This essay Death Penalty has a total of 1144 words and 4 pages.
One of the most controversial issues the United States has repeatedly dealt with in recent memory has been the institution of the death penalty. Now, the decision whether to implement the death penalty is a state level verdict which of course creates nationwide disagreement along with some level of social unrest. The two stances on this subject are rather black and white, either pro-death penalty or con- death penalty. The most effective form of implementation however is con- death penalty for a variety of reasons including; suspected targeting of racial minorities, government's right to take a life, as well as American citizens falling victim to cruel and unusual punishment.
There are basically two sides in the issue of targeting racial minorities, those who agree that minorities are being targeted and those who agree that they simply commit the majority of crimes in the United States. In the year 2007, African Americans accounted for approximately 13 percent of the entire population yet, nearly 50 percent of those on death row were African American (NAACP). Those numbers are irrefutable regardless of your stance on the issue. The conclusion will be identical, African Americans, in proportion to their population, commit more crimes than racial majorities, specifically White Caucasians, in proportion to their population (Peffley, Hurwitz, 1002). The moral dilemma that ensues is of course whether blacks are unjustly placed on death row simply because of their race or if the crimes they commit are especially heinous and/or abundant. Another problem that must be addressed is poverty's role in the spread of crime and in-turn the use of the death penalty. Now, poverty breeds crime, and across America, blacks as well as other minorities, are commonly impoverished which in many cases leads them into a life of crime. American support of the death penalty has swayed throughout the 20th century, but has generally remained strong, peaking at around 80 percent support in 1994 (Soss, Langbin, Metelko, 403). However due to racial disparities in the 21st century, support has gradually declined to 68 percent in 2002 (Soss, Langbin, Metelko, 404). America ranked 5th in the world in number of executions in the year 2009, killing 52 convicts and with nearly half of them being African American, the argument for racial targeting to arise again was inevitable and a decline in the support of the death penalty can be expected (Soss, Langbin, Metelko, 412). The most powerful and influential nation in the world should by no means support nor implement such primitive actions such as the executions of human beings. There is no doubt that blacks and other minorities are more readily put on death row and the controversy as to why that is will be a prominent issue in the U.S. for years to come.
What gives the government the right to take a life? Why must America fall victim to some kind of moral hierarchy? Nowhere in the American constitution does it grant the government the right to decide on a human being's fate. Nowhere does it state that those in the government are superior beings blessed with some sort of Mandate of Heaven. So why are government officials deciding on whether an American Citizen lives or dies? The key deciding factor in seeking the death penalty for a suspect being tried is heavily qualitative and somewhat trivial. If the crime committed appears to be extremely grotesque and barbaric such as cannibalism or rape, the court may seek the death penalty solely on the premise that the crime was repulsive and/or inhumane ( in their eyes). For example, a few years ago in the serial killing sniper case of John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, Allen who was in his mid-40's was sentenced to death because of his rampant killings across numerous states. His accomplice, Malvo, was underage but the prosecutor still sought the death penalty for his part in the killings. Despite the fact that he was merely a boy the justice system wanted to see him dead, now that is not to dismiss his actions or pardon them, but the pure aesthetic evidence in that case led the system to seek death for a boy (Morse, B.5). The final decisions in regards to executing convicts or not is heavily opinionated, the fact that the government has developed advanced and "clean" methods of executing individuals is the reason why they are
Topics Related to Death Penalty
Penology, Capital punishment in the United States, Crime in the United States, United States law, Capital punishment, John Allen Muhammad, Cruel and unusual punishment, Lee Boyd Malvo, Capital punishment debate in the United States, pro death penalty, racial minorities, social unrest, moral dilemma, american citizens, soss, falling victim, cruel and unusual punishment, caucasians, controversial issues, hurwitz, majorities, naacp, african americans, death row, disagreement, crimes, proportion, 20th century, poverty