is an unacceptable solution to any problem in a society that likes to call itself civilized.
Missing the Point
Not only is the death penalty unacceptable, it's counterproductive. There's no need to risk innocent lives when alternative, and better, as I'll argue, solutions to the same problem exist. The death penalty accomplishes two things; It removes a possible threat to society and provides what some would call justice. Killing an individual who may be a threat is counterproductive in more way than one. To begin, the death penalty is far more expensive than life without parole, meaning it's not the most financially effective way of removing a possible threat. Not only is the death penalty costly, it also kills a potentially contributing member of society. Why kill a threat when it can be turned into an asset? For example, Norway hasn't has no death penalty and has a maximum sentencing of 21 years, but as Time says, "Within two years of their release, 20% of Norway's prisoners end up back in jail. In the U.K. and the U.S., the figure hovers between 50% and 60%.". A productive member of society is better than a dead one. As for the "justice" aspect of the death penalty, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, two wrongs don't make a right, etc. If death penalty endorsers endorse the death penalty for the good of society, which, as I've shown, it doesn't do, revenge style justice should play no part. The revenge style justice of the death penalty makes it no different from common vigilantism.
Do As I Say, Not As I Do
To kill a human as punishment for a crime, such as killing a human, seems counter intuitive, and for good reason. If the death penalty is illegal when it's carried out by a vigilante, it should be no different when it's being carried out by a governing body. After all, punishments made by a governing body in a democracy can be described as the collective vigilantism of the governed, and in undemocratic types of government, the death penalty is even closer to vigilantism.
The death penalty is inherently risky, counterproductive, and, even if the previous weren't true, unacceptable.
Thank you PRO for your interesting arguments.Now without furthur delay I skip to mine.
Punishment is a method adopted by the society to discourage prospective and potential criminals from committing unlawful action. Whether it be the practice of stonning in Yemen or the approved exercise of eye-gouging  and amputation in Saudi Arabia(not advocating to any of these) the desired effect is simple, dissuade civilians from committing crime. It is the highest interest of the society to prevent intended homicides and it is only logical to use the highest form of punishment for the same. While the prospect of a life sentence, as my adversary is expected to argue, is frightening, certainly death penalty is a more formidable prospect.
"According to roughly a dozen recent studies, executions save lives. For each inmate put to death, the studies say, 3 to 18 murders are prevented. The effect is most pronounced, according to some studies, in Texas and other states that execute condemned inmates relatively often and relatively quickly"
Though the number of lives saved enlisted in various studies varies, the underlying undisputable fact is that death penalty does act as a significant deterrent to potential heinous crimes.
>Circumstances where death penalty is justified and should be administered
There is no presumable limit to the atrocity of crimes that can be committed. Some crimes are just so heinous that it is more than vindicatory for the criminal minds who committed the crime to deserve the death penalty. Intendedly taking away the lives of innocent people explicitly falls into this category.
The Dnepropetrovsk maniacs, two nineteen year old boys held responsible for committing twenty-one murders all of which involved beating helpless victims to death with a hammer, just for the said pleasure they got from doing such. So malicious was their intent that they gloated their said homicides and made videos of the same to be released in the internet.
This may seem like a quite extreme case but a simple search on the internet will reveal countless such atrocities happening all over the world. A human life is sacred and there must be a deterrent mechanism incorporated that makes sure that the people who transgress this precept are aptly punished. Death penalty ensures this and acts as a symbol that stresses the value and importance placed upon maintaining the sanctity of a human life in a society. Any lesser method of condemnation would fail in enforcing this social discipline.
Imprisonment doesn't offer a definite solution. Prisons instead of being centres for reformation have largely become cathedrals for crime. Murderers and serious career criminals have been shown to commit grievous crimes even after being imprisoned .And then there is the possibility of the prisoner escaping into the society.
Michael Rodriguez, sentenced to life for murder, joined six lesser criminals in overpowering prison employees in Connolly, Texas, last Dec. 13 before leaving in a maintenance truck. Police say the "Malevolent Seven" robbed an Oshman's sporting goods store on Christmas Eve, then shot Irving, Texas, police officer Aubrey Hawkins 11 times and drove over his corpse. Authorities eventually captured Rodriguez and two other fugitives in a stolen Jeep near Woodland Park, Colo.
After escaping a Florida prison John Fred Woolard shot and killed a park ranger. After being caught Woolard escaped again, this time from a Mississippi prison, accompanied by armed robber Roy Randall Harper.
Death penalty is the only way to ensure that criminals do not escape into the outside world and thus pose a threat to the society or commit further crimes in prison. Putting dangerous murderers and serial killers in prison also endangers other prisoners and gaurds who must watch them.
-ORDWAY — A prison inmate accused of killing one correctional officer and seriously wounding a second said he had planned to kill a third in order to boost his body count to "at least three."-
Even high security prisons have had escapees .Ergo, the only way to be perfectly sure that prisoners as such don't, in the future, be the cause of harm to others, is by executing them.
>'Wrongful Convictions' Argument
An argument so frequently used by those against death penalty that I felt compelled to use it as one of my own contentions. It’s not surprising to see CON use it himself as his opening argument. Thus by negating this argument here in my contentions I will necessarily skip addressing it in my rebuttals.
So, the basic premise in arguments as such focuses on the innocents getting killed as a consequence of wrongful convictions in a death penalty. But wrongful convictions are exceptionally rare and it is even more unlikely, when the sentence is the capital punishment; this is because the thorough procedures followed with death penalty cases offers ample protection against wrongful convictions.
And also, to add to that, the conclusion that follows such an argument simply asks for too much and isn't coherent.
The argument is usually as represented by this syllogism:
P1: Any punishment that has a chance of taking away the lives of innocent civilians should be abolished.
P2: Death penalty has the chance of taking away the lives of innocent civilians.
C: Death penalty should be abolished.
Premise 1 is the most problematic part in these types of arguments. It simply is not logical. People are even wrongfully convicted to serve time in prison and, provided they are innocent, have a lot of chance to commit suicide while they are there or actually even get murdered. So going by this argument the conclusion that should necessarily follow is, imprisonment should be abolished?
As I've rebutted PRO's first contention in my own I'll skip to his second one. Here he has made the following assertions:
a) Death penalty is costly
-Yes, but justice is priceless. There is good reason why death penalty is costly; it is because of the intensive and thorough procedures and investigation undertaken preceding a capital punishment so as to make sure the criminal going to be hanged is indeed a criminal and is guilty enough to deserve the death penalty.
b) Reformation or converting criminals into productive citizens.
Death penalty is administered to criminals who have committed purely malevolent and heinous crimes. There is simply no reformation or redemption for people as such so thus,even if death penalty is crossed out, we are inevitably left with the next most appropriate punishment, as PRO has suggested, life without parole. But still there is a chance of these people escaping prison or actually harming someone inside the prison. What if a killer spared from a death penalty serving life sentence decides to seriously hurt or kill again? What would we say to his possible future victims if we allow him to live?
c) Administering death penalty is a form of revenge styled justice.
Revenge results from one's passion and selfish motives ,on the contrary, justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, and fairness put into action, which when fulfilled creates harmony. It is necessary for the law to take away rights of people when they intrude or violate the rights of others; this establishes peace and harmony in the society. By sentencing people to prison, for example, the law takes away the right to movement, affiliation, etc. Similarly, when you commit certain acts of malevolence you give up the right to live. This does not devalue life, but rather upholds the value of the innocent life abused or taken away by the criminal. Thus, certain heinous crimes warranting a death penalty is not any form of revenge but true justice itself.
PRO’s next contention is “punishments made by a governing body in a democracy can be described as the collective vigilantism of the governed”
Vigilantism leads to miscarriages of justice, simply because of the fact that there is no proper trial or such to determine the guilt of a person involved; and judgment would be tainted by the vigilante’s individual biases. Whereas the law takes sufficient effort to make sure that the person going to be administered the death penalty is absolutely guilty and has a track record that suggests he would try to seriously hurt or kill again.
- Enforcing death penalty would deter crimes
- There are crimes that simply must be punished by the death penalty, any lesser punishment would mean failing to uphold proper justice for such crimes.
- Death penalty makes sure that the accused doesn’t try to commit further crimes.
- 'Wrongful Convictions' Argument is incoherent and doesn’t provide any rational reasons on why death penalty must be abolished.
And with that I wrap up.I eagerly await my opponent's response in round 3
1: http://listverse.com... (listed as number 4)
Thanks to Pro for some interesting arguments and rebuttals. Below are my rebuttals and counter-rebuttals.
Pro begins with, "Punishment is a method adopted by the society to discourage prospective and potential criminals from committing unlawful action." While Pro is correct in that punishments are often used to deter crime, this has been shown to not work well with the death penalty. In fact, "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.". While the death penalty may seem to be a strong deterrence of crime in theory, the statistics of the practice of the death penalty say the opposite.
Pro continues on to list examples of punishments meant to deter crime in other countries. Pro's emphasis is on the desired effect, which he says is to "dissuade civilians from committing crime". However, desired effect is irrelevant when it conflicts with the actual effect.
Pro also brings up that "It is the highest interest of the society to prevent intended homicides and it is only logical to use the highest form of punishment for the same." By this logic, the punishment should be even more severe than Pro is arguing for. Surely death by stoning, a punishment Pro admits to not advocate, is a higher form of punishment than the death penalty that Pro does advocate. If Pro truly believed that the highest form of punishment should be used to to prevent intended homicides, he would support death by stoning or other horrible punishments. However, Pro does not appear to truly believe what he has said.
Pro claims that the death penalty is a more formidable prospect than a life sentence, making it a better deterrent of crime. Pro gives no reason to believe this is true other than his certainty that the death penalty is a more formidable prospect. I find it hard to realistically imagine a situation where a would-be criminal would think "Hey, I shouldn't do this. I might get the death penalty." and not be just as deterred by the thought of "Hey, I shouldn't do this. I might get life without parole."
Pro's figures of 3-18 murders being prevented per inmate put to death are questionable. The link Pro provides as the source for this claim also says that "The studies have been the subject of sharp criticism, much of it from legal scholars who say that the theories of economists do not apply to the violent world of crime and punishment. Critics of the studies say they are based on faulty premises, insufficient data and flawed methodologies.", as well as, "A single capital litigation can cost more than $1 million. It is at least possible that devoting that money to crime prevention would prevent more murders than whatever number, if any, an execution would deter."
If the desired effect of a punishment is, as Pro said, to dissuade civilians from committing crime, and if the death penalty is being used as a punishment, then it's ineffective.
Pro argues that "Some crimes are just so heinous that it is more than vindicatory for the criminal minds who committed the crime to deserve the death penalty." I argue that the law should exist to protect the innocent, not to punish the guilty. If the innocent are able to be protected without death as a punishment, and they are, then death as a punishment is not an acceptable course of action. Pro uses the words "deserve the death penalty.", which seems to be a claim relying on emotion. As I argued in my first rebuttal, the death penalty has been less effective at deterring crime than not having the death penalty, so that can't be the reason it's deserved. Life in prison would keep the general public as safe as if the criminal were killed, so that also can't be the reason it's deserved. The reason people claim that the death penalty is deserved for some criminals is because some criminals do things that create strong emotions in the general public. The reason some say the death penalty is deserved is because a criminal paying for a crime with their life serves to calm the range of emotions caused by the crime that was committed.
Prevention of Further Crime
This is really a subcategory of deterrence, but I'll address it separately as Pro did. Pro argues, "Death penalty is the only way to ensure that criminals do not escape into the outside world". Pro criticizes life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty by pointing out that crimes still happen in prison and that prisoners might escape. This is not a problem with life in prison, but rather a problem with the way prisons are managed. Pro is taking the problem of prisoner escapes and prison fights and coming to the conclusion that the best solution is to kill the dangerous prisoners. The conclusion Pro should be coming to is that we need to fix the way prisons are managed.
Pro's syllogism requires extra words to represent my point. It should look like this:
P1: Any unnecessary punishment that has a chance of taking away the lives of innocent civilians should be abolished.
P2: The death penalty is an unnecessary punishment that has a chance of taking away the lives of innocent civilians.
C: The death penalty should be abolished.
Pro's argument against his version of P1 has the same problem as his Prevention of Further Crime arguments. Suicide and unnatural death in prison should take Pro to the conclusion that the prison system needs changes. Also, the difference between a wrongful conviction leading to time in prison and a wrongful conviction leading to an execution is that after the wrongful conviction sentence leading to time in prison is finished or after being proved innocent, you're free again.
Pro's argument against P2 doesn't stand as well with the syllogism I've provided. When the risk is unnecessary, as I've been arguing it is, the choice to not take the risk is the obvious choice.
Death Penalty Cost
I've already argued the point of justice under Justified Circumstances. Intensive and thorough procedures and investigations or not, innocent people still get through, as I argued in my opening argument. As I've also argued, the death penalty is unnecessary. The extreme cost involved is just one more reason to abolish the death penalty.
Rehabilitation not working on an individual is not an acceptable reason to kill them.
You ask the question, "What if a killer spared from a death penalty serving life sentence decides to seriously hurt or kill again? What would we say to his possible future victims if we allow him to live?"I would not blame the lack of the death penalty, but rather the way our prison systems are managed. The same question could be asked about the victims wrongfully executed under the death penalty.
Revenge Styled Justice
I've already re-argued my point on this subject under Justified Circumstances.
The majority of my arguments were philosophical or moral, so few sources were needed.
CON has come up with really good and convincing rebuttals but has taken quite an idealistic approach and has in the process committed multiple fallacies in his case. Cross examining his assertions and strengthening my own would be the main focus of my forthcoming rebuttals in this conclusive round of this debate.
Thanks to Pro for an enjoyable and challenging debate. Passing this round as agreed upon.
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