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Should the death penalty be legal?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 344 times Debate No: 71865
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
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I am against it. Looking forward to an enjoyable argument.
First round for acceptance only.


I accept the debate. I believe the death penalty needs to be legal.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks for accepting the debate.
So, anyway, I will start with my general arguments one by one so you can counter argument them as you like. Once you do so, I will start getting more specific, if that is OK with you.
Here are my reasons:
a) nobody has the right to take a life. The moment you kill someone for murder, the same should be done to you (according to your own thoughts);
b) there is the possibility that there is a judgement mistake (you blame someone for murder even though that person did not do it);
c) there are certain mental disabilities leading to murder and cruel behaviour, which should obviously be treated, instead of getting rid of;
d) the person's environment could be propitious for cruel ideals to propagate (and that is the government's fault).
e) there are things acceptable in today's society (like death penalty) that may not be acceptable in the future.
f) it is a permanent solution for a temporary problem, not much different from suicide.
By the way, if you don't mind, let us try to keep religious arguments away.
Thank you again.


I thank my opponent for a good argument. Yea I won't involve religion.

While you are right that some people would be better off not dying, and it can be cruel, there are some reasons I believe it should not be legal:

A) making it Illegal means that no execution can happen. No matter the severity or circumstance, he/ she has to stay alive.
B) the government has to use taxpayer money to fund this persons prison life, which can be pretty expensive.
C) if it was legal, states could easily restrict how easily someone is sentenced to death. Legalizing it doesn't mean everyone dies, it just means some are allowed to if need be.
D) some people just need to die. It sounds bad, but some people are just psychotic maniacs that can't help themselves. They can't be rehabilitated, and if they aren't sentenced to death they'll just spend their entire lives in a single cell prison. I'm talking serial rapists and such.
E) it sets an example. If you execute some (the worst of) your criminals, it sets the tone for criminals. It does deter people from committing serious crimes because most people don't want to die. A good example is Ted bundy. The guy kills dozens of people, but when caught uses all his power and might to not get the death penalty. He made it clear he doesn't want to die. But is the world a better place without Ted bundy? Yes, yes it is. Even if he was still alive he would be in a no window cell in the corner of the world for the rest of his life.

A) I would say point a is invalid because everyone who is executed has killed at least 1 person, so the same applies to them.
B/C combined) for these 2, judge more harshly. You don't have to kill all murderers. Make it more specific, as in it is extremely obvious they did it.
D) can't blame murder on the govt when 99.9% of people aren't murderers
E) Possibly, but I doubt it. Death is the ultimate punishment for the ultimate criminals.
F) a temporary problem that could cause more problems. It's like killing bin laden. We could take these guys to a high security prison to rot forever, but that just makes them more isolated and crazy. Doesn't help much. Being an enemy of the state (or criminal) is not something I recommend to a normal person. When they murder, Im sure they know the potential consequences.

On a side note, I do believe lethal injections are inhumane. Strapping someone down, giving them a shot, and letting them die for 5 minutes is not humane. Also with a 10% failure rate, it should be banned. if they're going to die, make it 100% success. A lethal injection can be humiliating and dragged on. Electric chair (which shuts off your brain before you feel pain) or firing squad don't exactly fail. And preferably I wish to be guillotined in the center of dc if I ever have to be executed. Just because.
Debate Round No. 2


I will address your arguments individually, pro:
A) I really don't see why not killing is bad, really;
B) In some ways, the government will still sustain the prisoner because a) it takes a while to find and confirm clues and give away the judgement, and the person still has to eat and drink, etc; b) you have to pay the killing chair/venom. Sure, it would be cheaper, but there is also this argument: a prisoner could work (in prisons) to sustain himself instead of sitting around doing nothing.
C- never thought it did, really. Still some people will get killed.
D- that is a mental problem, obviously, and frankly killing someone who has mental problems isn't nice.
E- I don't think so, after all, being locked for life doesn't feel like a very good idea, and I think it would certainly intimidate criminals enough.

Now I will tell my arguments again:
Your counter argument for a) is invalid for me since killing is still killing.
Your argument against my b/c also doesn't work. I mean, if you could directly kill one innocent person to get ten criminals dead, would you? I wouldn't. It is that person's right to live. Same happens when you kill someone for murder and later find out that person is innocent. You may have rightfully killed dozens of criminals, but that person was innocent and you had no right to take her life.
E also remains valid. People found slavery acceptable 300 years ago, remember?
My point F also remains, really, since I doubt a criminal would do harm locked in a prison. Then, he would at least have the right to live and work. Death is an unacceptable punishment for an unacceptable crime.


Let me just restate the premise of my argument: making it illegal means you can't execute a prisoner under any circumstance. Making it legal only means that you can execute a strict number of people. So your argument about if the person was innocent or not is invalid, because we don't have to kill those people. What if we have a Ted Bundy, who we know for a fact killed a ton of people, shows no remorse, and who we can't mix with other prisoners. It's the same case with people who are pedophiles/murderers, they shouldn't be with other prisoners because of the unspoken rule to kill or gang rape them. Some people, while not many, just need to die. And an execution, in my opinion, is a more formal and actually respectful way of doing away with some people, as bad as that sounds.

Now I will rebut:
A) Its not that not killing is bad, it's more of how sometimes people need to die. Examples are widespread pedophile murderers, bin laden, etc.
b) while it is true they could be working, my thinking is if they could be working don't kill them. But the people that need to be executed usually aren't people you can just put in a labor camp.
C) and my rebuttle is that some people need to die. People that only cause harm, pain, terror, and destruction.
D) this point isn't that strong. Yes, killing someone with a mental disability isn't nice, but killing someone with a mental disability who just murdered 15 people isn't mean. It's hard to justify not killing someone by saying it's not nice, when they most likely murdered multiple people.
E) Yes being locked for life doesn't sound good. But it probably does sound good to someone who just raped and murdered 3 5 year olds and is about to get the death penalty. Death is the ultimate punishment, and i guarantee you people on death row aren't glad theyre dying instead of spending their lives in prison.

My counters were valid:
A) killing is killing, but it's justified when you're killing a mass murderer.
B/C) this doesn't make any sense. It had little to do with my argument. You keep talking about how someone you killed later is found innocent. First off, that rarely happens nowaydays anyway. Also, what if you only killed the mass murderers and people who have confessed or you know they are innocent. Now we rarely kill people who we aren't sure are guilty. The justice dept doesnt just walk around killing people to look cool. They do massive investigations, and if you only execute the ones you know did the crimes, then you're not taking an innocent life, so the potential innocence argument is invalid.
E) I admit, that is a correct. But does that mean everyone in 1500 should've banned slavery because it wasn't going to be around later? The argument is weak. Also, slavery is selling your labor to another person. Death, on the other hand, is a part of life. It is something that always happens to everyone. So I doubt death will become outdated in the future. Even liberal societies can't handle some criminals.
F) point f does not remain. It is not just like suicide, and is only technically temporary. Yes they will die, but that doesn't mean we want them to live no matter what. What do you think about the death of bin laden? It makes little sense to spend a large amount of money keeping a prisoner in a max security high facility detention center for even 50 years, after he commited crimes against society. This is the concept of the Nuremberg trials.

It sounds nice to say death is always unnecessary and wrong, but sometimes death is a necessary option to take. Using your logic, if a criminal is willing to take multiple people's lives, they don't deserve their own.
Debate Round No. 3


I guess it will all end up to world views, opinions and previous life experiences, but when it ends up, the majority will win. I think the last round is unnessessary, really. We have each stated our world views and our arguments for them. Now it is up to voters to decide. If you do do think the last round is useful, just say it in your next argument.
Thus, since I have already clearly stated my world views, let me try to refute your refutal of them:
A) I think the moment you kill a mass murderer, you are being a hypocrite. Sorry, pro, but you didn't change my thinking there;
B/C) Still a possibility, which is something I can't take;
E) Again, I don't think death penalty and slavery are that different;
On your very last comment of your last argument, I think you misunderstood me. I said that according to the judge's logic kill he should also be killed, since he commited the same crime as the murder.
Anyway, I think death penalty will always be polemic, and there will be people on both sides of the argument. Let us just see who convinces more people.
I thank pro for his valid arguments, even though he did not convince me. Let this be the first of many productive arguments.


Eh, I don't think we need one that badly. I'll just finish my argument here. Continue if you wish to rebut again.

A) I doubt I would be able to change your mind. The only view I have is that some people need to die. I just don't feel like it's that necessary to keep someone alive who is a mega murderer psychopath.
B/C) yea these are the things that we can't agrue much about. Different world views
E) but I would disagree. Death is the entirety of life, and taking it away means no more anything. Everyone must die in the end. So it is a naturally occurring event, and speeding it up is the ultimate punishment. Slavery is essentially owning another human life, which is something that is not naturally occurring. If someone's entire purpose of life is to cause terror, they should not be alive in my opinion. And according to most laws, a prisoner is a slave of the state, so the prisoner is still incarcerated, but at least they are kept alive with food.
I didn't misunderstand you, I just added on the end. You said if you kill the criminal, you should die also. But doesn't this also mean if the criminal kills many people, they should die as well?

Yes I agree it will most always be an issue.

And the same to you con. Good Debate.
Debate Round No. 4


Rezend forfeited this round.


Jcmiamiu7 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by balogmsc2015 1 year ago
People commit awful crimes and forfeit their right to live when they take away someone else's right to live. The act its self should be given to the person most wronged by the criminals actions. That person should have the choice to carry out the death penalty or allow them to live out their life in prison.
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