Capital Punishment should be abolished as a form of legal punishment.
I will be arguing that capital punishment (also known to some as the death penalty) should be banned and abolished as a form of punishment worldwide, with action presumably from the United Nations or other higher political powers.
Capital Punishment: Also known as the death penalty, death sentence, or execution. Capital punishment is a form of government sanctioned and approved form of legal punishment that can be caused by certain crimes varying by country. These crimes are usually, but not limited to (first degree) murder, terrorism, etc. (1)
Abolished: To put an end to or eliminated as a whole. In this situation, Capital Punishment should be stopped worldwide and prohibited by all government organizations. (2)
Legal Punishment: Punishments justified by the law and crime committed. (3)
Capital Punishment has existed for almost all of recorded human history. Originating from certain resolutions that might be reached to justify certain events or crimes, so to say. These were often classified or known as blood feuds and generally involved tribe members bringing death upon somebody who has done something significantly wrong to warrant such action (1). The earliest recorded form of this type of punishment as a law was the 18th century B.C.E. in the Code of King Babylon which warranted capital punishment for several types of crimes. Early forms of recorded punishment types include crucifixion, drowning, beating to death being burnt alive or impalement. Although modern ways have changed drastically, capital punishment is still an ancient punishment and should be abolished due to its severity and general inhumaneness. (2)
Capital Punishment is also against the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. Article 3 clearly states that all humans have the right to life, being the right to not be killed for any reason whatsoever. By administering Capital Punishment, the government or its legal agencies are provoking the convict of their basic human rights to live. This forced death essentially kills the person and leaves them no other choice other than to accept the punishment or appeal through highly complex worldwide legal systems that result in similar conclusions. Article 5 of the same document also states that everybody (all humans) “shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. (5) Capital punishment is a highly degrading and cruel form of punishment, and can sometimes lead to torture. Early forms of capital punishment were administered in front of a general public, although nowadays they are usually administered in private, there are still humans watching the process and being strapped in and either being electrocuted, gassed or given lethal injection is highly degrading.
Capital Punishment is also morally wrong. Capital Punishment is also an example dating back to early times of the informal fallacy that another wrong of the same degree cancels out the previous wrongdoing. This relates to the proverb “two wrongs don’t make a right”. (6). Capital Punishment is generally and mostly administered for first-degree murder, but isn’t killing a person for killing a person just sending out the message that it’s perfectly acceptable of killing a person? Say someone just committed the crime of killing somebody. Then a close friend of that victim decides that the murderer should receive the same punishment and decides to shoot the murderer. Does that mean that the 2nd murder is justified and the second murderer should be exempt of all legal consequences? No! Under our current legal system, the second person will also be subject to legal consequences, though possibly alleviated (to manslaughter) (7). Capital Punishment is essentially the same thing except administered by the government, why should this be allowed then? The current systems are contributing to the problem by virtually condoning murder and the intentional killing of people, this just emphasizes the already existent problem.
In conclusion, by abolishing capital punishment, fewer people will die each year, prehistoric and illogical ways will be abolished, and the essential Human Rights of certain people can be regained. Thank you.
Firstly, I'd like to thank the opposition for setting this debate up. I'd also like to thank them for defining the terms, as it made the debate a lot clearer.
I'd like to start off with some rebuttal.
Firstly, I'd like to rebut Jiahua's first point regarding human rights and how Capital Punishment opposes them. I'd like to point out that although my fellow opposition did state that Capital Punishment does not give humans the right to have a life, he did not state why these Human Rights are important. So what? The opposition is basing his argument on the common belief that Human Rights are important. We live in an era where it seems that most human rights treaties have been ratified by the vast majority of countries. Yet it seems that the human rights agenda has fallen on hard times. In much of the Islamic world, women lack equality, religious dissenters are persecuted and political freedoms are curtailed. The Chinese model of development, which combines political repression and economic liberalism, has attracted numerous admirers in the developing world. Backlashes against LGBT rights have taken place in countries as diverse as Russia and Nigeria. So why is it that when it comes to Capital Punishment, Human Rights should apply? Without an explanation on why they're important, the argument cannot stand alone. Even if he did explain why Human Rights are really important, he did not take into account that a just state regularly abrogates people's rights when they intrude upon the rights of others. By sending people to prison, for instance, the state takes away rights to movement, association, and property rights from convicted criminals. The right to life should be no different. He did not explain why Capital Punishment specifically should be abolished. He referred to Article 5 (where he made a typo - I shall excuse it), where "nobody shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. But I'd like to state that other punishments are also inhuman or degrading, such as public whipping, near asphyxiation, etc. His arguments are arguments for punishments in general, and are not directly specific to Capital Punishment. Capital Punishment may go against Human Rights, but I'm going to prove that it is alright to make an exception when it comes to Capital Punishment later on, which also acts as a rebuttal to my fellow opposition's first point.
I'd also like to point out that the opposition made a bold statement, "Capital punishment is a highly degrading and cruel form of punishment, and can sometimes lead to torture." It would help if there was some logical reasoning.
Moving on to my main argument, what my fellow opposition has seemed to missed is the fact that the point of Capital Punishment is not to "make two wrongs a right", but in fact it is to deter the amount of crimes and murders.
Humans fear death. We always have been, from the fears we have to the consequences we face. Punishments are consequences for our horrible actions. With Capital punishment, criminals have something to be scared of: death. Michael Summers, PhD, MBA, Professor of Management Science at Pepperdine University, wrote in his Nov. 2, 2007 article "Capital Punishment Works" in the Wall Street Journal: ""...[O]ur recent research shows that each execution carried out is correlated with about 74 fewer murders the following year... The study examined the relationship between the number of executions and the number of murders in the U.S. for the 26-year period from 1979 to 2004, using data from publicly available FBI sources... There seems to be an obvious negative correlation in that when executions increase, murders decrease, and when executions decrease, murders increase... (1). This proves that Capital punishment does work effectively when it comes to deterring crime and murders, meaning that the problems stated in Jiahua's text won't even happen. If Capital Punishment keeps on being reinforced into society, none of the problems opposition stated would even happen. Since the amount of murders has gone down in states that have Capital Punishment throughout the years, it would only make sense that murder rates will drop if more states implement Capital Punishment. If less murders occur, less murderers would have to be executed. This links back to why Capital Punishment should not be abolished, because if it does, crime and murder rates will be high again, since murderers have nothing to fear.
Secondly, I strongly believe that Capital Punishment is the best answer to murder. My fellow opposition believes that it won't make anything right, be he, himself has not raised an alternative solution. Capital Punishment is the most suitable response to murder because If murder is the willful deprivation of a victim’s right to life, then the justice system’s willful deprivation of the criminal’s right to the same is—even if overly severe—a punishment which fits the most severe crime that can be committed. Without capital punishment, it could be argued that the justice system makes no provision in response to the crime of murder, and thus provides no justice for the victim. Also, Capital Punishment guarantees that the murderer won't commit anymore crimes. Andrew Dawson, a convicted murderer, was given a life sentence in 1982 after admitting the murder of a 91-year-old Henry Walsh in his flat at Ormskirk, Lancashire, stabbing him a dozen times with bread knife. Within weeks of his release in 2010 however, he stabbed defenceless John Matthews and Paul Hancock to death in separate attacks, before leaving their bodies in their bathtubs in Derby (2). There are many more examples of people like this, people such as George Johnson, Ernest Wright, David Cook and Desmond Lee. This is why Capital Punishment should not be abolished, because there is no other alternative for an answer to muder in the world of justice and crime.
To wrap things up, I have stated the flaws of my fellow opposition's points as well as rebutting a few, and I have stated a few of my own points. This is why this motion shall fall.
Firstly, I’d like to thank the opposition for the relatively timely response. I shall begin with some rebuttal.
“he did not state why these Human Rights are important. So what? The opposition is basing his argument on the common belief that Human Rights are important.”
I mentioned Human Rights and assumed that the general public would reasonable see Human Rights as something that is significantly important in our modern world. In this case I shall explain. The Declaration of Human Rights was established to state all governments’ and humans’ duty to fulfill the Human Rights of all it’s citizens and those who abode in the country. (1, refer to above sources) The opposing has stated multiple current issues of our modern world, yet failed to state which specific right those have failed to fulfill. I would also like to state that even if certain Human Rights are ignored at some places, that doesn’t mean that there is no purpose to Human Rights. Human Rights cannot be ignored simply due to the fact that it is being ignored elsewhere.
“he did not take into account that a just state regularly abrogates people's rights when they intrude upon the rights of others”
May I refer you to Article 29, Part 2. This part of the Universal Declaration specifically states that “In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.” One’s human rights aren’t abrogated due to the fact that they have intruded upon the rights of others, they are sometimes limited by the law (see above). This means that people are not only sent to prison as a form of punishment, but are sent there for a specific amount of time to isolate them from the society, thus protecting the society from those convicts. The opposing has stated that by sending people to prison, their rights to movement, association, and property rights have been denied or taken away from the person. True, one’s free movement between nations and movement in general might be restricted, but that is only to secure the welfare and public order for others. If the government had released convicts and criminals onto the street due to their free movement rights, it would mean that they are violating the right to security of even more people (stated in Article 3). One’s right to association only applies to “peaceful assembly[s] and association[s]” (Article 20). By somebody who is potentially dangerous joining such associations, it is safe to assume that the risk of the association or assembly becoming hostile is significantly increased, thus once again disagreeing with the Human Right. The fact that one’s freedom to property has been voided is not valid. One’s physical property and monetary property might be possibly seized due to say, unpaid bills, but those will not be arbitrarily seized by the government (Article 17). Thus the point that the opposing has made on convict’s rights being abrogated is utterly unreasonable and invalid. (1) One aim of abolishing Capital Punishment is so that less rights will have to be bent or broken to achieve the same result of security in society.
“His arguments are arguments for punishments in general, and are not directly specific to Capital Punishment.”
Capital Punishment is the cruelest form of certain unorthodox methods of punishment worldwide. I’m sure my arguments in no way are directed to certain forms of punishment, such as prison sentences. May I remind the opposing that this debate is solely concerning Capital Punishment and that all arguments, although they could be used to argue for abolishment of certain uncommon forms of punishment, are used to argue against Capital Punishment.
“I'd also like to point out that the opposition made a bold statement, "Capital punishment is a highly degrading and cruel form of punishment, and can sometimes lead to torture." It would help if there was some logical reasoning.”
There have been several cases of so called botched executions in the United States. OnJuly 23, 2014, Joseph R. Wood in Arizona was being subject to lethal injection. After the various chemicals were injected that are supposed to make death painless, Wood reportedly gasped for 100 minutes before death was finally announced, one that witnessed the ordeal said that they had counted as much as 640 gasps before Wood was officially announced dead. Efforts to halt the botched execution went unnoticed. Another similar example was on April 29 in 2014 when Clayton D. Lockett was given lethal injection. The remaining 2 drugs that are supposed to be administered after the experimental anesthesia was administered were apparently administered too early causing Lockett to experience pain during the injection. He later died of a heart attack being still in the execution chamber after the execution was halted. Similar cases of the above examples have also occurred. Capital Punishment can possibly be painful, thus should be abolished. (8)
“it is to deter the amount of crimes and murders”
Firstly, the amount of crimes and murders cannot be detered, crime can though. The fact that humans fear death is only based on personal opinion. If humans did indeed fear death, then there won’t longer be any suicides or suicide attempt. Some humans don’t fear death, and that is the exact reasons they commit those crimes without any fear of the punishments involved. Also to rebut the opposing’s point that the death penalty deters crime, it has been no way proved that it does work, there only “seems to be an obvious negative correlation” in the data. Polls have also shown that police view Capital Punishment as “the least effective” deterrent to crime. I have presented data (9) that stands for my argument below.
The data below shows the amount of murder (calculated per 1000 people) of various states that have since abolished the use of capital punishment. The line indicates the year when capital punishment was given up.
From the graphs shown above, it is reasonable to assume that the ending of Capital Punishment in the various states have had a positive effect on the murder rates of those states, thus we can come to the conclusion that ending Capital Punishment is in fact beneficial to the society and that ending this form of punishment is highly beneficial.
“Capital Punishment is the best answer to murder”
The opposing has said that I have not stated other alternatives to Capital Punishment, yet one very obvious alternative would be life without parole, which is the highest possibly sentence that can be given out. This sentence will also prevent occurrences of those who have been sentenced to life to go back out and kill additional people. How would one be released if they are sentenced to a life sentence in the first place? You also state that the only way to counter murder is to take the lives of those who did do those. The opposing has also stated that the only way to counter a murder is to take the life from the murderer too, then shouldn’t all murder, including manslaughter be charged with the same punishment? Murder does not solve murder.
I’d now like to state some additional arguments.
Capital Punishment is expensive
Let us take Washington State as an example. Reports have shown that the capital punishment results in costs ranging around $1 million more than if capital punishment were not sought. These cover the costs of the execution itself, and legal factors. This is even more exaggerated in other states such as Colorado, where the death penalty costs around $3.5 million compared to $150 for a life without parole. Be reminded that these occur multiple times a year in multiple states, often ranging up to even a billion dollars a year. (10) Through the lengthy appeal process, this money is often waived and comes from taxpayer money. Instead, if this same money were to be invested into education, hundreds of thousands of students will be able to have access to school supplies. Why are we wasting money on the death penalty?
Capital Punishment brings shame to a country
The most recent poll has shown that the majority of people in the United States support life without parole over capital punishment (11). If the people don’t support it, then why does the government support it. Using Capital Punishment brings shame to a country as people will see those governments and countries as cruel and bad by killing its inmates and convicted. This in turn, will bring a slight fluctuation of negativity to the country’s economy and tourism as those tourists dislike the negativity of a certain country. This is even more significant in democratic nations, such as the United States. The Constitution, the basis of law in the United States, begins with the phrase “We the People, of the United States” (12). The United States government killing these convicts is equivalent to the people of the United States killing these people, and that isn’t what the people want. Capital Punishment humiliates whatever country that incorporates it, also bringing shame to its citizens.
In conclusion, I have rebutted some inconsistencies and invalid points that my opponent has made, in addition, I have made some new and additional points. This motion shall stand. Thank you.
What my fellow opposition seems to believe here, is that human rights are the most important thing in the world. Half of his arguments are based on the human rights act. Two can play that game. I’d first like to ask a very important question: Is it more cruel to kill somebody or trap them in a jail cell for the rest of their lives? Which punishment abrogates more rights?
I’d like to answer these questions before I start my rebuttal.
My fellow opposition is all in favor of Human Rights, yet he has failed to realize that by sending someone to prison, you are actually abrogating more human rights than executing them. When you trap someone in a prison, you are intruding upon Article 3, which is the Right to liberty and Personal Security, and the rights to movement, association, and property rights from convicted criminals (as mentioned in my previous argument), whereas execution only abrogates the right to life. Opposition then continued to contradict himself, saying that the government cannot give the right to movement to convicted criminals because it abrogates societies rights to safety. This is where I got confused. If opposition is all for the right to life in convicted criminals and not the right of movement, opposition has not done his job. If he is to use human rights as a primary source for his argument, he needs to support all of human rights. Is he saying that the government can intrude on some rights but not others? My fellow opposition has not clearly stated whether he is all for human rights or whether he is against. He has not clearly drawn the line between what he stands for and what he doesn’t.
Moving on to my rebuttal,
“This means that people are not only sent to prison as a form of punishment, but are sent there for a specific amount of time to isolate them from the society, thus protecting the society from those convicts."
If this is the case, then why not execute the murderers instead? They clearly deserve it. If you really did care about society from convicts, killing them would guarantee 0% murders from them in the future.
"Capital Punishment can possibly be painful, thus should be abolished.... Capital Punishment is the cruelest form of certain unorthodox methods of punishment worldwide...yet one very obvious alternative would be life without parole"
Firstly, just because an execution method may result in pain, either by accident or as an inescapable consequence of death, does not establish the sort of 'objectively intolerable risk of harm. According to my fellow opposition’s logic, all forms of punishment in society should be abolished because they could be possibly “painful”. Is that what he means?
Life in prison is basically a longer and more painful death sentence. Here’s why. Firstly, Poor sanitary conditions, inadequate lighting and ventilation, extremes of temperature, insect and rodent infestation and insufficient or non-existent personal hygiene supplies all have a negative impact on prisoners’ health. Unfortunately, this is the case for most prisons around the world. Secondly, rates of infectious disease, notably HIV/AIDS and TB, are much higher in prisons, and lastly, Prison overcrowding is a serious problem in many prisons around the world. (3) So instead of having them suffer through these horrible conditions until they die, why not execute them? Additionally, the amount of cases of failed attempts or painful attempts of execution is too little to be considered a problem compared to the countless murderers who have to suffer in these terrible prison conditions for a LIFETIME.
"Capital Punishment is expensive"
Firstly, the prices my fellow opposition has given us is per person. Obviously, there are more people in life imprisonment then people who need to be executed. When you add the prices up, Capital Punishment doesn’t seem so expensive now, does it?
Even if it may be cheaper to keep them in prison for life, why are we using our tax money to keep a killer alive? Why are we paying for someone who isn't going to go out into the world? According to my fellow opposition’s logic, life imprisonment should also be abolished. Considering the status of many prisons around the world, life imprisonment is also a form of cruel torture that abrogates human rights. Even my fellow opposition admits that sending people to prison abrogates their rights, "True, one’s free movement between nations and movement in general might be restricted, but that is only to secure the welfare and public order for others. If the government had released convicts and criminals onto the street due to their free movement rights, it would mean that they are violating the right to security of even more people".
I feel like what opposition is trying to say is, “We should abolish Capital Punishment because it abrogates human rights and it is cruel”. What about other forms of punishment? Prisons are also cruel. You stay in a jail cell for the rest of your life, confined in a zone where you cannot go out into the world ever again. Opposition replies with “Oh but it’s alright because we are protecting the rights of everyone else”. What I don’t understand is the fact that
I have stated this in my previous argument, but I will state it again as opposition has not replied to this comment whatsoever. Why can’t the government abrogate the right to life, but can abrogate the other right when it comes to punishment? Why is Capital Punishment so unique that it has to be abolished? I’ve already proved that it isn’t the cruelest method of punishment, so why?
"Capital Punishment brings shame to a country"
This point is absolutely absurd. My fellow opposition truly believes that the type of punishments will affect the tourism and economy of the country. Does this seem reasonable at all? If you wanted to go on vacation, and you wanted to go to Shanghai, China. It’s a very beautiful city, but “OH LOOK! China still implements the death penalty. I guess I can’t go then.” Is this really the way people think? Besides, my fellow opposition has no proof/evidence that countries having the death penalty will affect it’s economy and tourism.
I am now going to strengthen my previous points and perhaps add a new point.
For years, criminologists analyzed murder rates to see if they fluctuated with the likelihood of convicted murderers being executed, but the results were inconclusive. Then in 1973 Isaac Ehrlich employed a new kind of analysis which produced results showing that for every inmate who was executed, 7 lives were spared because others were deterred from committing murder. Similar results have been produced by disciples of Ehrlich in follow-up studies. Moreover, even if some studies regarding deterrence are inconclusive, that is only because the death penalty is rarely used and takes years before an execution is actually carried out. Punishments which are swift and sure are the best deterrent. The fact that some states or countries which do not use the death penalty have lower murder rates than jurisdictions which do is not evidence of the failure of deterrence. States with high murder rates would have even higher rates if they did not use the death penalty.
Ernest van den Haag, a Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University who has studied the question of deterrence closely, wrote: "Even though statistical demonstrations are not conclusive, and perhaps cannot be, capital punishment is likely to deter more than other punishments because people fear death more than anything else. They fear most death deliberately inflicted by law and scheduled by the courts. Whatever people fear most is likely to deter most. Hence, the threat of the death penalty may deter some murderers who otherwise might not have been deterred. And surely the death penalty is the only penalty that could deter prisoners already serving a life sentence and tempted to kill a guard, or offenders about to be arrested and facing a life sentence. Perhaps they will not be deterred. But they would certainly not be deterred by anything else. We owe all the protection we can give to law enforcers exposed to special risks."
This not only shows why the death penalty is the best answer to murder, but how it also works as an effective deterrent.
Secondly, crime disturbs the order of society, where each person receives what is due to him. If my fellow opposition is really into human rights, then executing the murderers would be the right thing to do. The criminal takes from people their rights to lives, peace, liberties, and other worldly goods just so he can get benefits. Deserved punishments protects society morally by restoring the just order, making the convict pay a price equivalent of the harm he has caused. This is retribution. It is not “revenge”, or “two wrongs don’t make a right”. In retribution the motivation is the virtue of indignation for the good of the public. My fellow opposition also seems to agree that our goal is to help society and prevent further crimes. So by abolishing the death penalty, we are actually harming society for the reasons stated above.
This motion shall stand because of my strong rebuttals I have made to go against opposition, both offensive and defensive. I have also pointed out some of the major flaws and some illogical statements made by opposition. I have added evidence and more logic to my points, and after making my argument, I truly believe that Capital Punishment should not be abolished for the harms it may cause is much greater than the harms my fellow opposition stated.
First off, I’d like to pose a question. If (as my fellow opposition says) that life (without parole) in prison is truly worse than capital punishment, then why would the latter be a better deterrent? As for which one abrogates more rights, I’d like to argue that there are no standard guidelines as to measuring whether one action is more morally acceptable than another. The simple amount of rights abrogated has nothing to do with how morally acceptable an action is. For example, abrogating the right to equal pay (Article 23) is vastly different from abrogating the right to life (Article 3), these aren’t equal just because both are abrogating exactly 1 human right. (1) I believe that certainly the right to life is above all in rights and everybody should be secured this right. Life is something very valuable, and cannot be regained.
I shall start with my proper rebuttal now.
Regarding Human Rights:
As I said above, the sheer amount of rights abrogated has nothing to do with how severe one punishment is. As for myself contradicting myself, I would like to note the defining factors of Utilitarianism. I myself am a strong supporter of Utilitarianism and it is there for the greater good, and I’m sure voters will also agree. Utilitarianism is a theory in which the moral action that will result in most utility is the one that should be rightfully proclaimed, utility being pleasure or absence of pain. The first priority of which is to keep the innocent majority of society safe, constituting the government’s need to secure civilians’ right of security by keeping those convicted (in the current situation) either locked up until deemed possible to be released, locked up forever or killed. The right of security provides those in society the lack of pain. The second priority involved in the equation would be those convicted. The actions and punishments taken must be able to provide those convicted the highest amount of pleasure, may it be miniscule. One may say that it is the country and prisons’ goal to change those convicted through reform, but this is already achieved through the isolation from society. The next step would be to secure utility for them. I believe that keeping these convicted in prison will be the most utilitarian, they are still able to interact within the prison society and live their life. When executing somebody, they go through the worry and pain of dying, their relatives go through the pain of a loved one dying and it doesn’t really bring pleasure to the ordinary people either. This is what I believe should define what punishments are and one way of securing maximum utility is to abolish capital punishment. (13)
“If this is the case, then why not execute the murderers instead?”
Life without parole would also ensure they don’t do any additional harm; it reaches the same conclusion. Also please justify why the criminals clearly deserve this punishment, lots of murders are done by those who are mentally incapable or provoked; some of them are also executed. Please also refer to above.
Something being painful does not justify the need to abolish it, I agree. This changes when other just as effective alternatives provide the same result yet involve less pain. As mentioned above, I highly support utilitarian views and want to achieve the least amount of pain for everybody. This is why there are really nice prisons in Norway, it keeps the civilians safe and ensures the best possibly outcome after that for the convicted.
I would first like to say that the summation of all the prices involved has nothing to do with how expensive each is. When somebody is convicted, sentencing them to life without parole (including all expenses until death) is cheaper than the death penalty. We are paying to keep the convicted alive because it is cheaper than to kill them. Thus, Capital Punishment is indeed more expensive than other alternatives such as life without parole by a lot (see above argument).
“Prisons are also cruel.”
Please see above. Why are there some nice prisons in Norway then? This is stereotypical.
“What I don’t understand is the fact that”
This is highly confusing as the opposing has just cut off the argument there. There continues to be a paragraph break. Readers and voters please note.
“Why can’t the government abrogate the right to life”
Again, see above. I am supportive of the least amount of pain and most pleasure for everybody. The right to life is the most important right of human rights.
Regarding Capital Punishment being a deterrent
The evidence you have given is basically cherry-picked from those that show otherwise. Studies from Professor Michael Radelet and Traci Lacock, The National Research Council, and much more recent finding have shown that Capital Punishment is an ineffective deterrent. Even if the studies were to be somewhat accurate, note that they are from a long time ago. The Isaac Ehrlich study was done in 1973, some 43 years ago. The other study from Ernest van den Haag was also done in 1969, being 47 years ago. These studies from nearly 50 years ago and prove to be very insignificant in our modern 21st century society. As you can see below, even those opinions from 1985 have changed, from 62% supporting Capital Punishment to 34% in 2006, this means that data and reports from 1960s and 1970s are certainly inaccurate and invalid nowadays. (14, 15)
In contrast to my opposing’s point, the lack of capital punishment is actually benefiting the society even more. Please see data below.
This means that the lack of capital punishment has been positive in reducing crime even before 1990s, now averaging at a near 40% difference when compared to those states which do have capital punishment. This is also not affected by a geographical bias as neighboring states have also shown a decrease. (16) Conclusively, the lack of capital punishment (or the prospect of life without parole) has resulted in a decrease in murders, thus capital punishment isn’t a deterrent and the lack of it (prospect of alternatives) is indeed one.
I would also like to note that the opposing has not sourced the 2 studies that has been stated. This also prevents me from verifying the evidence the opposition has provided.
Regarding order of society and Retribution
If you want to bring morals into the problem, why not quote The Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is a fundamental rule in lots of religious texts and is generally followed worldwide. The official definition of this is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This rule is the fundaments of what my fellow opposition is trying to state, my opposition saying so otherwise would be highly contradictory would void their own argument. This is, however a 2-way street. According to what the opposing has said in relation to the Golden Rule, the government killing people would simply suggest that those killers should do so in revenge and figuratively kill the government. Since in US’s case, the government is a democracy of the people of the United States, the killers are effectively supposed to kill the people of the United States as the United States government has killed the killers. Note that I do not support this viewpoint and wanted the opposition to know that by implying their arguments, it would be implying what I just stated above. (17) Retribution, in my example given referred as to the Golden Rule, is highly flawed and wrong, thus isn’t a valid argument against the abolishment of capital punishment.
Rebuttal aside, I will go on to additional arguments and finally a conclusion.
To emphasize on my utilitarianism point made above, there is always the slight chance somebody innocent will be executed. Death is not reversible, prison sentences are. This has happened in the past and will happen in the future if capital punishment were not abolished. An example would be Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed for the death of his 3 children and later found innocent. (18) Several cases have arisen in various places including the United Kingdom, PRC, ROC, Australia, Ireland, and the United States throughout history. A recent study showed that 4% of people in death row are innocent. (19)
To conclude, I have proved that capital punishment is ultimately barbaric, brutal, and is not only against Human Rights but also against a utilitarian goal. It was also shown that Capital Punishment is also wildly expensive, morally incorrect, leads to possible execution of innocent people, and is done on behalf of the people of the country. I have also proved against capital punishment being a deterrent but the lack of it being beneficial; and retribution being highly flawed. On top of all that, my fellow opposition has also submitted incomplete arguments, has common misleading grammatical errors, fails to source data and ironically yet carelessly forfeited the debate by stating that “This motion shall stand” in the previous round. This motion shall indeed stand and vote pro for the reasons stated above. This being the conclusion, I would like to thank the opposition for the fair and reasonable debate and would urge voters to vote pro. Thank you.
My opponent has forfeited (See comments)