The Instigator
Con (against)
3 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Death Penalty Should Be Abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/1/2015 Category: News
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 423 times Debate No: 83312
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Hello, I am Forever 23 and I will be debating that the death penalty is beneficial.

I will do my refutations in round 2, but now, I will introduce my own points:

So without further ado:

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. One only needs to look across the Atlantic at Britain, which, within a few decades of abolishing capital punishment, has gone from having one of the most rigorous sentencing systems in the West to one of the most lenient, leading to frequent and widely-supported calls among the general public for the reintroduction of hanging.
Even when abolition is accompanied with mandatory life sentencing for killers, there is no guarantee that future legislators, judges, state governors, and prison officials will honor this. In 1966 Kenneth McDuff was sentenced to death for the killing of two teenage boys and the brutal rape and murder of their female companion. When the Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia (1972), his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Under pressure of serious overcrowding in Texas prisons, he was released in 1989. Within three days he had killed again, and over the next three years would go on to kill at least five more women before finally being apprehended. Countless other examples can be cited of killers who have been released or escaped and have gone on to kill again, or who have killed again in prison. Whether or not the death penalty is required as a matter of strict retributive justice, it is morally repugnant for the state to privilege the safety of a violent criminal over the safety of an entire population.

It often happens that those who spend their lives fighting for a particular cause can"particularly when it is as crucial as the pro-life cause"become blinded to other values which are of equal or greater importance. Fighting to ensure due respect for the sanctity of life should not lead us to canonize human life as the ultimate moral value, as if the final destiny of the human person was simply to go on existing without reference to any further end or purpose. Even when considered in purely this-worldly terms, social order is clearly a higher good than human life. Without social order a genuinely human life is impossible, since humans are by nature social animals.

Thank you, vote con.


1. The death penalty prevents future murders.

Society has always used punishment to discourage would-be criminals from unlawful action. Since society has the highest interest in preventing murder, it should use the strongest punishment available to deter murder, and that is the death penalty. If murderers are sentenced to death and executed, potential murderers will think twice before killing for fear of losing their own life. 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.Finally, the death penalty certainly "deters" the murderer who is executed. Strictly speaking, this is a form of incapacitation, similar to the way a robber put in prison is prevented from robbing on the streets. Vicious murderers must be killed to prevent them from murdering again.
There are many things in this society which should be banned, but the death penalty is not one of them. It is definitely the right way to go as far as capital discipline is concerned. Right now in our country, I find it outrageous that criminals think that they can get away with just about anything. In some states, including Alabama, the death penalty has helped them lower the rate of violent crimes. We need some form of capital punishment to send a message to career criminals that they will not get away with these severe crimes.

The death penalty would also make people more secure. In some countries of South America and the Far East, they have very severe penalties, including flogging, for even minor crimes. People in some areas of our nation feel they cannot walk around or step outside their houses for fear of criminals. In other countries, however, you would rarely see laws being broken because the penalties are so stern. The United States is one of the most lenient countries in the world as far as discipline. If we had the death penalty, all people would be able to use the streets even in troubled areas.

Another reason we should use this is to set an example to all criminals. Some criminals who have committed many violent crimes (robbery, rape, and murder) are walking the streets like normal citizens because we are much too lenient on them. If the death penalty is instituted, there would not be as many daring and violent crimes as there are presently. Our present laws are much too "soft" on criminals. We need to get stricter.
In closing, I would like to add that this law would make a major difference. It would make our streets safer, people more secure, and make a better world to live in. The death penalty is a definite plus for our society as a whole.
Debate Round No. 1


Forever23 forfeited this round.


chivasnumber1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Forever23 forfeited this round.


chivasnumber1 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by whiteflame 10 months ago
>Reported vote: Vane01// Mod action: Removed<

5 points to Con (Arguments, Source). Reasons for voting decision: Since there were absolutely no refutations, I voted con. She had more points and that's what it went to. Overall, no evidence by pro which swayed the reliable sources criteria.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter insufficiently justifies arguments points. The voter needs to assess specific arguments made by both sides, and not merely state that one side's arguments were not refuted. (2) The voter insufficiently explains sources. One side not providing sources while the other does is not a valid criterion for allocating sources " the voter has to explain why Con's sources contributed substantively to the debate.
Posted by obliviousmassacre 10 months ago
chivasnumber 1: You have accepted to argue that the death penalty SHOULD be abolished, but you are arguing that it shouldn't. Make sure to fix that.

Forever23: From what I've seen, people get very confused when the person who starts the debate argues from a Con perspective and we usually end up with two people arguing the same point, like what has happened here. I would suggest always arguing Pro when starting a debate. For instance, this debate should have been labeled, "Death Penalty Should Not Be Abolished," and then you would argue from that standpoint. Just a suggestion.
Posted by Wylted 10 months ago
WTF? You still haven't learned how to not plagiarize?
Posted by dsjpk5 10 months ago
You're still plagiarizing. Where are the quotation marks?
Posted by Codename_X 10 months ago
thought you were pro, so I was going to accept. But, you are con, and I do not wish to argue against the death penalty.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Vane01 10 months ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The topic here was that the death penalty should be abolished. chivasnumber was pro, saying that it should be abolished. forever was con, saying that we should keep it. Her arguments were that the death row is a valid punishment, that people should get what they deserve and that it ensures security. The pro stated that criminals will second guess themselves, make society more secure and that it will set an example to criminals. The thing is however, that pro was arguing to abolish the death penalty. His arguments however, were about how we should keep the death penalty. That in considered concession. So obviously, con won.