The Instigator
izzyrose2004
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Petfish
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Death Penalty

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
Petfish
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/7/2016 Category: People
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 355 times Debate No: 86201
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (5)

 

izzyrose2004

Pro

I believe that the death penalty is a good idea. But only in extreme circumstances. If you're putting someone in jail for life, for murdering someone, they should pay with their own life. An eye for an eye, they say. And, if you're throwing them in jail until they rot, why waste taxes on them. The death penalty gives the family closure, that he or she is really out of their life forever.
Petfish

Con

Good evening.
While I firmly disagree with my opponent"s position, I also thank my opponent for initializing the debate.

I will be arguing that the death penalty should not be used, even in cases of homicide.

Argument 1: Our criminal justice system is flawed.

There are well-documented cases of innocent people on death row. This fact should really make us pause. Anthony Graves, an innocent man who spent almost 20 years in prison, says, "The death penalty is just not right, period, because... the one fact we all know for sure now is that we can get it wrong."[1]

The saddest cases are when the lives of innocent people are taken due to a hiccup in the courts. Cameron Todd Willingham, a man who was lethally injected in 2004, said before his execution, "The only statement I want to make is that I'm an innocent man- convicted of a crime I did not commit."[2] Later, evidence was revealed to show that Willingham was likely innocent. [3]

As horrific as this case is, we should remember that this is not the first nor last time innocent people were wrongfully killed. In fact, writer Pema Levy cites a study claiming that roughly 1 out of 25 people on death row in the US are innocent. [4] But even if this report is false, I still believe our system is still corrupt. The Jewish philosopher Maimonides said it best: "It is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death."[5]

Argument 2: The death penalty is more costly than life in prison.

Cases involving the death penalty have been known to cost much more than a non-death penalty court case. Michael Landauer points out that this is because, on general, (1) jury selection is a longer process and (2) death penalty trials are longer. [6]

It seems that each state can save money by abolishing the death penalty. A single case in Maryland, for instance, can cost up to three million dollars if the death penalty is sought. Maryland cases that do not call for a death penalty usually cost about one million dollars per case. [7] Dieter writes that "New Jersey, for example, laid off more than 500 police officers in 1991. At the same time, it was implementing a death penalty which would cost an estimated $16 million per year, more than enough to hire the same number of officers at a salary of $30,000 per year." [8]

Daryl K. Roberts, former Police Chief of Hartford, Connecticut, says, "It is just absurd that we would pull officers from the streets and at the same time spend millions of dollars to have a death penalty system that has not been proven to prevent crime." [9] If these facts are to be accepted, we must consider the costs. Not only are we sentencing people to death, we are paying for their execution. This money could easily be used for better things.

Argument 3: There are reasons in Judaism to reject the death penalty.

I have noticed that my opponent used a quotation from the Torah. I agree with my opponent that it is acceptable to use this book in our debates.

However, many Jews also accept the whole Hebrew Bible to be inspired. If this is not the case, and only the Torah is inspired, then it seems that every prophet was false! Rabbi Freeman argues that we need oral Jewish tradition to properly keep the commandments of the Torah. [10] It seems that the Torah is not necessarily the last divine revelation.

From this context, I believe we must consider what the entire Hebrew Bible has to say. Ezekiel, a man who claimed to be a prophet, wrote, "Say to them: "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?"[11]
G-d has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, according to the scriptures. Why, then, would we use the death penalty? Should we delight in the death of the wicked?

Jesus, a historical rabbi, says, "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."[12]

Jesus calls for us to have extraordinary compassion. Would he appreciate the death penalty? Rather, we read that Jesus, even when he knew he was going to die, said to his disciple, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword."[13] This was while Jesus was being handed over to his executioners, some of the people most worthy of death.

There seems to be some honor in the life of a pacifist. I encourage my opponent to consider the options. Should we not love mercy and grace? Must everything be blind justice?

Argument 4: Our current methods of execution seem to be inhumane.

If we are to use the death penalty, we must be ethical and humane. However, our current methods of execution seem to be inhumane.

The author of the article Anything But Humane writes, "In the USA, a number of lethal injection executions have been botched. Some executions have lasted between 20 minutes to over an hour and prisoners have been seen gasping for air, grimacing and convulsing during executions. Autopsies have shown severe, foot long chemical burns to the skin and needles have been found in soft tissue."[14]

There is a certain amount of respectability in being human. I believe it is inappropriate to resort to the barbaric methods that we know may cause unnecessary amounts of pain.

Here is an honest yet gruesome description of execution by electric chair.

"For execution by the electric chair, the person is usually shaved and strapped to a chair with belts that cross his chest, groin, legs, and arms"The prisoner is then blindfolded...
A jolt of between 500 and 2000 volts, which lasts for about 30 seconds, is given. The current surges and is then turned off, at which time the body is seen to relax. The doctors wait a few seconds for the body to cool down and then check to see if the inmate's heart is still beating.
If it is, another jolt is applied. This process continues until the prisoner is dead. The prisoner's hands often grip the chair and there may be violent movement of the limbs which can result in dislocation or fractures. The tissues swell. Defecation occurs. Steam or smoke rises and there is a smell of burning."[15]

I wouldn"t want this form of execution to be carried out on my worst enemy! I do believe this could be considered torture in its proper context.

For all these reasons, I must disagree with the resolution. I will hold my rebuttals until the second round.

Sources:
[1] https://youtu.be...
[2] http://camerontoddwillingham.com...
[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com...
[4] http://www.newsweek.com...
[5] https://books.google.com...
[6] http://deathpenaltyblog.dallasnews.com...
[7] http://www.urban.org...
[8] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[9] http://ejusa.org...
[10] http://www.chabad.org...
[11] https://www.blueletterbible.org...
[12] https://www.biblegateway.com...
[13] http://biblehub.com...
[14] http://www.amnestyusa.org...
[15] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
Debate Round No. 1
izzyrose2004

Pro

izzyrose2004 forfeited this round.
Petfish

Con

My opponent's entire argument is an unreferenced bare assertion, which is logically fallacious.[16] Therefore, the burden of proof is still on Pro to affirm the resolution.

Sources:

[16]http://www.toolkitforthinking.com...;
Debate Round No. 2
izzyrose2004

Pro

izzyrose2004 forfeited this round.
Petfish

Con

I would like to use this round to address one statement my opponent made.

"The death penalty gives the family closure, that he or she is really out of their life forever."

While this may be true in some circumstances, it certainly is not true in all cases.

"A poll in April found that only 15% of Boston residents said they wanted Tsarnaev to receive the death penalty."[17]

Based on this evidence, I assume that some people actually feel better when mercy is extended even to the worst criminals. Here is Donald Kraybill's testimony of what transpired after Charles Roberts shot several Amish students:

"I think the most powerful demonstration of the depth of Amish forgiveness was when members of the Amish community went to the killer's burial service at the cemetery... Several families, Amish families who had buried their own daughters just the day before were in attendance and they hugged the widow, and hugged other members of the killer's family."[18]

It certainly is very hard to forgive someone who commits terrible crimes, and might still be unrepentant. But I believe that sometimes, when we forgive, we help ourselves out.

Dr. Plante says, "It is really hard to forgive, whether it is forgiving yourself or others. We all could likely use some help learning to do it better. But what we may not be aware of is that learning to forgive is good for both our mental and physical health. Quality empirical research has shown that when we are better at forgiveness we experience lower stress, tension, levels of depression, anxiety, and perhaps most important, anger."[19]

So in conclusion, I believe that we have not heard any solid arguments to convince us that the death penalty is the right thing to do. Please vote!

Sources:

[17] http://www.cnn.com...
[18] http://www.npr.org...
[19]https://www.psychologytoday.com...
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by izzyrose2004 10 months ago
izzyrose2004
Well, yeah.Only in extreme circumstances, should it be done.
Posted by EverlastingMoment 10 months ago
EverlastingMoment
Pretty good topic to debate, however, might just be me, but considering plain 'murder' as an extreme circumstance to give the all go for the death penalty is a bit of a leap, don't you think? Especially if your broad view on murder encompasses acts like second degree murder, which is a lot less severe than acts of first degree murder or manslaughter.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by U.n 9 months ago
U.n
izzyrose2004PetfishTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: 2 turns forfeited by Pro; 0 turns forfeited by Con (conduct point to Con). No sources cited by Pro; multiple links cited by Con (reliable sources point to Con)
Vote Placed by tejretics 9 months ago
tejretics
izzyrose2004PetfishTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Full forfeit. Pro's retribution impacts are bare assertions. The costs impact is outweighed by Con's A2. Con wins sources because Pro doesn't back up any of their assertions -- especially their costs point which was their strongest argument -- with sources. Con's arguments are well-researched and justified extensively with references.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 9 months ago
dsjpk5
izzyrose2004PetfishTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff many times, so conduct to Con.
Vote Placed by Unbelievable.Time 9 months ago
Unbelievable.Time
izzyrose2004PetfishTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by Hayd 9 months ago
Hayd
izzyrose2004PetfishTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Full forfeit from pro, conduct to Con.