Nothing elicits more controversy than the question of validity of the death penalty. The debate continues to rage on whether or not the death penalty is appropriate in America, and indeed in any other country in the world. While proponents of the death penalty maintain that it is a commensurate retribution for some extremely violent crimes such as a murder, the opponents contend that death penalty has never deterred crime.
A case in point is the John William King’s debacle. John William King committed a crime that went beyond the realm of human behavior. He chained a black man to the back of his pickup and dragged him along the road till the black man’s body was torn into pieces. To further aggravate the matter, King shows neither remorse nor apology for his heinous crime. Owing to the gravity of this crime, many people thought the death penalty would be the most appropriate punishment for King.
It is important to get rid of people like King since they personify evil. The only legal way of ridding the society of evil men and women is through death penalty. King is said to have bragged about his inhuman racism, and went as far as attempting to recruit followers into a cultish movement in order to perpetuate grossly inhuman acts against the blacks. If left to interact freely with other members of the society, King is likely to cause more harm than good. Therefore, capital punishment would do the society a great service by committing King and others with the same mind-set, to the death chamber.
The death penalty in the US is also important as it establishes the much-needed equality and justice between the whites and blacks. Historically, the whites in America subjected their black counterparts to horrendous and grossly inhuman treatment. This stretches from the dark days of slave trade to the modern times. Therefore, the blacks in America can receive justice only if the perpetrators of heinous crimes undergo the capital punishment. King is an epitome of such inhuman people, and, therefore, should be committed to the death chamber.
The death penalty clearly has a place in the US. This is because the prosecution was able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that, indeed, King had committed the atrocity. There is always the fear that an innocent person may be hanged due to the short-comings in the legal fraternity. But where there is no shadow of doubt that a crime was committed, like in King’s case, the death penalty can be applied without much ado.
Nevertheless, there are those who argue that the death penalty has no place in the US. There are several reasons to support this stand. To start with, opponents of the death penalty aver that vengeance is a lost cause. This is because getting rid of a violent offender may not solve anything. For instance, whether King is executed or not, the life of the unfortunate black man will not be restored. Moreover, capital punishment may install the culture of vengeance in the society and this may tip the delicate balance in the society.
Secondly, it is not important to determine whether King deserves the death penalty, but, rather, whether the US needs a death penalty. Does the US need a death penalty? Definitely, no. This means that justice system has to establish other alternative ways of dealing with violent criminals. It would be important to address the root causes of such inhuman and unnatural activities. Committing one to the death chamber may not solve various challenges facing the society today. Such problems include social inequalities, as is the case in America.
Opponents of the death penalty further hold that capital punishment does not serve any good purpose at all. They observe that though capital punishment has been in existence for a long time, violent crime has never gone down. The world still witnesses horrible acts committed by people against fellow people.
Moreover, lack of equality in the society renders the death penalty ineffective. This is especially the case in the US, where the law is applied selectively on the basis of race and color. Opponents of capital punishment point out that the majority of the death-row inmates in courts across the US are blacks. If there were social equality in the US, and the law applied equally, then there would be no crime in the US.
Ultimately, though the death penalty may silence socially harmful individuals, it may not have a place in the US. This is due to the glaring gap between the blacks and the whites in this country. Due to this inequality, individuals like King, or groups of people, will continue to perpetuate inhuman acts against others without abating. This is because at one time or another, somebody will be willing to die for something and hence, will not be deterred by capital punishment. The issue of vengeance is also critical in the case of capital punishment. Capital punishment perpetuates the culture of revenge, which may not resonate well with ideals of the American people. It is for this reason that it can be concluded – the death penalty has no place in the US.