The Instigator
CiRrO
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
31 Points

Resolved: The Death Penalty is a just punishment for convicted murderers/killers.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/19/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,352 times Debate No: 4735
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (31)
Votes (11)

 

CiRrO

Pro

I affirm: The Death Penalty is a just punishment for convicted murderers/killers.

[Definitions]

Death Penalty: execution; putting a condemned person to death.

Just: in accordance with justice, i.e. giving each their due.

Punishment:

1. the practice of imposing something unpleasant or aversive in response to an unwanted or disobedient behavior.
2. The act of punishing; penalty for wrongdoing, especially for crime.

Convicted: declared guilty of a crime in a court of law.

Affirmative Burden: To prove that the death penalty is a JUST form of punishment. I.e. prove that the idea of the death penalty gives each person their due.

Negative Burden: Same thing.

*I will let my opponent present his/her arguments first, since he/her is the guest.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
Danielle

Con

INTRODUCTION

The resolution maintains that the death penalty is a just punishment for convicted murderers and killers specifically. That is to say that those in favor of the death penalty typically justify the extreme taking of one's life because the one convicted has also taken the life of another. It is 'an eye for an eye' case here, but that mentality doesn't stand.

1. HYPOCRISY

If taking the life of another is deemed the most offensive crime (and the only crime that currently warrants the death penalty as a consequence in the United States), then wouldn't those in favor of the death penalty be committing the same crime? Taking the life of another? The 'eye for an eye' mentality is flawed, at least in our legal system...

For instance, if I chop off someone's finger, I will be punished under the law. I will probably have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to the victim via a lawsuit, as well as be charged with jail time which seeks to both punish me and keep other innocent citizens safe from my finger cutting ways. However the victim in this case will not be able to chop one of my finger's off as payback or retribution; that would be considered cruel and unusual by the law. But in some states, the law would not deem it cruel or unusual to inject someone with substances that will end their life. So, let me get this straight. It's more cruel to cut off a finger than to end one's life. But cutting off another's finger doesn't warrant the death penalty...? This backwards logic is certainly flawed, to say the least.

2. RIGHT TO LIFE

On that note, the death penalty is often supported by religious individuals who feel that God is the only entity who has the 'right' to take away the life of a human being. In that case, what gives anyone the right to take away another's life, even if that person has committed the same crime? Isn't this the same God who preached about tolerance, forgiveness, compassion and pity? This 'eye for an eye' concept breaches the Christian doctrine that so many Pro-Life (ironically enough)/Pro-Christian politicians who support the death penalty proclaim. In addition to falling under the category of hypocrisy, it also brings up moral and spiritual questions regarding forgiveness instead of revenge.

3. COST

Not all of those in favor of the DP have moral reasoning in mind. For some, it's a matter of cost. One would assume that killing someone instead of paying for their life in prison would be cheaper, when in fact, it is the opposite -- calling upon the death penalty is more expensive than allowing someone to live the remainder of their lives secluded in prison. One could argue that this is a result of the current legal system in terms of appeal after appeal, etc. However to disregard the right for appeals in our legal system would a) be a violation of our rights, and b) could cause innocent, though convicted murderers to be condemned to death. So onto my next point...

4. MISTAKES

Throughout history (even recently) people have been convicted of crimes that they did not commit. If a person is unjustly incarcerated - even for many years - and is eventually set free, that is a great victory for justice and morality. Consider Nelson Mandela who was in prison for 2 dozen years. He was released and went on to serve as President of a nation, and will forever live in infamy for the good he has done. If Mandela were killed instead of jailed, his legacy would have never been able to be lived out. Granted Nelson Mandela didn't KILL anyone, but then again, in this example I am also talking about an innocent person who was convicted and also didn't kill anyone.

5. CORRUPTION

In addition to racial and other types of discrimination that have been noted, it also must be presented that the DP can be a tool for corrupt law officials who wish to legally end the life of another for ulterior motives.

6. DETERRENT

We've seen over and over again that the death penalty does NOT deter crime. People kill others for several reasons. One: in a fit of passion. The death penalty cannot deter a crime of passion. Two: Mental illness (including homicidal maniacs or serial killers). They are dangerous and unfortunate souls who should not be allowed to menace society, this is true... but whether killing others is legal or not is not going to stop them. And the third reason: they have something to gain. However the DP doesn't deter this way of thinking either, as most people are blinded by acquisition and believe that they will get away with it.

Further, with the exception of Michigan, the top 20 states for which homicides occur (per 100,000 people) HAVE ALL LEGALIZED THE DEATH PENALTY. That means 19 out of the top 20 states with the MOST MURDER have legalized the DP. Meanwhile, consider this: there are 13 states without legalized capital punishment. Eight of those 13 states fall within the BOTTOM 20 regarding homicide. The rest fall somewhere in the middle. This is just one example of proof that the DP does not deter crime. [1]

7. POPULAR OPINION

Studies show that most people DO NOT favor the death penalty when "life without parole" is offered as an alternative option. A Field Institute Survey in CA - a state with legalized capital punishment - showed that 82% of people approved of the death penalty... until life without parole was offered along side the DP, in which case approval for the DP dropped to 26 percent. And after all, shouldn't the values of American citizens be considered when determining which laws to enact?

8. VALUE OF LIFE

Person A: 50 year old male. Thief. Drug dealer. Drug user. HIV positive.
Person B: 25 year old male. Upstanding citizen; beloved in the community.

Say Person B killed Person A, because Person A raped Person B's little sister. To some, Person B may have been justified, assuming Person A caused Person B's sister A LOT of emotional and physical damage. They may not feel that Person B - an otherwise amazing individual - deserves to die; they might even find his actions justified. Others may keep in mind that Person B could possibly be innocent. Plus, Person B was extremely popular and incredibly pious + generous; surely given another chance he would repent and go back to his good ways. Why should he die for taking the life of a sick, dangerous man who is twice his age and has caused others nothing but harm? If your answer is that it doesn't matter - a life is a life - then you should agree with me that NO LIFE SHOULD BE TAKEN (if we can avoid it).

CONCLUSION

There is absolutely no reason why the death penalty should be condoned. If it does not deter crime, is not cost effective, and of extremely questionable morals, than it should not be permissible by the United States government. Furthermore, the facts point to the fact that revenge is the ONLY way to make capital punishment a "just" option, meaning that my opponent will have to prove why revenge should be the sole principal for which we base our laws.

Now I'm not big on quotes, but I feel this is a good way to end a round ~ "The Italian jurist Cesare Beccaria, in his highly influential treatise On Crimes and Punishments , asserted, 'The death penalty cannot be useful, because of the example of barbarity it gives men.' True, and even if the death penalty were a 'useful' deterrent, it would still be an example of barbarity. No society can safely entrust the enforcement of its laws to torture, brutality, or killing. Such methods are inherently cruel and will always mock the attempt to cloak them in justice. As Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg wrote, 'The deliberate institutionalized taking of human life by the state is the greatest conceivable degradation to the dignity of the human personality.'" [2]

SOURCES

[1] http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org...
[2] http://users.rcn.com...
Debate Round No. 1
CiRrO

Pro

Introduction

"The resolution maintains that the death penalty is a just punishment for convicted murderers and killers specifically. That is to say that those in favor of the death penalty typically justify the extreme taking of one's life because the one convicted has also taken the life of another. It is 'an eye for an eye' case here, but that mentality doesn't stand."

My Response: No, the affirmative does not stand behind the phrase: "An eye for an eye." That is legal equivalence. The affirmative upholds legal proportionality and proportionate equality. However, in the argument of killing. Killing can only be punished with an equal punishment to it, since nothing else matches. Killing is the worst crime/act possible. Thus, the worse punishment is necessary. Killing violates every right of the victim. Therefore, the government must do the same to the criminal because if they do not, then they have violated the human worth of the victim. Essentially the criminal deserves more rights and more worth then the victim.

Contention 1: Hypocrisy

My Response: First off, the government is not an individual and thus should not be held to all the same moral standards. As I have brought up before, killing is the only crime that warrants the same action. No punishment is great enough to: A) Punish and B) Hold equality between victim and criminal. Your finger example. No, it does not warrant the exact action. Why? Because no other rights have been violated. Paying the victim is enough because it hurts your monetarily, will pay for the medical bills of the victim, and show that there is still equal worth between victim and criminal. I.e. the loss of one finger for the loss of a great amount of money.

You then bring up cruelty. 8th Amendment: No cruel and unusual punishment. The philosopher behind this was Beccaria. He is known for the statement: "The punishment must fit the crime." According to Beccaria, a punishment is only cruel, not based on the action, but based on how much the punishment exceeds the crime. Example, giving the death penalty for someone who robbed. A crime is only cruel, if the punishment exceeds and is unwarranted for that crime. Your idea of cruelty of punishment with the idea of cutting one's finger off is more cruel then the death penalty. This is flawed for it wasn't the idea psoed by Beccaria and the 8th Amendment. Interestingly however. Beccaria was against the death penalty. But not for the justice it brings, but rather possible negative effects on society. However, remember we are talking about the justice of it. You are looking at the action rather then the proportionality of crime and punishment.

2. RIGHT TO LIFE

You bring up religious individuals who believe that only God can take away life. First, according to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine (probably 2 of the greatest church fathers/doctors in the Church), the Death Penalty is very warranted by the government. According to them, the crime of killing is so horrible, that only God can truly punish that action. Thus the government must kill them to send them to hell. Also, most Protestants and Muslims are supporters of the death penalty. However, I believe religion should not be a major factor, since religion can been seen as subjective.

But, let's look more on this right to life issue. The right to life, explained by Locke is an inalienable right. Inalienable is sometimes defined wrong. It doesn't mean "cannot be taken away." It means that we are born with it. It is not an external right given by the government. Like freedom of press. Locke believed that the right to life can be forfeited if someone kills. Since they killed, they have lost their own right to life.

3. COST

I concede this point. The death penalty is indeed more expensive. However, I do not believe this is an issue to negate the resolution. We are specifically talking about what is just. According to Rawls, justice is based on an individual scale. I.e. between the victim and the criminal. Achieving justice should be seen as a greater priority then the established cost. Should the US government let go of it's social programs for the poor so it could save money? Justice must be seen greater then the implications of it. I.e. the cost.

4. MISTAKES

Fair point. An innocent being killed. However, there are no examples that people have been PROVEN to be innocent after they are killed. Except a reasonable doubt situation. however that doesn't mean they were innocent. However more importantly. The checks in the system are so great that people do get out before they receive the death penalty. A lot of these people were innocent, but were let go because the checks found them. Also, should the US government base its policies off of possible accidents/mistakes? Ex: Should the US government ban the use of cars because innocents could be killed by them. No. Reasons: A) There are checks in the system to help avoid mistakes. B) Cars help society. The good brought by cars are greater then the bad produced. I.e. deaths. Society must make choices. Should society let go of the Death Penalty and forfeit the justice brought from it? That is essentially degrading one major obligation of the government and the justice department. I.e. achieve justice.

5. CORRUPTION

I would hold this as a valid point. However, your assertion is unwarranted. You are really just making a statement. If you can provide adequate examples, then I will let it stand for this round, then I will attack again.

6. DETERRENT

Proving and disproving deterrence is rather difficult. Stats contradict stats. Examples: the UK has less crimes then the US and they have banned the Death Penalty. However, Singapore who holds the most frequent executions has the lowest crime rate. Also, Texas who holds the most executions in the US has had the greatest decrease of killings since the reinstatement in 1976. Essentially, nothing is gained or lost by debating deterrence. However, from a logical standpoint. the Death penalty SHOULD deter since from its very nature is a horrible fate if you get caught.

7. POPULAR OPINION

He says that popular opinion is against the Death Penalty. According to politico.com it's split 50% against 50%. However, I believe that yes, public opinion is important. But, the majority is not always RIGHT in what they say. Take slavery for instance. At one point in American History, slavery was seen as fine by the majority. THAT DIDN'T MAKE IT JUST OR RIGHT.

8. VALUE OF LIFE

My opponent brings up a very interesting argument. However, my answer is simple. When a person has violated the right to life of someone else, then they too lose their right to life. Period. the Value of Life must be seen as equal between all people. Thus the government cannot bias against the victim and value the life of the criminal as more worthy then that of the victim. The Value of life must be equal. when one kills another innocent, then they must have the equal value of life. Which, according to them, is meaningless, because they killed another person.

My Case:

I. Kant's Scale of Justice Argument

According to Kant, when one kills another person, then they themselves have sentenced themselves to death. The criminal has universalized the action of death and has tipped the scale of justice. Thus the government must give the criminal what he/she has universalized, i.e. death, and put the scale back into balance. The equality between victim and criminal must also be realized. The government must put equal worth between the victim and the criminal. Therefore, to maintain the balance, the government has an obligation to kill the criminal. Only then, has the scale of justice been balanced.
Danielle

Con

1. HYPOCRISY

The govt should not be held to the same moral standards as individuals...? What standards, exactly, should the government live up to then? Pro also said that "killing is the only crime that warrants the same action." However that is a mere (flawed) opinion - no logical evidence was provided to back that up. A debate is more than clashing views; you're supposed to be convincing of your argument... simply stating your view of what you think is just does not cut it.

What if I deem the value of my finger far greater than any monetary value that could be paid to me with cash? Pro said, "No, it does not warrant the exact action. Why? Because no other rights have been violated." Oh really? What about my right to play the piano? What about my right to have all of the fingers that I was born with? What about my right to not feel mutilated every day for the rest of my life? There are a lot of rights that are taken away from someone who has their finger cut off. Further, by killing someone, you are taking away their rights, yes... but this includes the 'right' (or rather the ability) to do bad things too.

I also find Pro's next justification incredibly hypocritical/humorous. He mentioned, "According to Beccaria, a punishment is only cruel, not based on the action, but based on how much the punishment exceeds the crime." He then went on to say, "Your idea of cruelty of punishment with the idea of cutting one's finger off is more cruel then the death penalty. This is flawed for it wasn't the idea psoed by Beccaria and the 8th Amendment." Okay... so if Beccaria's idea was that the punishment must fit the crime (and not exceed it), how is cutting off someone's finger exceeding the crime if his crime was cutting off your finger first? It's the same punishment - nothing has been exceeded. It's also the same logic that Pro applied to the death penalty - you took a life, so yours must be taken. Similarly, you took a finger, so yours must be taken. There is no unusual cruelty here, yet the government does not apply the same standard of punishment except when it comes to death.

Oh. And Beccaria also said "The death penalty cannot be useful, because of the example of barbarity it gives men."

2. RIGHT TO LIFE

First off, if only God is capable of punishing one who has killed another, then what gives us the right to take someone elses life? We are not God. Shouldn't we let God's will be done, and let Him deal with judgment upon the accused/convicted according to HIS plan? God did not hire us to facilitate the process of judgment. But anyway, like Pro said - religion is too subjective and should not be a factor in this debate. We don't want to get into all of the hypocrisies and inconsistencies of Christian doctrine, now do we?

Let's move on to Pro's definition of inalienable. He said, "It doesn't mean 'cannot be taken away.' It means that we are born with it." Actually, it DOES mean that it can't be taken away. In fact the actual definition reads: not subject to forfeiture; "an unforfeitable right" [1]. Regardless, again Pro failed to prove why one must literally forfeit their life if they are convicted of killing another. Isn't the giving up of all other liberties - including freedom - via the sentence of life in prison enough? For this criterion, Pro must explain why the 'government' has the right to condemn a person to death. Saying "since they killed, they have lost their own right to life" is not enough, because I can just turn around and say I disagree. Nothing has been proven or disproven here, thus this point must be given equally to both of us, at the very least.

3. COST

My opponent feels that the increased cost of legalizing the death penalty has no value. I disagree. You are imposing an unnecessary expense upon tax payers; by sentencing the convicted to life in prison, citizens would still be protected from the defendant's behavior... for less of our hard-earned money. How is it just to use my money to kill someone for a crime they may or may not have committed?

4. MISTAKES

"However, there are no examples that people have been PROVEN to be innocent after they are killed." Ahh, my opponent is wrong yet again. In 1976, Jesse Tafero was sentenced to death based primarily on the testimony of Walter Rhodes and was executed. Later, Rhodes admitted that he had lied under oath, and took full responsibility for the crime that Tafero was said to have committed. There's one.

In the trial of Wayne Felker, his case was reopened in 2000 after his 1996 execution -- some lawyers used DNA testing to PROVE Wayne's innocence. At the very least, Felker's case would have been postponed or the charges would have been severely lower had the DNA evidence been brought into play sooner. This is just another of many tragic examples in which innocence was established post-execution. Therefore, this point has to go to me, as there is no way my opponent can deny the truths regarding these cases.

For sh1ts and gigles, let's entertain my opponent's questioning regarding justice. He offers an example likening the death penalty to cars (uhm, okay). And my answer to that is simple: those two things cannot be equated, obviously. Why? Pro acknowledges the good that comes from having cars be legal. However there is no 'good' that comes from sentencing one to death. At BEST, the only good that is done is removing a potential threat from society. However that same result can be achieved by locking someone up in prison. Here my opponent makes the claim that justice can ONLY be achieved if the convicted life is taken via execution. But because I may disagree with my opponent's perception of justice, I offer a new contention:

9. PUNISHMENT

Say John Doe brutally raped and murdered a young girl. How is giving him a final decent meal, followed by a mere injection any type of justice? Assuming that he will pay for his sins in the after-life is a fallacy -- my opponent has already established that religion cannot be a factor in this debate, and after all, there is no PROOF of an after-life or even Heaven & Hell. Why should I leave JUSTICE up to chance? In my reasoning, I can repay John Doe for his crime HERE ON EARTH by locking him up in (pretty bad) jail conditions for the rest of his life, where he can suffer from his own guilt/boredom/etc. Then if there IS an after-life, God can deal with him there as well. But if there's not, at least SOME kind of definite justice has been carried out. With this point, there is no possible way my opponent can win the justice argument (if we are establishing retribution for the crime a necessary part of justice, which we have). And if he's lost the justice argument, he's lost it all.

5. CORRUPTION

Most of my opponent's points have been mere statements regarding his opinion. With this example, I am bringing to light actual possibilities regarding the corruption of law officials. This is not my POV, but rather true-life occurences that happen every day in our judicial system. If Pro actually wishes to debate me on whether or not corruption in the legal system exists, very well (I wish him luck). And my point here is that since corruption DOES exist, we must assume that it would also exist to take someone's life. And since that's the ULTIMATE crime...

6. DETERRENT

Pro didn't address my reasoning as to why the DP cannot be a deterrent (i.e. mental illness, crimes of passion, etc). More on this after his rebuttal.

7. POPULAR OPINION

Pro's stats don't hold weight against mine; he hasn't provided a source (and I couldn't find it to be true).

8. VALUE OF LIFE

Pro's entire argument for this point can be refuted by my rebuttal to Point 1. Also, I'll argue against this further in the next round.

* PRO'S CONTENTION

Flawed. Why is death the only thing that can be universalized? Apply this (again) to points 1 & 8.

SOURCES:
[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 2
CiRrO

Pro

Contention 1

My opponent says that I'm only being opinionated when I said my attack. However, I can say the same about her. My opponent never warrants why killing shouldn't warrant the same action. She then restates the finger analogy. My argument was that killing violates all rights, since your not living anymore. Thus, the only way to proportion that out to the criminal is the receive the death penalty. That's why killing is the only crime that warrants the exact action. She then goes on to say well what about the right to play the piano? The examples she given can be fixed by money from the criminal. There are many surgeries to get a new finger. Compensation is with possible time in jail is punishment enough for cutting off a finger.

Contention 2

My opponent keeps on making the assertion that only God can take away the right to life. Not once have I mentioned this, because I don't believe it. (I also don't believe my opponent believes that). That is a very subjective statement. Essentially, we do not know the mind of God (if he exists).

My opponent makes a definition error on inalienable. It does and does not mean not subject to forfeit. Explanation: According to Locke these rights in their natural state could not be forfeited. However, when the natural state was broken, i.e. when a crime has been committed, then the right becomes an alienable right. However, let's go further. THe term inalienable can br broken down. in (not)+ alienable (foreign) = inalienable. A not foreign right is a right not given by the government. You are born with it. This doesn't mean it cannot be taken away. For according to Locke a crime is unnatural, making the doer of the crime in an unnatural state.

My opponent then wants me to answer this question: "why the 'government' has the right to condemn a person to death?" First off, the government as an institution set up by the people is a legitimate institution. It is also guided under the social contract between people and state. By this contract, the government has the power to take away the rights of its citizens that commit crimes against other innocent members. The government has the right to punish. The government punishes for two reasons: (1) from the retributive side, criminals deserve punishment, and, (2) from the utilitarian side, punishment is needed to protect our society by deterring crime through example. Locke explains that #1 is more important, and that #2 can either come or not. Essentially, first the government must punish to set justice in society. Then after this, punishment can protect society even more, thus holding up a part of the Social Contract. Now let's move to the right to condemn someone to death. The government has this right because from killing this is what the person deserves. Why the exact punishment only in the case of murder? Locke explains that killing violates all rights; all rights spring from the right to life. Thus when a killer kills EVERY right is violated, thus the government has the obligation to keep the rights violated between victim and criminal the same. Therefore, the death penalty is the only way to keep the rights equal. So, from this, the government ahs the right to take someones life away.

Contention 3

Cost is important yes. However to uphold something greater then the cost really shouldn't matter. Yes, the death penalty is more expensive. However, a lot of things that are important come with a cost. Helping clean the environment is very costly, yet it is for something greater then money. As a side note, keeping someone in jail for life is also costly. Everything comes with a cost. If cost was utmost, then all punishments would be halted, all social programs disbanded. Cost should come secondary to principles that are greater, in this case, upholding justice within society. According to Rawls, society is nothing without a fundamental principle of justice behind it.

Contention 4

I researched both those cases and this is what i found out:

Jesse Tafero: The case is undecided because testimony is contradictory. He is neither presumed innocent yet, or guilty.

Wayne Felker: Not enough evidence proves his innocence or guilt. This is a case of presumed innocence since not enough information proves him guilty. The key word is presumed, so he could still be guilty.

My opponent then questioned my "justice". He says that no good can come from the death penalty. I have 3 response:

A) Justice is not always "good". Justice is fairness and giving each their due.
B) Good can be achieved if society is fair in what it does. When someone kills another person, then that person must take full culpability. I believe a society is "good" if it makes people take what they deserve.
C) Consequential good can come from the death penalty. E.g. Incapacitation and deterrence.

My opponent then says that life in prison is good enough. I beg to differ. A criminal in jail an still love, enjoy life, and do things that can only be done while living. The victim cannot. Life in jail just shows sympathy to a criminal and devalues the worth of the victim.

Contention 9

My opponent then makes the case that it's better to leave someone in jail then to kill him. (Like what he said before). However, lets take this further. Let's say there is no afterlife. By killing the criminal you have taken away everything. He is virtually non-existent. You have taken the very life from him. That is the worst punishment ever, and that is what he deserves. My opponent believes he will suffer, and that should be his punishment. Suffering is part of life, at least he still has it. Suffering ends, it is only temporary. However death is final, there is no going back to earth after that. Death is what he deserves and it is the only punishment that is bad enough for an evil eprson that kills. A person that kills deserves neither suffering nor happiness. He deserves nothing, like what he gave the person he killed.

Contention 5

I do not believe there is no corruption present, as my opponent makes it seem, however, my point is that everything has corruption. And also, what would be the purpose of killing someone off for a corrupt reason. Furthermore my opponent hasn't proven this, which is what I really asked for. Prove that corruption and the death penalty go hand in hand. Corruption is a non-unique argument. There is nothing special between the death penalty and corruption.

Contention 6

Con misses my point. My point is that deterrence comes secondary. Justice must be achieved first. If deterrence comes, then great. I have no need to refute this point because deterrence cannot be proven or disproven. It is a mute point. It neither affirms nor negates.

Contention 7

I did provide a source. Look at top. I said politico.com. And my stat holds more weight because mine covers the whole country, not just one state (which happens to lean heavily left)

Contention 8

I have responded in above arguments.

My Contention

My opponent just makes the statement that it is flawed. Also, I never said that only the death penalty can be universalized. E.g. Kant explains that to see if an action is moral/just depends on universality. Take stealing for instance. Kant says that by stealing you have stolen from yourself. You have made an evil immoral mark on yourself. Therefore, the government universalizes the action of stealing and steals you as a person by putting you in jail, or steals your money, by taking money and giving it to your victim. My opponent makes a fast conclusion when she made her attack. Her attack had nothing to do with my argument and thus my contentions stands for the remaining rounds.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
Danielle

Con

1. HYPOCRISY

"My opponent never warrants why killing shouldn't warrant the same action."

Is that a joke? I believe I have actually pointed out NINE reasons as to why killing shouldn't warrant the same action. They are listed next to numbers 1 - 9 in this debate (in case you missed that).

In regard to the finger analogy, this point is flawed as Pro maintains that money could compensate for other crimes. While this may be true in my finger scenario, it is NOT necesarilly always true. Consider a situation in which a man was hit by a car, was in a coma for awhile (lost time of his life), and now has permanent brain damage as well as is paralyzed. He lives in an Assisted Living facility away far from his family (where they believe he'll get the best care, even if they don't get to see him often).

This man has been deprived of his memories, the use of his body, and the use of his brain... which pretty much determines/controls everything else, such as feelings, emotions, etc. He is constanrly in physical pain and mental agony - he cannot fully understand what is going on, and is drugged up on a lot of medication (to say the least). So in a sense, he is just breathing - not living.

The driver (who originally fled the scene, and broke a lot of speeding and driving laws) has essentially taken the man's life, yet not only is he not being tried for the death penalty, but he was not charged with anything at all. Granted he's going to have a huge lawsuit on his hands, but money cannot compensate for what's happened to the man, his family, etc. HOWEVER, killing the driver wouldn't do anything for the situation either. Killing the driver is not going to bring the victim back; all killing the driver would do is create more pain for the family of those who would be killed. It would NOT erase or even begin to compensate for the pain of the victim's family. It would just create more suffering for the defendant's family. Thus the death penalty is HYPOCRITIAL and does not effectively promote justice.

Further, who is Pro to say that a piano player would rather live than not be able to play the piano? Even if that were the case, I know for a fact (because he says it all the time) that the victim in my example would rather die than be in the condition that he is now. And if he died, perhaps the death penalty would have been a factor...? But like I said - it wouldn't change, fix, or solve anything.

2. RIGHT TO LIFE

It is a scary thought that the government has the authority to end the life of its own citizen. If the right to life is the 'ultimate' right, than essentially you're advocating that the government can pretty much do anything it wants, or violate ANY rights for the sake of 'justice.' Remember that government was both established and perpetuated by MAN - not a divine, perfect being. Therefore not all of the government's choices can be considered right or just 100% of the time (and most intelligent people know it's way less than that).

Going back to Locke and what he said about punishment being meant for retribution, again I pose the question of what the death penalty solves. My opponent agrees that it cannot be considered a deterrent (because of mixed statistics), so therefore, it's essentially about revenge like I have been saying all along. Because killing someone won't bring the victim back, what other retirbution is rewarded in taking the life of another?

3. COST

This heading may have very well been 'hypocrisy' again... "Cost should come secondary to principles that are greater" seems to be my opponent's argument here, yet my opponent is against the very social programs that he pretends to care about in his argument. Pro must acknowledge that principles are not and cannot always be put before costs. If money wasn't a factor, why would Pro - or anyone - be against universal health care? Welfare? Social programs? Etc etc etc. People look down upon these institutions because they affect the worth of their own dollar. Thus although it may SOUND NICE to say we can disregard cost as a huge factor in *POLITICS*... hahaha... realistically it doesn't hold any water. And furthermore, who said that the death penalty is the just response?! To me, you are doing something unjust and costing me extra money at the same time.

4. MISTAKES

In both 'researched' cases, innocence nor guilt cannot be determined... yet both lives have been ended, so what's the point? Thank you, Pro, for acknowledging my entire criterion: mistakes are sometimes made, and sometimes new information is found too late. Who cares if new evidence determining innocence is EVER found? People aren't going to care to look into it as much once the defendant is already dead. Also, if my opponent wishes to maintain that justice = not good but FAIRNESS, he would have to prove that the death penalty is ALWAYS the fair decision. This cannot be achieved, for he has completely ignored my points regarding crimes committed in the heat of passion, crimes of the mentally unstable, etc.

9. PUNISHMENT

"Death is what he deserves and it is the only punishment that is bad enough for an evil eprson that kills." Whoa. That incredibly agressive and presumptious statement speaks volumes about my opponent, and many death penalty supporters in general. It's assumption after assumtion, and ignores all of the causes behind why one kills another. Further, the notion that death is worse than suffering is only an OPINION. It must be backed up with facts or at least more detailed reasoning in order to be considered.

5. CORRUPTION

"Prove that corruption and the death penalty go hand in hand." Okay. Anne Boleyn was falsely accused of incest, adultery and high treason, and was beheaded by sword - there's one example. The fact that this happened ages ago is irrelevant; the fact remains that people are wrongly accused, wrongly convicted and wrongfully put to death in the past and in the present. Biasedness and other prejudices always play a factor.

6. DETERRANCE

History informs us that most executions were public and brutal, yet crime was more widespread then than it is now. If murders are still occuring AT ALL in states where the death penalty is legal, than my point is upheld.

7. POPULAR OPINION

Politico.com is not a valid source. That's like me providing a stat and saying my source is Google.com. For someone who's so concerned about debate etiquette, not providing a direct link to a source is pretty shady/uncourteous. Anyway, even if more states uphold the DP, more populated states like NY do not. And finally, we've both established that majorities are not always right. What's important is that since so many people are against the DP, their reasoning must be taken into account.

8. VALUE OF LIFE

... And my reasoning has been ignored here. Pro says that all lives MUST be considered to have equal value. But my point is that they're NOT. Inherently, as humans, we tend to value the lives of some over others. Therefore some may find is just to kill certain people and not others. For instance, I'm sure some people may not mind seeing GWB be killed, but they WOULD mind seeing someone like Mother Theresa being killed. The point? Pro may think the defendant deserves to die, but what if the defendant felt the victim deserved to die? Why is the victim always presumed innocent?

10. PRO'S LONE CONTENTION: SCALE OF JUSTICE

The scale of justice can never be equal. It's flawed all over the legal system, and it's flawed rearding the DP. Except with the DP, you are dealing with someone's life. If killing someone is wrong, then killing them to 'get even' is wrong too. Further, the scale of justice does not apply to life in general, so why only the DP? For instance, low-income individuals are more likely to commit crimes. If we're so obsessed with equality, why not worry about scaling justice in terms of the quality of life and not just the equality of death?
Debate Round No. 3
CiRrO

Pro

"Is that a joke? I believe I have actually pointed out NINE reasons as to why killing shouldn't warrant the same action. They are listed next to numbers 1 - 9 in this debate (in case you missed that)."

My Response: your nine points don't explain why the criminals ought to receive the death penalty as a just punishment. Your nine points explain that the application is a faulty system. The system doesn't make the punishment inherently unjust. I was asking why is it not giving each person their due.

"In regard to the finger analogy, this point is flawed as Pro maintains that money could compensate for other crimes. While this may be true in my finger scenario, it is NOT necesarilly always true. Consider a situation in which a man was hit by a car, was in a coma for awhile (lost time of his life), and now has permanent brain damage as well as is paralyzed. He lives in an Assisted Living facility away far from his family (where they believe he'll get the best care, even if they don't get to see him often)."

My Response: My opponent has switched her analogy since I successfully refuted that example. Now she presents a car crash example. In this example she examples how he lost some time of his life. For this, the criminal would get prison time to match the coma time. That's fair and proportionate. Then she goes on to bring up an assisted living center. For that, according to the law since the damage is permanent, the criminal would receive more jail time. Now, look, I have explained how every example besides killing can be compensated without the use of the death penalty or the exact punishment. Killing, is the only one that warrants the same.

Extend this argument for the several paragraphs she uses to make a giant, and very unlikely scenario.

"It is a scary thought that the government has the authority to end the life of its own citizen. If the right to life is the 'ultimate' right, than essentially you're advocating that the government can pretty much do anything it wants, or violate ANY rights for the sake of 'justice.' Remember that government was both established and perpetuated by MAN - not a divine, perfect being. Therefore not all of the government's choices can be considered right or just 100% of the time (and most intelligent people know it's way less than that)."

My Response: Yes, and it is also scary that the government can keep you in prison, take your money. Should we end all punishments because it is "scary"? I think punishments being scary is a point that helps deterrence. The government is a mechanism of justice. That's why a section of it is called the justice system. Society is nothing without a fundamental principle of justice behind it (Rawls). I agree, not all the government choices are good, but that doesn't mean we should forgo things like justice.

"Going back to Locke and what he said about punishment being meant for retribution, again I pose the question of what the death penalty solves. My opponent agrees that it cannot be considered a deterrent (because of mixed statistics), so therefore, it's essentially about revenge like I have been saying all along. Because killing someone won't bring the victim back, what other retirbution is rewarded in taking the life of another?"

My Response: I have answered this question alreay. It shows that the government won't A) Tolerate killing and B) won't value the life of a criminal over the innocent victim. Also, we don't know if deterrence is true. If we execute murderers, and there is indeed no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If there is a deterrent effect then we have saved the lives of countless innocent civilians.

"This heading may have very well been 'hypocrisy' again... "Cost should come secondary to principles that are greater" seems to be my opponent's argument here, yet my opponent is against the very social programs that he pretends to care about in his argument. Pro must acknowledge that principles are not and cannot always be put before costs. If money wasn't a factor, why would Pro - or anyone - be against universal health care? Welfare? Social programs? Etc etc etc. People look down upon these institutions because they affect the worth of their own dollar. Thus although it may SOUND NICE to say we can disregard cost as a huge factor in *POLITICS*... hahaha... realistically it doesn't hold any water. And furthermore, who said that the death penalty is the just response?! To me, you are doing something unjust and costing me extra money at the same time. "

My Response: Cost does not make something just or not. Cost is just a human mechanism. Whether or not something is expensive does not mean a person should or should not receive there due. That is really what you are doing here. You are sacrificing giving a criminal their due for the sake of money. And as I have brought up before, life in jail is also very expensive.

"In both 'researched' cases, innocence nor guilt cannot be determined... yet both lives have been ended, so what's the point? Thank you, Pro, for acknowledging my entire criterion: mistakes are sometimes made, and sometimes new information is found too late. Who cares if new evidence determining innocence is EVER found? People aren't going to care to look into it as much once the defendant is already dead. Also, if my opponent wishes to maintain that justice = not good but FAIRNESS, he would have to prove that the death penalty is ALWAYS the fair decision. This cannot be achieved, for he has completely ignored my points regarding crimes committed in the heat of passion, crimes of the mentally unstable, etc."

My Response: My opponent didn't understand my point. No person has yet been killed that has been proven innocent 100%. That's the point. Until someone has been found 100% innocent, then this point can be valid.

"Death is what he deserves and it is the only punishment that is bad enough for an evil eprson that kills." Whoa. That incredibly agressive and presumptious statement speaks volumes about my opponent, and many death penalty supporters in general. It's assumption after assumtion, and ignores all of the causes behind why one kills another. Further, the notion that death is worse than suffering is only an OPINION. It must be backed up with facts or at least more detailed reasoning in order to be considered.

My Response: I can turn this and say that the people who are against the death penalty can't answer why jail is what should be used. They also contradict in argument. One side says it's to mean, the other says it is inhumane. It seems the anti-death penalty people can't make up their minds.

"History informs us that most executions were public and brutal, yet crime was more widespread then than it is now. If murders are still occuring AT ALL in states where the death penalty is legal, than my point is upheld."

My Response: Turn this against my opposite. My opponent already claimed that some killings happen because the person is mentally insane. The Death Penalty would not deter them. Thus, you can drop my opponents statement about deterrence.

Politico.com is not a valid source. That's like me providing a stat and saying my source is Google.com

My Response: go to it. It is always used by political analysts. It is indeed a valid site.

She then attacks my contention with a new argument. She says the scale of justice can never be equal. I understand that. However that is the duty of the justice system. And the death penalty is a good start to move in that direction.
===============================================================================

Voting Issues:

1) My opponent never negates because has never proves that the death penalty doesn't give killers their due. She merely says the application is bad.
2) My opponent never fully refutes the point that the person loses their right to life when they kill.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
Danielle

Con

* Pro: Your 9 points explain that the application is a faulty system. The system doesn't make the punishment inherently unjust.

REBUTTAL: My points did touch upon the issue of justice. For instance - hypocrisy. We agree that taking the life of another human being (when you are unthreatened) is inherently wrong and inhumane. To respond with the same course of action - taking a life - is hypocritical and sends a mixed message to the public regarding the morality of taking a life. If something is wrong, it should be wrong for EVERYONE, including the entity of govt.

If someone killed my brother and I killed that killer, the govt could sentence me to death for taking another's life... but who can sentence the government to death? If your response would be that taking the law into your own hands is different, I ask - Why? If we're discussing 'giving each person their due' and not the legal system in general, it would be okay in this scenario for me to kill my brother's killer. And it also does not change the fact that the government as an entity has the power to end lives.

Either way, this practice is hypocritical and unjust. It ends the lives of those convicted instead of giving them a chance to repent or be rehabilitated. By taking away these rights, the govt is committing the same crimes as the killer. Remember, the law isn't strictly about 'giving each person their due' but rather protecting society. Keeping an in-mate in prison still protects society without imposing hypocritical and immoral behavior.

* Pro: My opponent has switched her analogy since I successfully refuted that example. Now she presents a car crash example... she makes a giant, and very unlikely scenario... Now, look, I have explained how every example besides killing can be compensated without the use of the death penalty or the exact punishment.

REBUTTAL: I didn't switch my analogy for that reason. In fact, simply ADDING ANOTHER EXAMPLE does not admit defeat -- it just establishes once again the validity of my claims. My point here was that just because PRO deems monetary compensation equal in terms of punishment does not mean that everyone will. Ergo a piano player might rather spend time in prison than have one of their fingers cut off. If this is the case, than imposing jail time upon the offender is not 'giving each person their due' but rather punishing the convicted according to PRO'S standards. Who is PRO to determine what the govt should do?

Similarly, Pro goes on to try and sentence the defendant in my example by stating, "The criminal would get prison time to match the coma time. That's fair and proportionate." Actually, that's NOT fair and proportionate according to Pro's very own standards in R3. He noted, "A criminal in jail an still love, enjoy life, and do things that can only be done while living. The victim cannot. Life in jail just shows sympathy to a criminal and devalues the worth of the victim."

In the case of one in a coma, the victim cannot enjoy all of those 'luxuries' that one can enjoy in prison. Additionally, the victim who has been both physically and emotionally damaged for life is no longer able to experience those things as well, meaning that jail time would not be enough compensation according to Pro's very own values regarding giving each person their due... so which one is it? You cannot consider this point for Pro if I have devalued it in other examples. It's more hypocrisy.

Furthermore, I resent Pro assuming that my example is 'exaggerated' and unlikely. In fact this is a true-life example from a personal experience; my dad was hit by a car in October while working and has endured the exact scenario which I have presented in this debate. He is in an Assisted Living home with other victims who suffered traumatic injury much like my father, so for Pro to assume that this is highly unrealistic is ignorant and his point invalid.

* Pro: Yes, and it is also scary that the govt can keep you in prison, take your money. Should we end all punishments because it is "scary"?

REBUTTAL: No, that's not it. In fact, Pro acknowledges his own hypocrisy here when he again equivilates money and jail time with human livelihood. I don't think it's AS 'scary' that the government can take my money (for what are supposed to be good causes, anyway) than the fact that the government can end my LIFE. If Pro wishes to equate these things, then he concedes that life in jail (without parole) is an appropriate murder sentence. If he doesn't, he agrees that taking lives are worse/above things like imposing fines and going to jail, so this point of his is invalid.

* Pro: [In response to what the DP would accomplish] It shows that the govt won't A) Tolerate killing and B) won't value the life of a criminal over the innocent victim.

REBUTTAL: Wouldn't extensive jail time suffice in proving that the government will not tolerate killing? Additionally, who is suggesting that by NOT killing the convicted, that the govt values their life over the one who was killed? That notion of revenge is not something the govt should uphold. Rather, a more appropriate response would be to look at it this way -- a murderer made the (huge) mistake of ending a life, so he/she will spend the rest of their own lives PAYING FOR IT. I think *that* is giving a criminal their due.

* Pro: Cost does not make something just or not... You are sacrificing giving a criminal their due for the sake of money.

REBUTTAL: Actually my stance is giving a criminal their due for LESS money. There's nothing wrong with that ideology! I also noticed that Pro dodged my points regarding the hypocrisy of his stance -- he says it is immoral to not pay into social programs, programs he himself does not support. Why? It must be because of the cost, and his sentiment regarding charging people for 'helping' others. Well why should I help others 'punish' their murderer by killing them? Either way, Pro's stance on this is entirely hypocritical. My position is also cost-effective, so this point is a win-win for the Con.

* Pro: No person has yet been killed that has been proven innocent 100%. Until someone has been found 100% innocent, then this point can be valid.

REBUTTAL: Is this a joke?! While no person mentioned may have been found 100% innocent, they CERTAINLY have not been found 100% guilty! So what Pro is advocating here is the concept of GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT instead of the other way around, which is a direct contradiction of American values in our justice system.

* Pro: The people who are against the DP can't answer why jail is what should be used. They also contradict... One side says it's to mean, the other says it is inhumane. It seems [they] can't make up their minds.

REBUTTAL: I have already answered why jail time is more approproate than killing. Further, isn't it possible than something is both inhumane AND mean? Obviously. This was a horrible and embarassingly bad rebuttal on Pro's part.

* Pro: Some killings happen because the person is mentally insane. The Death Penalty would not deter them.

REBUTTAL: Thank you for that concession. You attempted to disprove my argument against deterence, but what you really did was win me that mentally insane argument (we have both already several times acknowledged the discrepancy regarding deterrence).

* Pro: Politico.com is a valid source

REBUTTAL: Yes, but you didn't provide a direct link. Why should I have to search? How do I know it's even really there?

* Pro: She says the scale of justice can never be equal. I understand that.

REBUTTAL: Thank you for conceding to your ONLY contention. You have just won me the debate.

* Pro: [She] never fully refutes the point that the person loses their right to life when they kill.

REBUTTAL: Nobody ever loses their right to life; only the right to live it how they please.
Debate Round No. 4
31 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by CiRrO 8 years ago
CiRrO
Lol, thx. You did make better arguments. I was going to make 2 contentions, however I didn't have room =( Your right, I should have presented first. Stupid mistake on my part. Also, my I ask who these people who accuse me are? I think they should take it up with me if they have a problem. Anyway, I can't wait for another debate with you. Cya around.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
My point was that even if you do have multiple accounts, you're still a good debater. I'd put you in the top 10 ;D
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
Honestly, CiRrO, I am impressed by your knack for persuasion. I believe I have made better the arguments in this debate, but I think your articulation and 'presence' so to speak has out-performed mine. I may have even voted for you; however, your mistake here was only providing one contention for your side. I believe that if you had made the first argument, you could have won (or at least upped your chances). Admittedly I have not read many of your other debates; I cannot make a judgment about your skill as a debater other than what I have seen (which isn't much). I don't know if you have multiple accounts or what. People seem to think so and with good reason - but like I said - votes don't matter to me anymore. I look forward to debating you again in the future -- I know it'll be good.
Posted by CiRrO 8 years ago
CiRrO
Oh and Lwerd, I do not wish for hard feelings between us. So, whats your opinion of me (?), I'm curious. I would love to, when the chat thing comes to the site, learn more from you. You are indeed a very skilled debater.
Posted by CiRrO 8 years ago
CiRrO
Thx for sticking up for me Liberty. ^^ Also, thx for your vote DragonKiller, even though I do believe I have lost this one. =( I was overwhelmed by Lwerd. Well cya all around.
Posted by DragonKiller 8 years ago
DragonKiller
Hmm, I voted Pro for this one. Both had extraordinary arguments. However, something about Cirro's arguments just made sense. Idk, I usually vote based solely on the arguments, but they way in which Cirro presented himself just made me vote pro. I'm definitely going to get hammered for saying that, but I needed to say why I voted Pro.
Posted by liberty 8 years ago
liberty
CiRro, I believe you are a great debater and deserve your wins , and all you acusers, I advise you to look at the arguments not the debater when you vote, for example in this debate theLwerd won, but it was close in all the other debates of CiRro he won all of them clearly
Posted by CiRrO 8 years ago
CiRrO
I am not offended, since I can stand upon my own integrity. I do not have multiple accounts. The majority may be against me, but hey, I don't care who you people are so...w/e. Believe what you wish.
Posted by Im_always_right 8 years ago
Im_always_right
CirRO, I do not want to offend you, but Lwerd is right, it is common knowlage that you possess multiple accounts, I;ve seen you in debates just getting one more vote out of nowhere, every time your opponent gets a vote...
Posted by CiRrO 8 years ago
CiRrO
I enjoyed this debate thoroughly. Good job Lwerd. I voted for you, I believe I have lost this one. I thank you for complimenting me. You are indeed, one of the best debaters on this site (form what I've seen. Since I'm pretty new) However, I am insulted that you, once again, have attacked my integrity. Thank you for the good debate. It has been probably the best and hardest that I've had so far.
11 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
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