Murder is a form of offence, which involves the killing of another human being in an unlawful act. Murder is a crime that has continued to exist in society since the inception of life. Because it is a serious crime, it is subject to first death penalty law, which dates back to the eighteen century B.C… Initially, murder was considered a common practice that was subject to varied different punishment based on the cause that drove the murderer. To counter the dire consequences of murder, different cultures formulated their own codes to punish the act. Most renown Babylonians had complex codes that deter victims from it. Under there code, an individual who had committed more than twenty five were punishable by death. The crimes were critical which could have led to full life imprisonment. Surprisingly, murder was not one of the intricate complex crimes that had multiple forms of punishment since it was define from society to the other. For the Hebrews, the Hebrew bible set down rules of the law. “According to the Bible, an offender should give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand and foot for foot” (Guernsey, 2010). This means that when someone takes away a life, he or she should pay with his or her own. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and other groups, also imposed the death penalty for certain crimes. Several methods were employed in executing death sentences. These included crucifying, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement of the offenders.
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With time, a few writers and philosophers began to question whether the death penalty was just and ethical for the murderers. For example, in “1767, Cesare Beccaria, an Italian scholar, “wrote an essay in which he argued that capital punishment was barbaric. In his opinion, Beccaria noted that the threat of capital punishment was unlikely to prevent an individual from committing a crime in the future. To date, the death penalty has been a highly controversial and an extremely debated issue. Though capital punishment is intended to prevent the criminal from committing another crime, is the death penalty the best way to prevent crime? The proponents and opponents of the death penalty both share the desire to punish criminal behaviors, achieve justice for the victims of crime and protect the society. However, the two groups differ in their views on how the punishments should be accomplished.
With the rampancy of murder case, proponents of the death penalty believe that it is an effective way to discourage crime. They view the death penalty as a deterrent measure that will stop or lessen incidences of crime. With the death penalty as a consequence, people will think twice about commuting a murder that could lead to their own death. In addition, they believe that the death penalty brings the most justice to the victim of the murder. In 1985, a study by an economist, Stephen Layson at the University of North Carolina, showed that every execution of a murder deters on average, 18 murders. Moreover, the study showed that raising the number of death sentences would prevent 105 murders. Since England abolished capital punishment, the murder rate has subsequently increased, and released killers have murdered several English citizens. According to the New York Times magazine, one reason for the increase in attacks on young children in South Africa, is that rapist think that they will not contract AIDS, considering its high prevalent in the country. These rapists rarely attack gown up women because they fear the lethal consequences of AIDS infection. This is a clear demonstration that violent criminals are capable of being deterred by the fatal outcome of their actions. Likewise, the murderers are prevented for committing such crimes, if proper measures are used to adopt that hinder them and give them psychological stability.
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On the contrary, the objectors of the death penalty believe that it has proven to be an ineffective way to stop murder, flawed with race, gender and class bias. “More than half of the people legally executed in America since 1930 have been black, though blacks committed far less than half the blacks”. In addition, numerous studies have shown that the poor and members of minority groups receive the death penalty more often than the affluent offenders convinced of the same crime. In 1999, the American Bar Association, a national organization representing more than 400,000 attorneys across the United States, called for a halt on executions, because the death sentence was not handled out fairly (Kudlac, 2007).
Opponents of the death penalty believe that there are better ways to punish murder, and keep the society safe. Those found guilty of heinous crimes such as murder, should serve a life imprisonment. Moreover, when the death penalty is administered, and there is new evidence to prove that a person is innocent, there is no way to undo the sentence. Since 1977, 13 inmates on death row have been cleared of their charges while awaiting execution. During this time span, 12 inmates have been executed. Therefore, life imprisonment will take criminals out of the society, and they will no longer be a threat to public safety. The murders will be taken away from the society from where they would rehabilitated. In such a scenario, the murders could be psychological rehabilitated and could turn into productive human beings who could assist the society. In this case, the murder would be a tolerable and would seek means of alleviating the act in future reoccurrence (Robertson, 2002).
Therefore, if the death penalty were just as consistent and lethal like the AIDS virus, criminal would have a reason to back down. Crimes, which lead to the death of another individual, should be punished through the death penalty. It is a necessary evil. Throughout history, there have always been those individuals who are capable of violent crimes such as murder. Though someone may kill another person in self-defense or in a momentary fit of blind rage, others coldly plot and execute the murder of one or more people. Murder, just like all other crimes, is a subject of relative degree (Walker, 2008). Criminal in the first instance should be isolated from the society but such should not be the case for planned murders. However, there should be enough evidence to prove that the offender is guilty of the crime to rule out the possibility of punishing innocent people.
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