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Charlie Plamondon

Mr. Conrad
ERWC, Period 5
14 October 2015
Capital Punishment
Let me ask you a question. Would you rather save eighteen lives or save one life? Most
people would say eighteen without even a thought. However, to save those eighteen lives you
have to execute a criminal convicted of a capital punishment. And that is where it gets tricky.
Capital Punishment is punishment for a crime that results in death. Also known as the death
penalty or execution, it is the highest punishment a convicted criminal can be sentenced too.
There are many that would argue that capital punishment should not but legal or practiced. For
reasons such as: individuals with mental health issues, wrongly accused, and the cost. Similarly
there are those who believe that capital punishment should be legal and practiced because it
deters crime (esp. murder) and sets an example that murder, rape, torture etc. are not tolerated
and if found guilty you will face the the ultimate punishment of death. Regardless of personal
views, beliefs, and opinion, capital punishment has been proven to deter crime and save lives.
Therefore, Capital Punishment should be legal and practiced nationwide.
Recent studies ... have confirmed what we learned decades ago: Capital punishment
does, in fact, save lives. (Qtd. in Muhlhausen). Professors from many universities around the
nation have studied the effect that capital punishment has on murder rates. Professors from
Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia found that each execution, on average, results in 18 fewer
murders. (Muhlhausen). This is not just an opinion or belief, the Professors used a panel data
set of over 3,000 counties from 1977 to 1996... to compare the relationship between executions

and murder incidents before, during, and after the U.S. Supreme Court's death penalty
moratorium. (Muhlhausen) Similarly, Federal Communications Commission economist, Paul
Zimmerman found, Using state-level data from 1978 to 1997...that each additional execution,
on average, results in 14 fewer murders. If the following information is still accurate today, than
the number of lives saved each year would be staggering. Currently there are 3,002 inmates on
death row in the United States. If each one was executed then anywhere between 42,028 to
54,036 lives would have been or would be saved. In other words there would have been no
murders (number wise) between 2010-2013! And this is just from the number of inmates on
death row. If each criminal that is found guilty of murder was sentenced to death then the
number of americans saved each year would be astronomical. The number could be as high as
13.5 million lives. Overall, capital punishment makes complete sense. Taking the life of the few
that have already taken the life of another makes more since then saving their life and losing
millions more.
There are two major arguments that many used to argue that capital punishment should
not be legal or used. The first reason is that capital punishment is a Cruel and Unusual
Punishment and in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Michael
Scaljon states that rather than being cruel and unusual, capital punishment actually treats
murderers with more kindness and dignity than their victims receive. (Scaljon) Here Scaljon is
basicly using the eye for an eye principle that is originally from the Old Testament, Matthew
5:38-5:39. Although in this situation Scaljon is saying that capital punishment is not cruel or
unusual because the convicted murder is executed peacefully. In the United States there are 5
methods of execution: lethal injection, electrocution, hanging, gas chamber, firing squad. All of
which result in the peaceful death of convicted murder not a cruel or unusual death. As Scaljon

puts it at the end of this article, the simple fact is that the death penalty is an effective and just
way to mete out punishment for heinous crimes. Those who commit brutal crimes should be put
to death and not executing them puts all of society in danger." (Scaljon) What murders do to their
victims is far more cruel and unusual than anything else. Murders take the life of another, many
times without remorse where as capital punishment takes the life of a criminal that is too
dangerous and too insane to safely coexist with society.
The second argument that many make is that capital punishment is not the right
punishment for the mentally ill. This is a major reason for the anti death penalty case. Many
argue that mental illness is an illness; people don't [commit crimes] because they want to.
When people aren't able to get the treatment or the services that they need, they can become
violent. (Qtd. in Shaffer). However this issue still remains that a human has still killed another.
Mental illness is a very serious issue but it should not be an excuse for murder or any other
crime. The use of Capital Punishment sends a strong and clear message, that murder, is not
tolerated and the punishment for the crime is death. With one exception "A perpetrator should go
unpunished ... only if he is found to be completely divorced from reality by diagnosticians from
both sides, a far cry from today's insanity defense." (Qdt. in Vaknin) Still, the unfortunate truth is
that many times the mentally ill [fall] through the cracks," (Shaffer) and that police, social
agencies, and even families and untrained, uneducated, and confused on how to deal with the
mentally ill. Furthermore, as a society we are unwilling to deal with the situations. Families try
and give up, law enforcement isn't trained, and public health departments are not funded. So
what happens. The mentally ill get violent, there is not a big punishment and the public moves
on. If capital punishment is used then society with start to understand that the mentally ill need

help right away. Then families, law enforcement, and public health will start to take more interest
in the issue this lies in front of us and more lives will be saved.
In Conclusion, capital punishment has been proven to deter crime and save lives.
Legalizing capital punishment nationwide and actually using it if a sure way to lower murder
rates and make a positive impact in society. With the American public overwhelmingly
[supporting] capital punishment. lets make it happen. (Muhlhausen) Let's save lives. And lets
Make America Great Again (Trump).

Works Cited
Muhlhausen, David. "The Death Penalty Deters Crime." The Death Penalty. Ed. Jenny Cromie
and Lynn M. Zott. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from
"The Death Penalty Deters Crime and Saves Lives." 2007. Opposing Viewpoints in
Context. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
Sheffer, Susannah. "People with Mental Illness Should Be Exempt from the Death Penalty." The
Death Penalty. Ed. Jenny Cromie and Lynn M. Zott. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2013.
Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "The Death Penalty: The Wrong Direction." Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
Scaljon, Michael. "The Death Penalty Is Not Cruel and Unusual Punishment." The Death
Penalty.Ed. Mary E. Williams. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2002. Opposing
Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
Trump 2016 Campaign. Donald Trump, n.d. Web.
Vaknin, Sam. "Many People with Mental Illness Should Not Be Exempt from the Death
Penalty."The Death Penalty. Ed. Jenny Cromie and Lynn M. Zott. Detroit: Greenhaven
Press, 2013. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 19
Oct. 2015.