Debate Rounds (4)
1. Acceptance, definitions, and topic chosen.
2. Main Arguments
4. Concluding Statements (no rebuttals, only presentation of more argument in response to rebuttals).
In this speech I will only be defining the debate.
Ban- legally forbid
Death Penalty- the punishment of execution, administered to someone legally convicted of a capital crime.
1. Death Penalty as an idea. When thinking of punishment, most can agree that justice demands for the punishment to fit the crime. The entire basis for argument in this debate is what people consider fit for certain crimes. Therefore, someone who steals pays for the stolen item or replaces it. Even a step further is emotional harm, remedied generally through the offender paying the victim in some form. Moving to the death penalty, it is used almost exclusively for those charged of murder to some degree, and when saying almost exclusively, I mean that two people were charged with the death penalty who did not commit murder (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...). As such, it must be determined, does the punishment fit the crime?
2. We must then move to look at cases of capital punishment in use. Almost all executions are carried out through lethal injection, the others a mix of others being electrocution, gas chamber, and shooting (http://www.deathpenaltyworldwide.org...). The argument used against these is that they are not humane and do not fit standards of how humans should be treated. Their is an inherent paradox in this, being that punishment in itself is not "humane", being defined as: "characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed"(http://dictionary.reference.com...). With this information, it can be concluded that no punishment is humane, regardless of it being harsh or not.
3. Moving back to whether a punishment fits the crime. Is a murderer justifiable to live among the human population when they have proven capable of ending a human life? The argument then is life in prison. Is this then fitting of the crime? A murder is not equal to imprisonment. Forget the psychological ramifications and just focus on the logical ones. A person who has killed and spent a bunch time in a big box with a bunch of other people who make similar mistakes, if not worse ones, will be sent out back into society or continue to leech off of it. The average inmate costs $31,286 to keep in a prison for one year(http://www.cheatsheet.com...), let alone a lifetime. The choice without death penalty becomes release these people on society where 68% of them will return to prison within three years with 29% of those returning because of a violent crime(http://www.crimeinamerica.net...) or pay opulent amounts of tax money that the average, law abiding citizen has to pay. Money, that in theory, is supposed to be used rehabilitating prisoners, not furnishing them until they die or get released to commit more crime.
4. We as a society understand the idea that if someone does something wrong, they are given a punishment that directly relates to the crime. When a child takes a cookie from a cookie jar, you don't tell him to apologize to his sister for taking their parent's cookies. When someone goes into debt, we make them pay it back through labor, garnishing wages, or the such, not sending them to prison to never pay their debt. Imprisonment is equal to imprisonment. Murder is equal to death penalty.
5. To conclude this, I want to make a point here. The death penalty is not used lightly and making it out to be something used 100% of the time is misleading. Here is a link to a fact sheet that tells how many people executed per year, their race, the race of the defendant, and so on (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...). The amount of those executed compared to the massive amounts of crimes committed is enormously small in comparison. The use of the death penalty is used in cases where it is found that the defendant committed a crime so horrible that the person deserved to pay with no less than their life.
I now give this to my opponent a day late (sorry). Good luck, and hopefully you need it (yeah I'm conceded).
My roadmap will include divulging 2 of my own points.
My first assertion is that the people put on death row have committed terrible crimes. What do people get on death row for? Not for small violations, but for felonies. These felonies can include murder, bombings or rape. Don't you believe that criminals should be responsible for their actions? According to Constitutional Lawyer and General Counsel to the Center for Law and Accountability, "The crimes of rape, torture, treason, kidnapping, murder, larceny, and perjury pivot on a moral code that escapes apodictic [indisputably true] proof by expert testimony or otherwise. But communities would plunge into anarchy if they could not act on moral assumptions less certain than that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. Abolitionists may contend that the death penalty is inherently immoral because governments should never take human life, no matter what the provocation. But that is an article of faith, not of fact. The death penalty honors human dignity by treating the defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own destiny for good or for ill; it does not treat him as an animal with no moral sense." The criminals should not be kept in the jails. They deserve to die, not live. Its a matter of fact that after these criminals murdered so many people, the US government should put then to death.
My second assertion is that people should get what they deserve. Once those men have committed a crime, they have done an unforgivable act. These men and women deserve to be punished by the government. Life in prison would not be enough. According to Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, "Society is justly ordered when each person receives what is due to him. Crime disturbs this just order, for the criminal takes from people their lives, peace, liberties, and worldly goods in order to give himself undeserved benefits. Deserved punishment protects society morally by restoring this just order, making the wrongdoer pay a price equivalent to the harm he has done. This is retribution, not to be confused with revenge, which is guided by a different motive. In retribution the spur is the virtue of indignation, which answers injury with injury for public good... Retribution is the primary purpose of just punishment as such... rehabilitation, protection, and deterrence have a lesser status in punishment than retribution."
My third assertion is that abolishing death penalty guarantees safety
For the last two years, debate about the relevance of the Kermit Gosnell case to wider political concerns has focused on the abortion issue. But with Gosnell now found guilty of murder, the possibility of his execution (now removed as the result of a deal struck with prosecutors) has pitted pro-lifers against one another in a debate over the death penalty.
First, Professor Robert George issued a plea for mercy. Ashley McGuire seconded this, arguing that pro-lifers "must stay focused on saving babies, not on killing their killers." Calling for Gosnell"s execution, McGuire argued, simply perpetuates the culture of death. John Zmirak then disagreed with both George and McGuire, arguing that sparing a murderer the death penalty "shows profound disrespect to his victims."
Given that all participants in the debate seem to be Catholic, it might be instructive to look at what the Catechism says about capital punishment:
Assuming that the guilty party"s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people"s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
I"d like to ruminate a little on what precisely the Catechism means when it says that authorities should limit themselves to non-lethal forms of punishment if these "are sufficient to defend and protect people"s safety."
Pro-life Catholics who oppose the death penalty generally take an extremely narrow view of what this means. Professor George, for example, has argued that "the state does not have the right to inflict capital punishment"no matter how grave the offense and no matter how clear the guilt of the accused"unless effective incarceration is impossible and execution is the only way to prevent this particular murderer from killing again."
But it is not clear that this is the only possible way of framing the question. The decision of whether to impose the death penalty is not simply at the discretion of a trial judge who is dealing with the case of "this particular murderer." Legislators will have already specified the offenses that may merit capital punishment, and will usually provide judges with further guidance such as identifying "aggravating factors" (for example, multiple killings) that invite a capital sentence. Whether the death penalty is imposed is conditioned to a large extent by the legislature. The role of the judge is simply to apply the law in a particular case. Even the Supreme Court"s decision in Gregg v. Georgia (1976) that ruled mandatory capital punishment as unconstitutional does not leave sentencing simply for judges to decide. The Court upheld sentencing guidelines for capital punishment in Georgia that were wholly pre-determined by the state legislature. It goes without saying that strict guidance from legislators is necessary to avoid arbitrary sentencing by judges; this guidance largely determines how the death penalty operates.
Lawmakers cannot deal with the question of whether to execute this murderer, but only of whether to execute murderers in general. In making a judgment as to whether the death penalty is necessary for the protection of public safety, legislators have to consider more than merely the question of whether "effective incarceration" is theoretically possible. The fact that it is possible not to execute killers doesn"t establish that that it is morally obligatory to do so, particularly when there are arguments to suggest that the overall result of abolishing capital punishment (rather than the result of merely commuting sentence in a particular case) would be to place public safety in jeopardy.
When Demetry Smirnov killed his ex-girlfriend in Illinois in 2011, prosecutors discovered that he had researched the law on the internet to discover if the state had the death penalty before going ahead with the killing. It is reasonable to assume that if Illinois had not just abolished it, she might be alive today.
It has also been pointed out that, where the death penalty is abolished and life sentences remain for rape, rapists may be more likely to kill their victims in order to prevent them testifying, since the sentence in either case will be identical. The only way to prevent the incentivization of murder is, therefore, to lower the sentences required for a range of other crimes. But these lower sentences simply make those lesser crimes more likely to be committed, and so on. Abolition has a cascade effect down through the criminal justice system that potentially places public welfare at risk.
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