One of the most controversial issues in the United States is the death penalty. The main argument deals with how far the government can go with the fate of one’s life before there is a morality issue. I will argue that the death penalty is not justified as the most effective means to justice. Punishing a murderer by using death is as wrong as intentional murder. Not only that, but too many innocent persons are executed when the death penalty is enforced Executions are also unnecessary since prisoners are already isolated from society. The death penalty is unjustifiable because it is intentional murder. To clarify, intentional murder includes someone choosing to take a life, with or without a plan, unless it is self-defense. People have attempted to justify their reasons for killing someone, in the past and present. The fifth-century Christian church tried to justify violence to control their subjects and prevent sin from touching their minds.
They believed that the state should be in charge of punishment because their people were not always capable of moral decisions. Similarly, people attempt to justify murder today with the death penalty. The need for control and upholding power drives people to kill, whether it involves killing innocent or guilty lives. It is the state that feels the need to stand by their power. Koch argues that the state has the responsibility to put innocent lives above guilty ones and believes the death penalty is the best way to rid ourselves of the “murderer’s deed”. It is understandable that the state should not keep guilty people alive at the expense of victims’ suffering. But by saying this, he is attempting to justify that murder is a perfectly rational approach if and only if it is administered by the state.
Although every approach should be considered when it comes to relieving the trauma of victims, it is not legal for victims of rape or the families of murdered victims to take action in their own hands. Victims are not allowed to kill, but it is acceptable for the state to conduct executions because their authority allows them to. This way of thinking is illogical because it is still murder, whether it involves a victim’s rage or the state’s ruling. Despite how accurate convictions seem, mistakes are still made no matter what. Bedau references to a list of admitted error in four hundred cases long; this excludes the possible errors after executions, since it is difficult to tell at that point if there was an error.
These mistakes, evidently, do happen, and they are not always recognized, This is why it is important to consider the possibility of killing innocent lives. If convicted murderers stay behind bars, perhaps solitary confined if needed, there is confidence they will not harm again. Yet, if the wrong person answers to a crime they did not commit, capital punishment cannot be the most rational way to uphold justice. Koch states that mistakes are not the main concernithe risk of executing an innocent person is not as big a risk as assuring convicted murderers do not kill again. By making that claim, Koch is not only saying that mistakes with executions rarely happen, but it is not a pressing issue when they do, The problem with his claim lies in the corruption of the system. If the threat of letting convicted murders back into society is so significant, it should be a priority to keep them away from society. Whether that involves adding years to sentences or eliminating parole, it is better than resorting to capital punishment. This way even the wrong people convicted will not have to die from the system’s mistakes.
Finally, we should not use executions because they are unnecessary when we consider the government’s role with them. The state should have the responsibility to keep prisoners from society, but they should not have the power to decide who lives and who dies. Isolating the murderers and not executing them caused Florida’s homicide rates to decrease by 17 percent, while homicide rates increased by 5.1 percent when executions began again (Bruck 135). This alone shows that murderers are not discouraged from killing and the government’s efforts to reduce murder were useless. Enforcing executions is, therefore, not needed, since they do more harm than good, The majority, if not all, people will side with the victim‘s hatred towards the murderer. Considering a victim’s perspective, wanting a murderer dead is a reasonable emotional response; they want to make sure the killer will never kill again. Koch argues that keeping a prisoner locked away is not enough to stop the killing He states that corrections officers are not exempt from harm by referring to assault taking place in the chaplain’s office.
He claims that there is no way to ensure safety until the murderer is dead but fails to realize that the murderer had taken advantage of the lack of security measures. While this does not excuse the murderer’s actions in any way, the state is at fault for allowing him the chance to attack because it is their responsibility to ensure the safety of the public, including their employees, If the state is taking all precautions to make sure a prisoner has no way of becoming a threat to society, assaults to corrections officers should not happen, There is indeed a desire to make murderers pay for their crimes by executing them, but prisoners will suffer more when left alone in a cell for a lifetime with their thoughts, I have argued that the death penalty is not most effective way to uphold justice. I explained how intentional murder is not morally justifiable, the possibility of error with executions makes them unethical, and the reasons behind executions do not mean they are necessary measures to take.