In Social Studies or classes to do with ethics, teachers and lecturers always try and pick an emotive subject to give an essay on. Death penalty questions are common fodder therefore and it’s very important to know how to approach such a nuanced topic. To write a death penalty argumentative essay one needs to have a very clear idea in their mind of what they want to say and how to deliver it clearly.
It has been a punishment for anti-social and criminal behavior maybe dating back to the dawn of human civilization. The Old Testament, for example, is full of crimes for which one should be put to death, including being disobedient to one’s parents! The central argument for retaining the death penalty is that it provides a deterrent to crime and keeps society in line. The problem with this is the fact that crime statistics across the world seem to show that crime levels have far more to do with society itself than the punishment potential criminals might face.
America is the highest profile western country that still maintains the death penalty, along with having the most prisoners in the world. Is this actually have a deterrent on violent crime (i.e something one could receive the death penalty for)? It would seem not, America still has the worst murder rate in the western world, four times higher than the UK, France and Germany and 8 times higher than Norway. It would seem that despite the threat of losing your own life if you take another’s, people still commit murder at a much higher rate than comparable countries across the world.
On top of that there is the question of how a state sees itself as an upholder of law. Blood begets blood as Shakespeare said and if a country sees it as acceptable to take the life of a human being, then what level of civilization do they actually aspire to. Is killing someone more acceptable if it is done by the state? Surely every human life should be sacred and by allowing a gray area where it is possible to give a reason for taking a life, the door is then opened for everyone who participates in that society to use their own reasons for killing too. The state should always uphold the highest morals of the country to give its citizens something to aspire to and allowing killing sets a very low bar of what’s expected.
As it doesn’t achieve its stated goal in discouraging people from committing extremely violent acts, and also in its own way shows citizens of a country that taking life is acceptable with the right reasoning, it is a surprise that the death penalty still exists. By taking the moral high ground and clearly stating that the taking of a life is never acceptable, countries, and especially America, can make the progression of civilization and peaceful coexistence among humans the central goal of our civilization, the way it should be.