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Jena Sweeney


The third and last assignment was effective in getting students to reach into
the tools they have previously learned from the past two assignment, and to
show to the students how to effectively combine the tools they learned into
one assignment to create a multimodal rhetoric assignment argument
relating to a communicational technology. This assignment goes much
further into each lesson from the past two assignments, allowing students to
fully show that they have learned what is needed for the final assignment in
passing of the class.
This assignment would be very beneficial to many students learning how to
write an effective essay throughout their beginning college career. I found
this particular assignment challenging in that instead of being able to read
any article I could find on the topic, I had to sift through many articles to find
the exact information that I needed, as much of the information was just
repeated multiple times throughout a lot of the articles I found. This, and
having to read between the lines on a lot of the articles led to taking a bit
more time than I would have liked for this assignment to have taken, causing
me to shove the assignment onto the backburners for a while in order to get
other assignments done for the rest of my classes and to study for major
tests I had coming up. If this assignment had been assigned a few weeks
later, I would have had a much easier time accomplishing it, where it was
assigned at a time that left me with almost no time to work on it, no matter
how I managed my time, forcing me to prioritize everything that was due.
This assignment was almost identical, if not longer, than other assignments I
had to do all throughout my High School English classes. I feel as though that
even with this assignment being helpful to many students, it was redundant
for me. This assignment is one that I feel like I have done many times over,
as controversy papers are a popular topic amongst the teachers that I had
each year in High School.

The Death Penalty

Jena Sweeney

The Death Penalty should be used only in cases of severe crimes and
not in any other case of crime. Many believe that the Death Penalty should
be used more often than it is currently used today, where many others
believe that the Death Penalty should not be used in any case and should be
abolished once and for all. Both sides of this controversy have very distinct
arguments of strong words and opinions on the topic that use social media
and the internet to spread awareness on their thoughts and opinions in
quicker and broader scopes than they would have the ability to without the
technological advances of today.
The controversy surrounding the Death Penalty is a controversy of
Policy, and whether or not the Death Penalty is a punishment that should still
be used in current day situations and if so how often and for what crimes it
should be used for. Even though it is frowned upon to believe that the Death
Penalty should still be used, it is still a common opinion amongst many
Americans and actively argued. That being said, the opposing argument that
the Death Penalty should be abolished once and for all, never to be used
again in any scenario no matter how horrible the crime committed, is still a
strongly fought side. There is also a large argument that sits in the rift

between the two major sides, stating that the Death Penalty should be used
in some cases where the crime committed was severe and caused either
intentional murder or severe long-term trauma to its victims, but should not
be used for cases of smaller crime that did not cause severe long-term
trauma or large-scale intentional murder but instead consisting of burglaries.
Those that believe that the Death Penalty should be abolished argue
that the Death Penalty takes away the right of life to an individual and that
no crime is worth the value of a life, even if the crime itself took many lives.
It is also argued that the Death Penalty is applied to criminals at random,
leaving it to a lottery based system with no rhyme or reason. Many believe
that it is unconstitutional to let the chance of lottery decide whether or not
an individual gets to continue living their life or have their life end by the
hands of another human.
The argument also includes that individuals chosen for the Death
Penalty are also chosen by race and location. They believe that individuals
that are of minority races or other countries are chosen on purpose for the
Death Penalty over the individuals who do not fit any of the previous criteria.
They also argue that individuals who kill whites or Americans are more likely
to receive the Death Penalty than those who kill or harm African-American
individuals or individuals who are from another country. The argument states
that many innocents are also tried and taken to death row on account of
belief in finding the individual guilty, even though the individual is later
found to actually be innocent after the execution of the Death Penalty for

that individual. The Death Penalty is believed to put many innocents in

danger of losing their lives for crimes they did not commit (
Arguments from this side of the controversy also state that it costs
more to execute a criminal than it does keeping the individual in a prison
cell; taking more money from the taxpayers of the country than what is
necessary. They believe that it is more cost effective to keep the millions of
prisoners in cells that have been proven on occasion to be not fully effective
in keeping skilled prisoners where they belong, where they are needed to be
fed and taken care of and maintenance is required to ensure that the cell
cannot be broken out of. The believe it is more cost effective for the country
to station more and more fully trained officers in prisons to ensure the safety
of every individual in the country by patrolling the prison cells, armed, to
keep the clever and dangerous criminals at bay.
The Death Penalty is legal and actively used in thirty-two states,
leaving only eighteen states to have banned the Death Penalty. This
significant difference shows that more of the country agrees with the use of
the Death Penalty than the wish to abolish it, as well as showing how
effective it is believed to be. Many of the arguments against the Death
Penalty can be used to fight for the Death Penalty if the individual looks at
the article of topic from a different view. Crime in itself is seen as a mean for
an individual to receive higher undeserved benefits by disrupting the
liberties and peace of other individuals, inflicting either or both physical and
emotional pain to the victims (ProCon.Org).

Morality is a large topic fought within the controversy over the Death
Penalty, mainly stating that a crime is not worth a life. Looking at that
opinion, you can also argue that a life is worth a life, being two of the same.
Crimes that take lives should not exist, morally reasoning. If an individual
takes a life out of malicious intent, then no one person can guarantee that
they will not take more lives willingly later on; that their life is worth keeping
around to accomplish said horrors to many more innocent lives. Many argue
that once the crime of death, rape, or torture are committed, then morals are
taken out of the situation or can be accounted for by giving justice to the
crimes committed and closure to the people effected by said crimes.
Newer methods of execution have been established that are
considered to be as humane as they can currently get and are fully functional
in all thirty-two states that have continued to legalize the Death Penalty. This
has, for the most part, abolished many of the opposing arguments stating
that the Death Penalty is inhumane and inflicts pain upon the criminals
before they are killed. The change in execution methods is due to a
continuous conflict over whether or not the execution methods could be
classified as Cruel and Unusual, even though each conflict was turned down
by the Court.
The argument that innocent lives are put in danger through the Death
Penalty can also be abolished through the research that found that since
1976, no innocents, through evidence, have been executed through the
Death Penalty (ProCon.Org). Many worry that innocent lives will be mistaken

as guilty and sent to Death Row because of insufficient evidence, but history
shows that the Court has worked hard to find thorough evidence to prove the
individual guilty, all of which is reviewed by many different systems to
ensure authenticity, before anything is decided of the individual. With this
system, there is little to no room for an innocent to accidentally slide through
the cracks into Death Row.
After the 2011 execution of Troy Davis in Georgia, a large wave of
arguments came to Social Media over whether the Death Penalty should be
abolished. Many believe that the execution of Davis was unwarranted, many
of his family leading the arguments on Social Media platforms. With this new
outreach of opinion, the believed percentage of Americans who oppose the
Death Penalty has now reached about 35-40%, where it was previously 16%
in 1994 (Rust-Tierney, Diann). Even with the steady increase in opposers,
those that stand with the Death Penalty are still dominating the playing field,
keeping the practice consistently in full use within thirty-two states.
That being said, a few states did take notice of the growing oppositions
to the Death Penalty after the Social Media riot over the execution of Troy
Davis in 2011. Illinois was one of the few states that took action after the
increase in opposition and abolished the Death Penalty within the state the
same year, stating that the chance of executing an innocent life plays into
how the states very integrity is viewed, and cannot be chanced (RustTierney, Diann). This particular execution, including the millions of outcries

against it, is a major turning stone within the popular opinion of the Death
Penalty within the political fields.
The rise in arguments within the Social Media platforms over the
execution of Troy Davis can mainly be accounted for by the mass coverage
over informing Media platforms largely throughout Georgia, New York, and
California. Previous executions did not bring this much talk or attention to the
general public or Social Media, where they were not heavily covered across
informative Media platforms. Through studies, it is shown that in areas where
the Media coverage told different information or did not tell the full amount
of information on the possible execution of Troy Davis and his committed
crime, the general opinion on the Death Penalty was changed and more
likely to oppose the execution than the areas where separate information on
the crime and execution was covered (NewsReputation).
The debate and controversy over the Death Penalty has been proven in
many ways to be heavily influenced by the growth of Media coverage and
Social Media activity. Even with a shift in opinion, the popular opinion still
stands just as strong as it has for years that the Death Penalty should be
legalized across America and should be continued to be used as it has been
since its re-legalization in 1972, as almost 80% of Americas population still
agrees with its legalization and use for crimes containing intentional manslaughter.

"The Facts: 13 Reasons to Oppose the Death Penalty." OADP, 2016.
Top 10 Pros and Cons Death Penalty. Headlines.,
13 Apr. 2009. Web.
Rust-Tierney, Diann. Publics Changing Attitudes of Capital Punishment.
The Huffington Post., 6 Nov. 2013. Web.
NewsReputation. Troy Davis Case: Media Coverage and Death Penalty
Debate. REPUTATION METRICS. Reputation Metrics, 09 Mar. 2012. Web.