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Capital punishment has a place in modern society

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,113 times Debate No: 27579
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Capital punishment has no place in modern society.
For example, take this situation -
An American man in the UK is falsely accused of murder and recieves the death penalty. It is found that he was innocent.

Now, America is the UK's largest importer and exporter. If conflict occured between the two countries and the US stopped trading with the UK, the latter would be royally screwed.

There are no methods of 100% certaintly in finding out the guilt of the alleged criminal.


I accept this debate and look forward to it being a good one!
As the pro side, I will attempt to refute my opponent's arguments and prove why capital punishment does have a place in modern society.

Now, without further ado, I shall begin with the refutation of my opponent's argumentation, followed by my own arguments.

My opponent's round 1 arguments were based on an example of an American man committing a crime in the UK and being sentenced to death, which causes a conflict between the two countries.
This example is extremely far-fetched and inapplicable. To begin with, to simply suppose such a chain of events will occur in something as complex as the judicial system is irrational; not to mention international affairs and trade.
Even if we do suppose the system had failed and wrongly sentenced a man (even though that, as well, is far-fetched to suppose, especially since more care will be given to a case involving a foreign citizen), I sincerely doubt both countries would risk halting trade and transactions between each other, especially in the economical situation the world now finds itself in. International relations are a priority for both countries and are much more complex than my opponent seems to think they are - of course countries would try to protect their citizens, but international affairs take priority. To suppose a chain of events such as the one described my opponent will occur, one must offer very convincing points and evidence to support that claim, which my opponent failed to do, thus leaving this already streched example hanging in mid-air with no logical basis to support it.

The final remark made by my opponent was that there are no methods that can determine whether or not a person is definitely guilty; and that is true. There are no such methods. However, the judicial system serves and is modeled to get close as possible to a solution and appropriate sentence. The problem that persists is which sentence is appopriate for what crime; and can capital punishment be considered appropriate for some crimes. That is what I will be dealing with in my argumentation.

To understand why capital punishment is appropriate, one must first understand the role of the judicial system and how it came to be in the first place, so I shall now delve deeper into that subject.
As the first societies were formed, one of the needs they found extremely important was a need for certain rules and a system to enforce them, and that need persists even today - the only difference is that the judicial system has, of course, vastly improved over many centuries and can safely be considered much more adept at passing judgment than it was in ages past.
Its role is, to put it simply, issuing a sentence appropriate to a certain crime. The judicial system basically represents society saying: "You did this, and it's against the rules of our society, so we will punish you". A most simple definition, but it has remained true throughout history. And the worse the crime, the worse the punishment - this is what brings us to the question regarding capital punishment.

After this small, hopefully most clarifiying introduction, I shall approach the problem of capital punishment directly.
I believe this problem can be divided into two spheres; two points to be discussed that shall be pivotal to this debate:

a) the appropriacy of capital punishment and whether it is justified
b) the contribution of capital punishment to the judicial system, and by extension, society

The appropriacy of capital punishment and whether it is justified

This point will deal with capital punishment on an individual level, that is, whether it is justified to take one's life for the greater good and which of these two values weighs more when placed upon the scale.
As I've already explained, the role of the judicial system is to issue a sentence appropriate to the crime.

Explained simply, these three points represent the logic upon which the judicial system is based [1]:

  • all guilty people deserve to be punished
  • only guilty people deserve to be punished
  • guilty people deserve to be punished in proportion to the severity of their crime

After establishing these three points, one must ask himself: "How far can we take punishment?". The answer is: "As far as necessary." The punishment must be issued according to the atrocity of the crime. A cold-blooded killing spree, a remorseless slaughter; we've seen many such horrible crimes committed. And the crime rate is rising every day.

This graph shows, for example, the incredibly high rise in crime rate in England and Wales [2]

We must consider a new solution, that much is obvious. Capital punishment is a way for society to say: "Yes, you are a member of society, and we respect you as a human. But you lost your humanity, you destroyed lives and respect can only go as far." When society manages to set such a rule, it will have started building the road towards reducing crime rates. The priority is to set rules and boundaries within a certain society, and that can only happen if we are equally harsh towards criminals as we are benevolent towards respectful citizens. Society and its integrity take priority ahead of the life of a man who most likely destroyed more that one. Put on a scale, we took one life to repay more, and defend the integrity of countless. I believe that is reason enough.

The contribution of capital punishment to the judicial system, and by extension, society

After discussing the problem an individual level, I shall now describe how capital punishment benefits the judicial system.
Another role of the system, besides issuing individual punishment, is instilling respect and fear in others. Sending a message to people that they will pay dearly for crossing onto the "dark side" is important. The message we want to send is simple: respect society and its citizens; and society will protect and respect you. Fail to do so, you shall pay the same way you hurt the members of our society. It might seem cruel, but it is necessary in order for society to exist.

There is another problem, and it is of an economical nature. The harshest punishment most countires issue is a life sentence: but is that truly an appropriate punishment. Is giving a criminal who commited atrocities housing (regardless of its quality), food, water etc. for the rest of his life at the expense of taxpayers truly appropriate? Yes, those people may not be happy in prison. But when weighed, such a punishment does not rehabilitate a criminal, does not offer a certain repayment as opposed to the crime commited, and places a burden on the state budget and the house budget of the taxpayers.
By extension, the judicial system fails to achieve its goals.

Not only shall capital punishment relieve this burden, it shall show society has zero tolerance for such criminals and it has nothing to offer them. Yes, human life is priceless. But how else to show that value than by taking such a precious thing from one who took it from many others? How else than by making an example in the most explicit possible way?
No solution can be offered except capital punishment.

Let us consider all this. Let us weigh it upon the scale. What is more important, what takes priority. Not only is it self-evident; it has also been proved throughout my rebuttal. Capital punishment is indeed appropriate.


Debate Round No. 1


BillHarpum forfeited this round.


Since my opponent forfeitet this round I can but extend my arguments therein.
Debate Round No. 2


BillHarpum forfeited this round.


I once again extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
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