Death Penalty Should be Abolished

Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “There is a certain right by which we many deprive a man of life, but none by which we may deprive him of death; this is mere cruelty.” With that being said, I strongly disagree with the death penalty.

David Hume’s wrote about “Enquiry concerning human understanding” and stated in those texts that we cannot justify these inferences about whether or not someone is capable of making the same mistake or actions repeatedly, through someone else’s ideas. We cannot justify future predictions from past experiences without some principles that indicate that our past determines our future. With that being said, who are we to take away someone else’s life because we “think” it would decrease crimes and prevent people from murdering other people. David humes mentioned, “Our inferences regarding matters of fact are ultimately based in probability. If experiences teaches us that two events are conjoined quite frequently, the mind will infer a strong cause link between them.”

Furthermore, “Authorities cannot claim the death penalty’s existence prevents crimes of murder; and often, the statistics do not support this claim anyhow (Lamperti, 2010).” I believe that the states who have the capital punishments have higher crime rates of murder than the states who do not have the capital punishment due to statistics. Also, there is a huge possibility that an innocent person may be put to death; for example, David Spence, Sabrina Butler, and George Stinney, as well as many other innocent lives being taken away. By taking away someone’s life because they took away someone else’s life is far from humane. How do two wrongs make a right? How many people would be the ones to pull the switch on someone else’s life? VERY few.

I have done my own research on why people become serial killers, and majority of them are NOT born that way. They are transformed that way by tragic experiences they endured. Others may argue that the experiences someone has been through does not give them the right to murder someone because not everyone turns to that route; But, not everyone has support from their families when they are sexually abused, mentally ill, or depressed. Not everyone has access to money for treatment. People are mentally and emotionally destroyed after being sexually abused or physically abused. For example, Aileen Wuornos who is known as a serial killer but not everyone knows about the tragic experiences she went through that led her to murder the men.

As a child she was raped by her father multiple times, she ran away from home in her teens and became a prostitute as a way of survival. She encountered men who was physically abusive with her and treated her unfairly, which led her to kill them because they triggered her natural instinct to protect herself. She turned to drugs as a coping mechanism because she did not have her parents to talk to, she did not have the money to see a therapist when she was raped by her father, and that could have changed the person she became. Why is it that we turn to death instead of seeking treatment for these individuals? Why are people inconsiderate and unforgiving. In my opinion, I believe we should be helping these individuals rather than murdering them.

People may argue that prison is more expensive than the death penalty, but that is arguable. “They require more lawyers, attorneys, leading to lengthy appellate waits while capable counsel is sought for the accused; security cost higher, cost for processing evidence, DNA testing (Caravan, 2005)”.

Although in Kant’s opinion “A death penalty is justified only regarding murder and not any other crime, unless it causes a very substantial damage to the society. It is impossible to allow a situation where a murderer would be entitled to any legal rights and would be able to justify his actions.” I strongly disagree with Kant’s opinion on the death penalty because he believes that it should be allowed to a certain extent, which is if a person murders someone.

But, what happens to the children or adults who are sexually abused? Is that not harsh enough to be put on the death penalty? Or is that not as severe in comparison to a crime of murder. I believe that it is just as serious as someone being murdered because it breaks a person mentally and emotionally. Kant was not being opened minded to other solutions on a person who has murdered someone. If your loved one murdered someone and you knew that was not the type of person that you remember them as, would you try and think of other solutions to help them regain consciousness to society? Or would you encourage the death penalty on them.

As I was listening to the speaker Joe Middleton he mentioned how if we do not consider the background on the person who murdered someone that is inconsiderate and inhumane. We should investigate on what the person to believe that violence was the answer. What did that person go through as a child or an adult that provoked them to murder someone. I found it interesting how he was talking about the country that my family and I are from, which is Belize. He was talking about how the death penalty was removed from Belize and is no longer used.

Ichinose once said, “Abolitionism (the death penalty should be abolished): generally argued through appeals to the cruelty of execution, the possibility of misjudgements in the trial etc.” I emphasize that the death penalty is horrifying and often misleading, which goes back to innocent people dying or being put on the death penalty row. Ichinose stated, “Is it true that the death penalty is the ultimate punishment? can we not suppose that the death penalty is less harmful than a life sentence or very lengthy incarceration? However, this view regarding the death penalty as less harmful than a lifelong sentence could lead to a paradox.”

This statement could be contradicting because “living” in prison for the rest of your life while your family, and friends move forward to accomplishing their goals could be depressing for a person who is sentenced life in prison. The thought of not being able to go to school, apply at jobs, watch your family grow, drive, and also do fun activities can be traumatizing for the person who is sentenced life in prison. I remember very vividly the day my brother was arrested and how much he missed out on for being in prison for a year, imagine your whole life. What is more punishing than having to repeat your daily routines in a prison?

Ichinose stated, “If this is the case, prisoners given the lifelong sentence will not make an effort at all to rehabilitate themselves, due to fear of the sentence being reduced to the death penalty. In addition, if a person is likely to be sentenced to death, the person might try to commit a more heinous crime, perhaps even in the court in order to be given a more severe sentence, i.e. a life sentence in prison. That is a paradox drawn from human nature.”

Karl Marx mentioned that the “Most detailed thoughts on capital punishment appeared in an article published in the New York Daily Tribune, February 18, 1853 (Marx, 1853). He constructed the article in the following way. First, he provided examples of cases that showed that the death penalty had a counter-deterrent or brutalizing effect; that is, that executions cause murders (Bohm, 2012).”

In conclusion, I will attain my belief on preventing the death penalty because it is far from humane. Murdering people is not the answer to crimes of murder. Taking away someone’s life because they murdered someone will do nothing, apart from removing another person off of this earth without providing them with counsel or forgiveness. There are no lessons being made with the death penalty, apart from presenting to people if they murder someone they will be on the death row.

Work Cited

  1. Ichinose, Masaki. “The Death Penalty Debate: Four Problems and New Philosophical Perspectives.” The University of Tokyo.
  2. Bohm, Robert. “Karl Marx and the Death Penalty.” 25 September 2008.
  3. Middleton, Joe.The Death Penalty TED talk video. “Abolishing The Mandatory Death Penalty.” 6 February 2017.
  4. Avaliani, Archil.“Kant- The Death Penalty”
  5. Humes, David. “Enquiry concerning human understanding”
  6. https://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/understanding/summary/