The Instigator
kcougar52
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
Maya9
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Capital Punishment should not be Used as a Punishment in the United States

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
kcougar52
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/6/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,120 times Debate No: 5292
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

kcougar52

Pro

Hello there potential opponent! This debate will start in round two! Just accept and say hello, and we'll get started!
Maya9

Con

Okay, I'm ready whenever you are.
Debate Round No. 1
kcougar52

Pro

Alrighty, first off I'd like to thank Maya9 for accepting this open challenge. Hobey ho, let's go!
________________________________________________________________________________
First off. I'll make some observations.
1. There are three justifications for societal punishments.
a) Safety
b) Deterence
c) Justice
2. So, if a punishment doesn't provide for these three justifications, it's obvious it shouldn't be used.
3. I will show that capital punishment does not provide for these three justifications.
4. All evidence is gotten from a single artice, written by Katherine Van Wormer and Chuk Odiah, found at this website-- http://arapaho.nsuok.edu...(great%20article).pdf [Note: You will have to type in the last part of the adress due to the presence of parenthesis]
4. I reserve the right to clarify in later rounds.
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Definition- (Dictionary.com)
Capital Punishment- punishment by death for a crime; death penalty
[Note: Throughout my first round, I will be providing definitions for pertinent words]
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Contention 1: Safety
a) According to Van Wormer,
"Violence breeds violence, a fact borne out of crime statistics. The average homicide rate in the twelve states prohibiting the death penalty, for example, is considerably lower than the average homicide rate in the thirty-eight states where execution is legal. The effect is interactive. A high crime rate leads to a cry for execution and execution itself may promote further violence."

b) What this piece of evidence says is that capital punishment leads to more violence. Is this safe for society? I think not. The fact that it causes more deaths shows that it is not safe for society to use, and therefore should not be used for this justification.

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Analysis---
Suicide Murder--
*Psychology- According to a study by The Journal of Criminal Justice, written by Katherine Van Wormer and Chuk Odiah, suicide murder basically means that certain psychologically unstable people want to kill themselves, but do not have the courage to put a gun in their mouth or swallow pills. So, they get someone else to do this. The someone else in the article is the state government, in the form of capital punishment. These people want to die so badly that they kill in order to get the maximum punishment.
Based on this analysis I will begin with my 2nd contention.
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Contention 2: Deterrence
a) To deter, according to dictionary.com, is to discourage or restrain from acting or proceeding. So, when attempting to deter a crime, it should restrain citizens from commiting this crime. But, according to suicide murder theory, this is not true.

b) According to Van Wormer,
"Sometimes a person will kill, whether conciously or unconsiously, so that he or she may be killed in a final act of retribution by the state. A former director of a state department of corrections referred to this phenomenon when he wrote, 'I know of a number of murder victims who would still be alive if the death penalty had not been in effect.'"
--This proves without a doubt that suicide-murder is real, and that it might not even be a concious effort to reach the final punishment of death. This means that not only is there no deterrence, but it also strengthens contention one.

c) Case Studies-- (On the website, it goes into much further detail of the chilling actions of these murderers)
i) Sherril Harston- "Here was a man so bent on death, apparently, that he had killed a young mother and her child, thereby conciously or unconciously moving himself toward a fate he believed was his. When Harston was given a life-sentence instead, he fired his attorney and filed for an appeal for a new trial. Once in prison, he threatened to kill again."
--Harston even wrote a song about his unconcious effort to be killed by electricution. (On website)
ii) Gary Gilmore- "...a prime example of one who plotted his own dramatic end. After being paroled from Marion Federal Penitentiary, Gilmore seemed strangely driven to go to Utah where execution by firing squad, rather than his home in Oregon, then a non-death penalty jurisdiction. He fought his attorney for the right to be killed, and through extensive public attention managed to be immortalized in death as he could not in life."
--Gilmore moved to another state in order to die. He was willing to do anything in order to have the state kill him.
iii)There are 22 examples of this on the website provided. I do not have the time nor patience to write them, but the two examples I have provided ought to be enough to prove my point. The death penalty is not a good form of deterrence. In fact, it causes the action it is supposed to protect from. Point made.
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Contention 3: Justice
a) Justice, defined by Aristotle, is giving each his due. I have some questions for my opponent. Are the victims of these crimes caused by the death penalty getting their due? Do these criminals get their due by getting the punishment they want? Is it really a punishment when the criminal wants it? No. There is not justice in the death penalty. Therefore, there is no reason for capital punishment in the United States.
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Conclusion:
Capital punishment infringes on the justifications of a punishment. All of them. There is no way to excuse the allowance of death of innocents. I encourage anyone voting to go to the website provided and read the case studies provided. In fact, I encourage you to read the entire article. It is a great read. So, should capital punishment be used as a punishment in the United States? No.

Thanks.
Maya9

Con

Maya9 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
kcougar52

Pro

Okay, my opponent forfeited... I'd still like to debate this. So, Maya9, keep debating. You still get two rounds to reply. Please? Otherwise, vote for me!
Maya9

Con

I apologize for not posting in the last round. I just started a new college semester and things have been hectic.

"Contention 1: Safety
a) According to Van Wormer,
"Violence breeds violence, a fact borne out of crime statistics. The average homicide rate in the twelve states prohibiting the death penalty, for example, is considerably lower than the average homicide rate in the thirty-eight states where execution is legal. The effect is interactive. A high crime rate leads to a cry for execution and execution itself may promote further violence."

b) What this piece of evidence says is that capital punishment leads to more violence. Is this safe for society? I think not. The fact that it causes more deaths shows that it is not safe for society to use, and therefore should not be used for this justification."

That is a false correlation. While it is statistically true that SOME states where the death penalty is prohibited have a lower homicide rate, this does not prove that rate of homicide is the direct cause of this. In fact, the cause of these lower homicide rates are socioeconomical: you will also notice that these states have a higher average per capita income. Using your reasoning, you could say that the outlawing of the death penalty somehow causes a higher average income. This would be an equally false correlation.

Furthermore, a paper in the Stanford Law Review entitled "Uses And Abuses of Empirical Evidence In The Death Penalty Debate" (which can be downloaded at http://www.stat.columbia.edu...) demonstrated that the the rise and fall of homicide rates over the years followed a similar pattern in both death penalty states and non-death penalty states. Also, it demonstates that while the homicide rate for the entire country rose dramatically between the early 60's and the early 90's, the rate of execution had dropped proportionally.

"Contention 2: Deterrence
a) To deter, according to dictionary.com, is to discourage or restrain from acting or proceeding. So, when attempting to deter a crime, it should restrain citizens from commiting this crime. But, according to suicide murder theory, this is not true.

b) According to Van Wormer,
"Sometimes a person will kill, whether conciously or unconsiously, so that he or she may be killed in a final act of retribution by the state. A former director of a state department of corrections referred to this phenomenon when he wrote, 'I know of a number of murder victims who would still be alive if the death penalty had not been in effect.'"

While it is certainly possible that a suicidal person without the courage to kill themselves might kill others in order to get the state to execute them, I find it highly unlikely. Most people are not so violent and lacking in regard for human life that they would be psychologically capable of doing such a thing on purpose. If done on an unconscious level, it would be damn near impossible to prove.

"--This proves without a doubt that suicide-murder is real, and that it might not even be a concious effort to reach the final punishment of death. This means that not only is there no deterrence, but it also strengthens contention one."

It proves nothing. Just because a former director of the State Department said it, it doesn't make it true.

c) Case Studies-- (On the website, it goes into much further detail of the chilling actions of these murderers)
i) Sherril Harston- "Here was a man so bent on death, apparently, that he had killed a young mother and her child, thereby conciously or unconciously moving himself toward a fate he believed was his. When Harston was given a life-sentence instead, he fired his attorney and filed for an appeal for a new trial. Once in prison, he threatened to kill again."
--Harston even wrote a song about his unconcious effort to be killed by electricution. (On website)
ii) Gary Gilmore- "...a prime example of one who plotted his own dramatic end. After being paroled from Marion Federal Penitentiary, Gilmore seemed strangely driven to go to Utah where execution by firing squad, rather than his home in Oregon, then a non-death penalty jurisdiction. He fought his attorney for the right to be killed, and through extensive public attention managed to be immortalized in death as he could not in life."
--Gilmore moved to another state in order to die. He was willing to do anything in order to have the state kill him.
iii)There are 22 examples of this on the website provided. I do not have the time nor patience to write them, but the two examples I have provided ought to be enough to prove my point. The death penalty is not a good form of deterrence. In fact, it causes the action it is supposed to protect from. Point made."

As I said, situations such as these are entirely possible. However, they are obviously the exception rather than the rule.

It is true: there are many murderers who will not be deterred. For example, a criminal who kills accidentally while in the commission of another felony will not be deterred because he or she never intended to kill in the first place. Also, anyone who commits a murder out of rage could not possibly be deterred because he or she would already be past all reason.

However, there are some who would likely be deterred. For example: a person looking to kill their spouse for the insurance money. Anyone planning a murder out ahead of time would inevitably have to consider the possible punishment.

"Contention 3: Justice
a) Justice, defined by Aristotle, is giving each his due. I have some questions for my opponent. Are the victims of these crimes caused by the death penalty getting their due? Do these criminals get their due by getting the punishment they want? Is it really a punishment when the criminal wants it? No. There is not justice in the death penalty. Therefore, there is no reason for capital punishment in the United States."

You are falsely assuming that all murderers want to die. You have no proof of this, and there is clear evidence to the contrary. Most murderers fight for life in prison rather than death, exhausting all of their appeals.

Now for my reasons why the death penalty SHOULD be legal:

1. Safety - The death penalty is the one way to guarantee that a murderer will never kill again. Even if in prison for life and never escapes, it is possible that he or she will kill other prisoners. In fact, it is more likely. "Lifers", as they are commonly known, are notoriously dangerous prisoners because they have nothing to dose.

2. Justice - Killing a murderer is giving precisely what is due. It is unjust to give the murderer more mercy than he or she gave to his or her victim.

3. Cutting expenses - Why should law-abiding taxpayers have to pay for the food, shelter, legal counsel, and medical care of murderers? These people have already shown the ultimate disregard for life and the social contract. While I am not a supporter of social welfare, it is worthy to note that convicted murderers in many states are treated better than the poor. They get free food, shelter, legal counsel, and medical care while the poor sleep on the street, starve, and die of disease.
Debate Round No. 3
kcougar52

Pro

Alrighty, in this round, I'll be going over the contentions presented and showing that I win every single one... Hobey ho!
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Pro Contention 1: Safety
Basically what my opponent is attempting to refute is that there is not a correlation between death penalty states and non-death penalty states. This is false. Just because you have evidence that says there is a rise and fall of homicide rates that followed a similar pattern means nothing. It just means there were more in this year, less in that year, and so on, and so on. What my opponent obviously doesn't see is in point A when Van Wormer says 'the AVERAGE homicide rate in the twelve states prohibiting the death penalty is considerable lower than the AVERAGE homicide rate in the thirty-eight states where execution is legal. THE EFFECT IS INTERACTIVE.' This clearly states that violence causes violence. I'm afraid my opponent cannot argue with an expert of the field on this one.
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Pro Contention 2: Deterrence
Apparently my opponent does not understand credentials. My opponent is a college student, whereas my source is a Ph.D, has written numerous articles and books, and has been a professor... (http://www.uni.edu...) It's obvious who you should listen to. If Van Wormer says this is happening, it's probably happening. There are even 25 case studies provided, not to mentions those not provided.
'Most people are not so violent and lacking in regard for human life that they would by psychologically capable of doing such a thing on purpose.' This would be a valid point... if we weren't talking about criminals. I think we can all agree that criminals do not have the same mind-set of what is right and what is wrong as the average American.
'Just because a former director of the State Department said it, it doesn't make it true.' Regardless, he is an expert of what he does. We must trust his opinions.
{Case Studies} 'As I said, situations such as these are entirely possible. However, they are obviously the exception rather than the rule'. These situations are not only possible, they are true. All 25 of them. And when we stop these criminals we are stopping deaths of the future victims, not only ones they have already killed.
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Pros Contention 3: Justice
Now, there are two points I would like to state in accordance with this contention.
a) My opponent didn't even touch the victim's justice and the justice the family of the victim is due.
b) Notice I do not say all murders are like this. I believe that even if we are able to save one life, we are doing a good deed. Banning capital punishment saves the lives of potential victims. This is justice.
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Cons Contention 1: Safety
a) In cases when a person is unstable enough to kill again, they are put in solitary confinement. This helps with the worry of inmates being harmed.
b) It is at the point in which society is unsafe where we must look at the safety debate. My opponent worries about the safety of inmates, whereas I look at the safety of innocents and the public at large.
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Cons Contention 2: Justice
a) A murderer should be punished in a way we know is going to work. We have no idea what life is like on the other side. But we do know what solitary confinement is like, what prison is like, and the effects thereof. We get justice for the criminal by forcing him to stay in jail.
b) You still do not look to the victims and the victims' families justice. I provide for this, and this is why I win the justice debate.
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Cons Contention 3: Cutting Expenses
a) As I said before, we know what prison is like. They may get food and shelter, but it is a horrifying experience, no matter who you are. Jail is made to keep criminals away from innocent people. This is something that is generally agreed upon. We must protect innocent people.
b) "They get free food, shelter, legal counsel, and medical care while the poor sleep on the street, starve, and die of disease." While this is true, the poor have an opportunity to better themselves through hard work and devotion. People in jail are stuck where they are. This is a huge difference. They may have food, but it isn't good. They may have shelter, but it is cramped. They may have legal counsel, but a lot of the time it is a lawyer working pro bono who doesn't care one way of another. And even the poor can get medical treatment of some sort.
c) Either way you look at this issue, it is obvious that the cost-benefit analysis shows innocent people staying alive (PRO) versus taxpayer's money (CON) that PRO wins every time.
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CONCLUSION!!!!
All in all, one thing is obvious; innocent human lives are always held at a higher standard than anything. When we jeopardize this with an anti-deterring punishment, we are pushing this standard down. This cannot be allowed to happen! Vote PRO!!!

Thanks
Maya9

Con

"Pro Contention 1: Safety
Basically what my opponent is attempting to refute is that there is not a correlation between death penalty states and non-death penalty states. This is false. Just because you have evidence that says there is a rise and fall of homicide rates that followed a similar pattern means nothing. It just means there were more in this year, less in that year, and so on, and so on. What my opponent obviously doesn't see is in point A when Van Wormer says 'the AVERAGE homicide rate in the twelve states prohibiting the death penalty is considerable lower than the AVERAGE homicide rate in the thirty-eight states where execution is legal. THE EFFECT IS INTERACTIVE.' This clearly states that violence causes violence. I'm afraid my opponent cannot argue with an expert of the field on this one."

Yet you still provide no evidence that the effect is interactive.

"Apparently my opponent does not understand credentials. My opponent is a college student, whereas my source is a Ph.D, has written numerous articles and books, and has been a professor... (http://www.uni.edu......) It's obvious who you should listen to. If Van Wormer says this is happening, it's probably happening. There are even 25 case studies provided, not to mentions those not provided."

Logically speaking, credentials mean nothing. Evidence is all that matters. The person who presents that evidence is insignificant.

"These situations are not only possible, they are true. All 25 of them. And when we stop these criminals we are stopping deaths of the future victims, not only ones they have already killed."

Twenty-five murderers do not constitute a majority. They constitute a very small minority.

"Now, there are two points I would like to state in accordance with this contention.
a) My opponent didn't even touch the victim's justice and the justice the family of the victim is due.
b) Notice I do not say all murders are like this. I believe that even if we are able to save one life, we are doing a good deed. Banning capital punishment saves the lives of potential victims. This is justice."

Justice is not relative from person to person. Justice is justice.

How the hell does banning capital punishment save the lives of potential victims? The ONLY way to guarantee that a murderer does not kill again is to execute him.

"a) As I said before, we know what prison is like. They may get food and shelter, but it is a horrifying experience, no matter who you are. Jail is made to keep criminals away from innocent people. This is something that is generally agreed upon. We must protect innocent people."

Actually, most of us don't know what prison is like. All you have is your assumptions. I have known people who have been in prison. The experience varies depending on the individual and the prison.

Prisons are made to protect the public, but escape is always possible. Prison could never do as good a job of protecting the public as simply eliminating the murderer.

"b) "They get free food, shelter, legal counsel, and medical care while the poor sleep on the street, starve, and die of disease." While this is true, the poor have an opportunity to better themselves through hard work and devotion. People in jail are stuck where they are. This is a huge difference. They may have food, but it isn't good. They may have shelter, but it is cramped. They may have legal counsel, but a lot of the time it is a lawyer working pro bono who doesn't care one way of another. And even the poor can get medical treatment of some sort."

That's still better than what most homeless people get.

Your contention that capital punishment causes more murder is ridiculous. You have no proof, and I have submitted evidence that demonstrates the opposite.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by kcougar52 8 years ago
kcougar52
Yes. Seriously.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
RE previous comment: ............Seriously?
Posted by kcougar52 8 years ago
kcougar52
Uhhh.... I wanted to make sure my opponent only has the alloted time to research against my case.
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
"This debate will start in round two!"

I demand an explanation.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by kcougar52 8 years ago
kcougar52
kcougar52Maya9Tied
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Total points awarded:70