Capital punishment is a brutal, antiquated concept that must be abolished in the name of civilized society.
A humane culture cannot abide the organized extermination of human beings in the name of justice. In the United States, dozens of people are put to death every year like stray animals, only perhaps in less humane ways. The methods of capital punishment vary greatly, but none are publicly accepted as humane. Society's support for the death penalty is waning, but there is still enough support in the United States to keep it legal in many states.
The death penalty exercises only the most primal instincts to kill and extract revenge in an organized fashion. This is why the death penalty must be abolished entirely: to allow society to function in a civilized manner in which every person has the right to live. Capital punishment is hypocritical, selection is arbitrary and biased, and the practice itself is cruel and inhumane.
By allowing the organized extermination of living human beings the government is telling the public that they have the right to extinguish anyone they think is a murderer.
The very idea of killing another for killing is inherently hypocritical. By enforcing capital punishment, the government is telling the public that it is okay to kill as long as you have more power than the person you are killing. This is of course a very cut-and-dried interpretation, but it is what the message boils down to. The problem with such a hypocritical notion as an eye for eye, is its fundamental inconsistency. In order to practice; what they preach, the courts would have to find a way to steal from thieves, betray traitors, and rape rapists.
This is obviously ludicrous. Besides the central hypocrisies and inconsistencies of the punishment itself, the selection of those subjected to it is also unfair and prejudiced.
Race, social status, economic status, level of education, and location of crime are key in the selection of those to be executed. The fate of one man's life often depends on the whims and prejudgements of the jury he is granted.
Only 0.3 % of those convinced of crimes eligible for capital punishment are sentenced to death. Of course, one may think it good that such a relatively small number of people are executed, but this number represents the frivolous inclination of the legal system. In fact, since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the United States in 1976, only five white persons have been executed for killing a black person. This tells the public that the value of their lives depends on their race and the jury's opinion of them.
This sets back years of struggle for civil rights in the North America. Society suffers in the face of such and pre-dispose 'justice'. Besides being arbitrary in selection, once selected, the condemned must undergo a series of cruel and torturous events. The enforcement of capital punishment is a sadistic and macabre activity which appeals to the more grim aspects of human nature: wrath and malice.
The condemned is told of his execution date and is then confined in a maximum security prison to await his execution. This is hardly a fitting punishment even if one believes that death is the answer. "For there to be an equivalence between criminal homicide and execution," Albert Camus wrote, "the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who from that moment onward had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life." The fact that society feels such abhorrence for murders is veritably human, but to then do exactly to the criminal what caused them to hate the criminal in the first place is ridiculous.
It is fitting that the guilty should be sentenced to life in prison, which is certainly not a pleasant experience by any measure. This should suffice as punishment that does not violate the very fabric of modern society. The execution, once arrived at after years of waiting in fear, is brutal and primitive. Killing someone is not quite as simple as switching on a light. It requires violent trauma that eventually stops the brain from functioning one way or another. The five methods of execution used in the United States are electrocution, hanging, poisoning, gassing, and even shooting.
The process is never as clean and efficient as a humane death should be and occasionally, things go wrong. Most of the time, those executed are fitted with a hood to spare spectators the gruesome contortions of pain the face undergoes, and allows them to view the person as more of an object. This brutality cannot be tolerated.
The main argument against capital punishment as morally objectionable as it is, is cost. It is a documented fact, however, that the cost of a capital trial combined with the jail term and execution is exorbitantly more expensive than supporting the prisoner for the rest of ' his life in jail.
In fact, in many cases it has been 200% to 400% more costly.
The fact that capital punishment has survived thus far is due primarily to the fact that it appeals to man's bloodlust and need for revenge. While civilized law in the United States has stated it wrong to simply kill someone deemed "deserving", it has not stated it wrong for the government to kill those deemed "deserving". Consequently, there are laws in place that allow the punishment of murder, by murder. Society's integrity is diminished every time a criminal is executed.
The very tenets of modern organization are opposed to the notion of capital punishment, yet this is constantly defied and ignored by the American legal system. If no changes are made and the death penalty remains an acceptable form of punishment, it is inevitable that this correctional method will bleed throughout the American legal system and be utilized for "potential murderers" and small-time thieves.
The mentality that encourages organized murder in the name of justice is doomed to devour the society that supports it, creating a totalitarian culture governed by paranoia. Society must voice its opposition to capital punishment before it pays dearly for a for it.