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

We should bring back gladiators for the death penalty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2016 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,394 times Debate No: 97881
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




In ancient Roman times, the gladiatorial arena was an amazing spectacle to watch. and yet, we can no longer are allowed to make such games. However, I propose that we send people that commit violent crimes to a great gladiator pit every year to fight each other. The last man standing would be allowed to go to the military.

The arena would help in many ways, including, but not limited to:

Lower taxes. With all violent offenders going to fight in the death pits, prisons will not cost as much. Plus, the revenue it produces can pay for anything that the fights will require (armor, weapons, arena repairs, etc.). That way, it will stay private, and government cannot corrupt it. Which brings me to the next benefit.

Entertainment. People from all of the country if not the world would travel hundreds of miles to watch the games. People would become happier in general.

Justice. Basically, you get to watch a child rapist get gang-shanked.

Good luck


First, I'd like to thank my opponent for creating this debate, and wish him the best of luck.

My opponent's argument is, quite frankly, a sadistic and sociopathic one. I really don't have any other words for it. He completely dismisses the human element of the problem. At no point does he attempt to justify, or even address how it is OK to sentence people who have committed a violent crime to an equally violent death. We're in a civilized society, one that has moved past the barbaric "Eye for an eye" rules of old. It is incredibly cruel to say that people are deserving of horrible deaths. We need to behave mercifully towards all people. My opponent makes no case for how such a horrible practice would in any way be justifiable, and quite frankly it isn't. We've been moving towards a more humane form of executions or getting rid of them. To rebuild the brutal and sadistic games of the past is a massive step against progress. One bad mistake, one act of unrestrained anger resulting in a death should not justify sending someone to die in brutal combat. This would be a system that takes people's entire lives away for one mistake with no chance of retribution.

Secondly, no legal system is fool-proof. 4.1% of people sentenced to death are innocent. This means one out of every twenty five men in that arena would be innocent. To sentence such a huge amount of peopel to such a sadistic form of death would be insanely cruel. By opponent could try to argue that they would only be sentenced to such a thing if the juries were 100% sure, but such a thing isn't possible. There's never 100% certainty of guilt. No, instead this act would not only punish an insanely high margin of people to a death they had not earned, but a particularly cruel and sadistic one.

Third, this system would be hugely unfair and biased. Unfortunately, with the way the justice system works, its the poor classes that are being forced into lifes of crime. Many of these people are no different from us, only in worse circumstances. Tell me, if you were in an awful life, and by robbing a bank you could improve it and help out your family, would you do it? For many of these people, they have no choice. Still, this system would hugely discriminate against these people just like you or I in these situations. Not only that, the rich who would be able to hire better lawyers and use their vast amount of wealth and influence would likely, as we see with the current system, get off a lot more. Thus, this system is hugely unfair and regressive.

Fourth, it glorifies violence. For those watching these massive events, they would only glorify violence. You're making it a spectacle, giving violence an audience of an epic scale to see these brutal acts. This only encourages violent behaviour, and promotes violence as not only a solution, but something that deserves an audience. Violence is being encouraged as an acceptable solution to problems, and people are having real life, brutal violence being supported by the government and used an "entertainment" that ticket's are being sold to. Violence becomes trivial and supported as entertaiment, which would have bruatl consequences on society in general.

A small issue would be the fate of the winner. One, my opponent claims that his solution is just. Current solutions don't involve child rapists being freed to join the military. What could be just about having some terrible person who could've done horrible things getting offbecause he won the fight and was the most violent? Is this just? No, of course not. It's an insult to those who were hurt by this individual.

Source 1:
Debate Round No. 1


You say we live in a civilized society. What is crime if not the very definition of dissidence toward civilization? When a man commits a violent act, he is using uncivilized tactics. Unfortunately, many still employ this tactic, and we must quell it somehow. Now, we have a few ways of doing this: keeping them in prison for life, executing them, or re-educating them. Prison simply is too expensive , costing taxpayers billions for no good reason. Why should an inmate get over $30,000 spent on him/her when people who have never committed a crime must work for that? At the very least, we should bring back prisoner labor (not them picking up trash, I mean actual labor, like chain gangs.) Re-education is also a terrible idea because anyone could fake their way through, and it happens all the time, even today. When people get out of jail, they are more likely than not to commit another crime. Also, the whole point of the death penalty is so people avoid committing crimes in the first place.

My opponent claims one cannot be 100% sure of guilt, but does not explain why. If the jury is not 100% sure, the man will be exempt from going to the arena unless he chooses to.

Poor people are not forced into lifes of crime. They look at the benefits and the consequences of the crime, and decide it would be worth doing because the consequences are not substantial enough. With a gladiator arena, people would not want to do the same crime that before would only send them to prison.

Of course violence may become more prevalent in society, but we wouldn't restrict gladiators to only prisoners. Voluntary competitors would be allowed in as well. Being a criminal as a prerequisite might not work out well. Here is something to think about: Did the gladiator arenas make Romans a less civil? As far as I can tell, they were the most civilized society around. Certainly not the surrounding societies. Perhaps China, or India may be considered civilized in that time, yet not to the perspective you refer to which is the West. Crime rates in Rome do not seem like something that was too important, especially not violent crime. From this example in history, we can infer that gladiator games do not increase violent crime, or at least see it was not as significant as you make it out to be.

I understand your concern about the winner, and it is true, it might not be the best solution. However, serving overseas in a unit with other prisoners wouldn't be some utopia, and I doubt many winners would come out unscathed. It would simply be a reason to actually fight.


Yes, crime is uncivilized. But the fact that uncivilized things happen does not mean we should haphazardly abandon all traces of civility by following through with this. I wouldn't necessarily be against using prisoners for work if conditions were humane. But your arguemnet against re-education is completely wrong. Sure, people could fake their way through the system. But if we shifted the prison system towards rehabillitation. The reason people are more likely to commit another crime is because they're spent the last however many years of their life being punished, they have no education and we've given them no real chance of a job. They system is meant to punish at the moment, and these people who made a mistake and want to get better aren't given a chance. The death penalty has never been a real deterrent. As Source 2 shows, 88% of Criminologists believe it's not a deterrent.

We can never be 100% sure of anyone's guilt. There's always a chance that the , so this system wouldn't work. We've seen this in the statistics. The juries are sure in all these cases where they're being sentenced to death, but 4% were wrong. There's always a chance that evidence could come about exonerating anyone, so my opponent's claim that it'll only happen if the jury is 100% just dismisses this issue against the evidence. We already have a system where if the jury isn't sure the man doesn't get executed. That's not working.

Poor people are most definitely forced into crime. When you're growing up in areas with undeveloped infrastructure with no real job prospects, no family to support you and the only option to support your family is crime, yes, they're being forced to it. Also, you've failed to address how the rich would use their wealth to take advantage of this system like they've done with the current system. This wouldn't even work as a deterrent, because the death penalty hasn't.

We do not want violence to become more prevalent in society. That would become a bad thing. Raising the general violence of a society just lowers the standard of living for everyone. You ask did the gladiator arenas make Rome less civil? Yes, quite frankly, it did. It led to a culture that exonerated the glory of violence above all else. China and India were fairly civilized at the time. I don't know why you seem to exclude them because they're not in the West. As we can see with Source 3, Crime was rampent. You make no attempt to justify why you think the crime rate wasn't high, just saying that and making no more mention of it.

Here, this shows the massive injustice of your system. The family will see the man who ruined their lives get off. They don't get some sort of utopia, but they get off. Your response to them and their struggle in a shrug and saying "They don't get utopia!" This system is massively unjust.

All in all, we can see that this system is hugely uncivilized and brutal, we can see it would lead to the death of many innocent people, it unfairly victimizes the poor, it is hugely unjust and it increases crime and the glorification of violence, We can see with this that this is a broken and absurd system, and we should in no way stand for it. Thank you.

Source 2:
Source 3:
Debate Round No. 2


Once someone breaks the law, why should they be protected by it? I mean, they don't think that the laws should be there, or maybe just that they shouldn't apply to them, but nevertheless, they cannot expect a one sided law system. Rehabilitation might be a solution, but the games would produce far more money for programs to make rehab a choice for offenders of nonviolent crimes. Consensus proves nothing. If you asked the scientists and philosophers of Ancient Greece what the elements are, they would tell you fire was among them. Surely a consensus would agree. Yet it was not true, by our standards. Evidence what is needed to show that it is not a deterrent, perhaps showing how crime rates differ under countries. That would not be helpful for me, but after taking it into account, I have also looked into the lowest homicide rates of countries, and found that Japan, Bahrain, Singapore are in the top 6 lowest crime rates, yet they still use the death penalty. It seems it is likely that the death penalty does not deter crime, as you have said, yet I still retain that it could reduce crime by killing violent criminals.

In any system, innocent people will be found guilty. However, how is it worse to kill them rather than let them live on in a prison full of real criminals? It would be an awful life for most.

Forced is the wrong word. Pressured is a much more accurate term. However, under no circumstances should crime be tolerated. If you give in to one person, you create a grey area, and then it is impossible to have laws that matter.

The gladiator pits would doubtfully cause violence on the streets. If we allow an outlet to use the violence, the death pits, they could go there instead. Sorry about the Rome thing, you are right, but I don't see how it has a correlation with gladiators, most ancient cities have crime.

I will concede , the win should probably not be too good, but perhaps the winner could get some other reward, such as he gets to live on in prison.

Sorry about my brief points, I am in a hurry right now.


Why should someone be protected by the law if they break it? Because that's how society works. That's a huge necessity for it. If I speed, I'm not therefore tufted out of society.

I'll now talk about which is beneficial to society by resources. By dedicating resources to this idea in building it, society as a whole is not benefitting, it is losing out. Sure, the government might benefit from it through people paying for it, but society as a whole isn't benefitting as the standard of living is only falling due to the violence caused, and even I doubt that a project such as this would make its money back, as my opponent has failed to prove. If we actually set these people to work, society as a whole will benefit as their labour will raise the standards of living and can be put to work improving the country.

My opponent then tries to argue with the idea of consensus. Yeah sure, scientists were once wrong about fire being an element. Now they're not. That's how science works. We look at the evidence and slowly we get closer to knowing the truth. If you're going to say science can be wrong, hence let's not look at it, you're disavowing all the knowledge we have for it. The fact is, the vast amount of experts in this field have looked at the evidence, and that. You make a point about countries with low crime rates without providing any sources. There's a myraid of other factors to take into account. It seems my opponent is happy to disagree with the opinion of 88% of scientists, but would instead like to go broad and just start listing out countries without any regard for other factors. By the murder rates in Source 4, seeing as we're talking about violent crime, the majority of the top six don't have the death penalty. My opponent is still trying to argue with the vast majority of criminologists, and it's clear to us: this is not a deterrent.

Are you seriously arguing that forcing someone to fight to the death in a gladiator fight is a better fate than prison? No, it's most definitely not. Not only this, if they're imprisoned, they can be released in the case of evidence exonerating them.

The law should not be a harsh no exceptions case. There's a reason judges can give different sentences for the same crime, because there's different circumstances. This means that we're not bound by rigid rules, but we apply these rules alongside reason and logic for a better, more equal system. My opponent's refutation of how this would victimize the poor is basically a shrug and a "What are you going to do?" while disregarding how the system works.

Again, my opponent fails to acknowledge the point I've made about how the legal system would have rich people using their power and influence to escape such a sentence as we already see happening.

Glorifying violence as a form of entertainment and a solution would most definitely increase the levels of violence. The gladiator fighting would not be an outlet for violence, it would encourage it, holding it up as something that's entertaining, enjoyable and a solution to problems. Hell, you're even rewarding it for the winner. This is something we cannot allow. You've brought up Rome's crime rate in regards to the gladiators having an effect on it, then when you realize its actually the opposite you say there's no connection?

The justice issue still applies. This system is vastly unjust, as you'll be forcing and giving someone a better condition because they were the best at violence, rewarding it and forcing somewhere to watch. The fact that you want to make the reward prison not only doesn't change the fact that this is vastly unfair, but it also you moving the goal posts for the premise you gave in your opening.

All in all, we can see that this is bad for society, encourages and rewards violence, is hugely unfair to classes, punishes innocent people, and is unjust. It for these reasons I argue we do not do this barbaric practise. Thank you.

Source 4:
Debate Round No. 3


I will come to a compromise: The gladiators could consist of voluntary competitors, which could include prisoners, but no one is forced to fight. Winner gets half the profit generated by the games, and if it is a prisoner the prisoner could give the money to his family. If we live in a free society, that at least should be allowed.

You made great points this debate, and it was excellent fun. Thank you for your time.


Well, at this point my opponent has pretty much given up the premise of debate so there's really not much else to say on the actual debate topic, but instead he makes another point about perhaps a volunteer-based system, I'm not sure why seeing as it's not what the debate is about, but I'd be happy to talk about why I'd also be against that. If he'd like, I'd be happy to debate that as its own issue.

With the forced prisoner system out of the way to be replaced by volunteering, you pretty much remove all of the benefits mentioned earlier. It's not just, it doesn't lower taxes, and I highly doubt people would find it entertaining. It still promotes and encourages violence, and now has no benefits. The only seeming thing suggested that we live in a free society, which we don't. People aren't free to drive without insurance or a license, you're not allowed to do heroin, or torture animals, or a whole bunch of things. Sure, we have a degree of freedom, but we're not absolutely free, and I think that's a good thing. Unrestrained freedom is anarchy.

Thank you for creating the debates. I had good fun. I hope we debate again some time.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Midnight_Wind 1 year ago
What... 8th amendment. All I can say. But wow Beardon. Really?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by BlargArgNarg 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: I wouldn't call it a draw, but I couldn't really see a winner. Congrats to both of you.