The Instigator
Republican95
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
MistahKurtz
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

This house believes that capital punishment is wrong.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,941 times Debate No: 8343
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

Republican95

Pro

I'd like to clarify the definitions for whoever accepts this debate. I would like my opponet to not argue in round 1; just to accept the debate. We'll start debating in Round 2.

Capital Punishment-The intentional killing of a human being as punishment for committing a criminal offense.

Wrong-Not in accordance with what is right; using flawed thinking or logic; not permissible.
MistahKurtz

Con

I look forward to the arguments

But I would like to clarify that capital punishment is 'the intention killing of a human being as punishment for committing a -capital- offense.' Which is to say; murder. I do not intend to prove that capital punishment should be used for any crime except murder and for any combination of crimes so long as it includes murder.

I hope that satisfies my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
Republican95

Pro

Alright let's get started. I hear your from Canada, they don't have Capital Punishment up there. But that is irrelevant.

Capital punishment is wrong when it comes to murder. I will be reinforcing these main points in my later argument...

1-Two wrongs don't make a right. Just because you've been convicted of killing somebody; it doesn't make you any less of a person. Since you are still a person, you have the same rights that a person has: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To deny you of your right to live is a violation of your legal and moral rights.

2-Why do we kill people who kill people to show people that killing people is wrong? In the United States, the use of capital punishment has not help reduce the amount of homicides that occur per year, in fact they are on the rise. (I gained that information from the FBI).

3-My government is suppose to represent me. I would never kill anybody. Therefore, how can my government (which is suppose to represent me) kill a person. Government's just a group of people; a group of people who have just as many rights as the rest of us. And we do not have the right to kill.
MistahKurtz

Con

Let me begin with my deconstruction;

1. Two wrongs certainly don't make a right, but this is an inaccurate, oversimplified adage for the situation. I would argue a more fitting phrase would be; one good crime deserves another. I'm being facetious, of course, because it is common knowledge that there is nothing criminal about capital punishment. If it is so, would my opponent support jailing the executioners, judges, juries and prosecution attorneys that put the prisoner in the situation? Surely not.

My opponent further argues for the rights of the prisoners, yet this is inherently hypocritical. If the person in question killed another and took away the victim's rights, why should their's be preserved? That person knew the ramifications of their actions and chose to waive their ownership of their rights. To use another adage; they made their bed and now they must sleep in it.

2. Well I was under the impression that such reasoning is evident; we, as a society, have determined that a certain level of killing is acceptable. There are several reasons for this. One is that we, as taxpayers, refuse to pay to accommodate these despicable people. Secondly; these hardened criminals present a danger to the less violent criminals in the prison. Capital punishment absolutely helps to reduce the levels of violence found within the prisons. And what if some of these deranged killers were to escape? The blood would be on -your- hands, sir.

Furthermore, my opponent can apparently not tell the difference between correlation and causation. You are looking at only one variable in the equation. You have not told us how many of those crimes were second degree (therefore not a capital crime), which were first degree (rarely capital) and which were especially violent, heinous or involved more than one victim (more commonly capital crimes.) But to refute your inferences, let's look at other countries that execute large amounts of criminals (U.S, India, Indonesia, Iran, China) and compare their murder rates with other countries:

India - 3.4 murders per 100,000 people
Iran - 2.9 murders per 100,000 people
China - 2.3 murders per 100,000 people
Indonesia - 1 murder per 100,000 people

These are all very mild numbers, and I would consider myself safe in these countries.

3. It is irrelevant what you want, it only matters what the collective wants. If more than half of the population are in support of capital punishment, it should continue.
Debate Round No. 2
Republican95

Pro

To continue:

1. My opponent holds the belief that one good crime deserves another. This means that my opponent holds the belief that murder deserves murder; murder is the act of killing. Do any of us deserve to die? The simple answer is no. No one walking the Earth today deserves, no matter how heinous their acts may be, to be killed for a crime. Why killing that person makes us just as bad as the person we are trying to punish. Two wrongs don't make a right. And plus, killing the accused murder will not bring back a victim. It's blood spewed for a cause that only amounts for more blood.

2. Actually (according to the 2007 Guinness Book of World Records) India is the world's most murderous country with an average 37,170 murders a year. That's more than the population of my home town! And it's not about how many murders actually occur, its about the question of does Capital Punishment have any effect on crime? In my home state we implemented the death penalty in 1989. Since then, murders in the state of Mississippi have tripled from 9.8 in 100,000 to 30.1 per 100,000.

You accused the blood of being on my hands. Our tax dollars pay for capital punishments, so isn't the blood of those who are executed on our hands?

3. You dodged that bullet very nicely. However, it will not fool me. I'm not saying what I want, I'm asking "What are the boundaries of our government"? Government is just a group of people, people just like us, do they have the right to kill. You also made the point that more than half the population supports Capital Punishment. First, I'd like to see some raw data on that; and second this is a common none fallacy. Just because the plurality of the population thinks a certain way, that does not make their thinking right. If society wanted to kill everybody over the age of sixty because they burdened our health care system, that certainly wouldn't be right.

Also, how do we know that the person we are executing is the real killer. There are hundreds of cases of people being released from death row after new evidence was found that proved their innocence. I wonder how many didn't get that miraculous evidence that saved their lives?
MistahKurtz

Con

My opponent's world view is simplistic and naive. Of course some people deserve to die, especially if their death could preserve the lives of others. Sure, our maximum security prisoners are rather secure, but is it really our right to take the risk of a break out? According to my opponent, 'two wrongs don't make a right', but what about three wrongs? Will we stand up and stop this cycle of violence after one death, or will we allow more to happen?

My opponent is also trying to skew the statistics for his own benefit. Yes, India has the most murders per year, but it also has the second highest population. The more accurate statistics I gave (murders in relation to population) paint a much more accurate picture.

Furthermore, public opinion is absolutely in favor of capital punishment. 52% of the world-wide population (so including countries where capital punishment is abolished) support the death penalty and 64% of Americans support capital punishment. I would not say that public opinion should dictate morality of trump human rights, but this is not relevant; these criminals have no rights. They forfeited them the moment they decided to betray a fundamental human right. This makes them lower than a cockroach or a speck of dust.

Yes, occasionally people are wrongly convicted, but you defeat your own point when you say that they were released -from death row.- This speaks volumes to the American judicial sector; they generally get the right guy. This is also why 'death row' can last as long as 33 years. While I would agree that some innocent people have been executed, I would actually suggest that capital punishment has freed some prisoners. Being on death row means your case is increasingly scrutinized and looked over. Furthermore, with our new forensic technology, being falsely convicted is becoming increasingly rare. It is also vindicating older criminals that have been on death row for decades. What we have is a system that has many checks and balances but stills allow the justice system to deal with these deplorable beings.
A study by Isaac Ehrlich which found that the murder rate responded to changes in the likelihood of execution. He concluded that 7 or 8 murders were prevented by each execution from 1933 to 1967.
A study by Kenneth Wolpin which showed that each execution, on average, reduced the number of murders in England by 4
Debate Round No. 3
Republican95

Pro

Let's Continue

Opponent: "My opponent's world view is simplistic and naive. Of course some people deserve to die, especially if their death could preserve the lives of others. Sure, our maximum security prisoners are rather secure, but is it really our right to take the risk of a break out? According to my opponent, 'two wrongs don't make a right', but what about three wrongs? Will we stand up and stop this cycle of violence after one death, or will we allow more to happen?"

I'd like to draw special attention to the phrase, "but is it really our right to take the risk of a break out?". With EVERY imprisonment their comes a risk of a jail break. Similarly, with every sentence of death their is a risk of executing an innocent person (blood spewed for a useless cause). So is it really our right to take the risk of a wrongful death?
Also, in my personal opinion, life imprisonment is a much harsher penalty than death. Think about it, with death you know that you are getting out some day, and if you believe in God you will go to Heaven. But, with life imprisonment their is no "getting out" you are destined to be rotting in that cell for the rest of your life. And I believe that is more horrible than death.

Opponent: "Furthermore, public opinion is absolutely in favor of capital punishment. 52% of the world-wide population (so including countries where capital punishment is abolished) support the death penalty and 64% of Americans support capital punishment. I would not say that public opinion should dictate morality of trump human rights, but this is not relevant; these criminals have no rights. They forfeited them the moment they decided to betray a fundamental human right. This makes them lower than a cockroach or a speck of dust."

These criminals have no rights? No rights? Why, this is clearly in violation with any doctrine that's even been written on the subject of rights (The Declaration of Independence, The Geneva Papers, etc.). To say that a person deserves to die because he killed another is like saying: A three year old deserves to never eat again because he stole a cookie from the cookie jar. Killing these criminals just brings us down to their level.

Opponent: "Yes, occasionally people are wrongly convicted, but you defeat your own point when you say that they were released -from death row.- This speaks volumes to the American judicial sector; they generally get the right guy. This is also why 'death row' can last as long as 33 years. While I would agree that some innocent people have been executed, I would actually suggest that capital punishment has freed some prisoners. Being on death row means your case is increasingly scrutinized and looked over. Furthermore, with our new forensic technology, being falsely convicted is becoming increasingly rare. It is also vindicating older criminals that have been on death row for decades. What we have is a system that has many checks and balances but stills allow the justice system to deal with these deplorable beings."

You use the word "occasionally" in sentence one. However, we have no way to prove that wrongful execution only occurs "occasionally" in fact 1 in 4 prisoners in America today maintain their innocence. I know that some of them lie; so maybe 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 is a better indicator, but what about those that don't lie? Well, some of them are on death row and some of them will be executed for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is it really our right to take that risk?

And you still haven't answered the fundamental question: "What rights do are government have when it comes in regard to the sanctity of human life?" and "How does killer the killer make it right."
MistahKurtz

Con

Yes, there is a chance of a breakout with every criminal, but of course the danger of violence occurring as a result is significantly higher assuming the escapee is charged with first degree murder.
I would also strongly disagree with your myth of the 'innocent execution.' The fact of the matter is that it is incredibly hard to convict an innocent person for a capital crime.

A life sentence may be more punishing than death, but it costs me more. I should not have to pay for this monster's food and lodging. And if you truely believe that this is worse than death, would you not therefore agree that it would be more humane to give them a lethal injection and spare them? You have given us the mournful plight of the poor prisoner's rights; they have the right to die with dignity, if nothing else.

I'm surprised 4 in 4 prisoners don't profess their innocence. The fact remains that they were held on a fair trial and convicted by a jury of their peers. You can skew the stats as you like, but the fact remains that very very few innocent prisoners are executed. And if they are, I would argue that the lives saved by using the death penalty as a deterrent outweighs this.

And I have answered your questions. The government has every right to put down cockroaches. Our constitution does not ensure rights to one who has betrayed the fundamental moral obligation bestowed upon him. That is; they have breached the social contract. By committing the most heinous crime imaginable in a country that practices capital punishment is an acknowledgment that they do not wish to be treated with the same standards as anyone else. The government does have an obligation to protect the rest of its law abiding citizens and to spend their money reasonably. They cannot ensure either of these conditions so long as these deplorable people sit comfortably in their state-of-the-art prisons.

I have a few questions of my own; what makes one who has defied the one sacred and universal law of society above one who has abide by it? Why should a law-abiding citizen have pay for this murderer? Why is it morally acceptable for a soldier to kill Nazis, but it is not okay for our government to remove equally evil people from society? And finally; why should risk the lives of any innocent person in the name of preserving a hardened criminal who has shown no willingness to be a part of this world?
Debate Round No. 4
Republican95

Pro

Opponent: I would also strongly disagree with your myth of the 'innocent execution.' The fact of the matter is that it is incredibly hard to convict an innocent person for a capital crime.

Myth? So you suppose it never happens? There are actually several well documented cases in which other were convicted for a capital crime in which the wrongly accused person had already been executed. Is it our right as human beings to kill other human beings on insufficient evidence? And all evidence is insufficient, all 100% of it. We can never be 100% that Person A committed Crime A.

Opponent: And if you truley believe that this is worse than death, would you not therefore agree that it would be more humane to give them a lethal injection and spare them?

Nice job on spelling truly. And the reason I think that way is because death is permanent. Once you die, they're no bringing you back. You're dead forever. On the other hand, with life imprisonment if new evidence comes along you can always be released.

Opponent: I should not have to pay for this monster's food and lodging.
Well, you certainly shouldn't send a potentially innocent person to death row. And you can't put a dollar amount on the value of human life, not even the murders life. That "murderer" still has a daughter, a wife, a brother, a father, a mother, a best friend, etc. Simply killing the killer only doubles the death toll. I understand that if a murder escapes today he could kill other people, but our prisons are so secure that this is a statistical anomaly. You've already acknowledged that.

Opponent: And if they are, I would argue that the lives saved by using the death penalty as a deterrent outweighs this.
Sir, what you are suggesting is that an innocent person die to serve as a deterant for future crime. Do you consider yourself a principled person?

More questions: I just can't get my head around how killing the killer doesn't bring him down to our level.
MistahKurtz

Con

Wrongful executions may have happened in the past, but as I have said; they will not happen in the future. Forensic science is just too concrete. Juries have become almost spoiled and preconditioned to the CSI mentality that they will not accept anything short of DNA evidence to convict someone of a capital crime. Sure, people have been wrongly convicted in the past and I absolutely agree that that was a problem, but we must acknowledge that the problem has been corrected.

It appears as though my opponent has become so desperate to win this debate that he has exploited my typo. Shame.

As for his advocation of life imprisonment; what of this so-called 'new evidence'? If it was not found during the investigation, I would argue that it is, more often than not, questionable. The idea of 'new evidence' is, more often than not, non-existent. For one to be sentenced to death, the case needs to be air-tight. Where does this vague, undefined illusion of 'new evidence' come from? What would have changed between the commission of the crimes, subsequent investigation and trial and the execution 10 years later? Assuming there is evidence that was missed the first time, a decade should be sufficient time for it to come forward, so that point unequivocally falls.

My opponent has a tendency to further his debate by using emotional arguments to cloud one's judgment. The fact of the matter is that 'doubling the death toll' is a misleading statement. First of all, most of those subject to capital punishment have killed more than one person. I would say that rather than merely adding to the death toll, we are preventing further deaths; be they the live of reformable inmates, prison guards or the lives of innocent civilians.

And I would hardly consider the personal life of a murderer to be of any importance. The killer made the conscious decision to renounce their relationships in the name for violence, therefore no such consideration should be made. But as long as we're talking about family and friends; what of the victims? Why should the families of the deceased not have their chance for their well-deserved revenge? Why must they be made to suffer knowing that their tax dollars are being used to pay for the meals of the one who killed their daughter, wife, brother, father, mother, best friend, etc?

To say we are 'killing' the killer is disingenuous in the context you are using it. We are not shooting them, we are not stabbing them and we are certainly not raping them. We are painlessly removing them from the gene pool.

What has this debate boiled down to? It has come down to some very simple ideas; given that one has defied the most fundamental principal of our society, why should they enjoy the luxuries we provide? Should they be treated in the same fashion as those who have proven their willingness to reform? Should they have the right, given their violent tendencies, to endanger the lives of those trying to make this world a better place by operating within these laws? No, absolutely not, and that's why side opposition has won this debate without question.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by johngriswald 7 years ago
johngriswald
This wasn't a debate, this was a conversation with blindness.
Posted by MistahKurtz 7 years ago
MistahKurtz
For the record, I absolutely and universally oppose capital punishment.
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 7 years ago
Justinisthecrazy
I can't vote on this because I believe to strongly with being Pro Capital Punishment that I would be being bias. But in all fairness It is time to care more about the victims rights than the criminals rights.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Based upon what was argued, Con made the better case.

Neither side provided any references to claimed facts. Are these quotes copied from standard debate crib sheets?

The doctrine of moral equivalence is so flimsy I'm surprised it was not attacked more vigorously by Con. If capital punishment is a crime like murder then imprisonment must be a crime just like kidnapping and fines must crimes just like theft. The equivalence is nonsense.
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
In all fairness, I can't say too much concerning the DP as you are in mid debate, but I am new to debate as well. I am not, however, new to the DP argument as I do oppose it and have studied it. I will happily talk to you after your debate. As much as I support the pro on this argument, I will vote on the best debater.
Posted by Republican95 7 years ago
Republican95
Well, Im new to debating...any advice?
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
Pro,
the facts are on your side, you just need to find them and articulate them better. I would take the pro on this debate any day of the week.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Seerss 7 years ago
Seerss
Republican95MistahKurtzTied
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Vote Placed by MrMarkP37 7 years ago
MrMarkP37
Republican95MistahKurtzTied
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Republican95MistahKurtzTied
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