Edublogs Challenge l Week 2: Let’s comment l Activity 2

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Activity 2:
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 Abolishment of the Death Penalty

Picture taken from The Burton Report site, article The Death Penatly and the Axolotl

Why do most human societies, and over different eras, stuck by the virtue of muder despite what it had from violence? We know that the heavenly religions confirmed this judgement, but what about the secularists and atheists, why are they seperated into two rows? What are the justifications for each team? I've been reading many articles (especially these wikipedia articles) about the abolishment of the death penalty and wanted to write this post. Happy reading!

Statements of human rights advocates (abolitionists) who oppose the death penalty often do not go out of these four things: First, they claim that they refuse punishment because it no longer fits the modern man, as the penalty is brutal and far from the delicate sense of the new human. The second argument of the opposition group says that many of those prosecuted were innocent and the death penalty made them loose their lives unfairly. The third thing which is used as a an argument by the opposers of this punishment, is that the death penatly is a penalty that exceeds the degree of the crime committed by the offender. Fourth and finally, this team argues that we can't accept the death penalty before evaluating the resulting effects.
As regards of the first opinion, I say that the reference to the psychological state is a naive justification that doesn't amount to the discussion. Opposers say that the death penalty is cruel and inhumain and this isn't actually based on rational justification, they just loathe from it as it's not in the line of their moods. If this claim would be taken into consideration, all human values will simply collapse, and work won't have any moral value because it's not based on reason but on the mood of the perpetrator, or whether the governing law. A closer look at this justification proves that it recognizes the death penalty, but it only objects the bloody scene of the murder. In other words, if the death penalty wasn't public, it won't have sparked a lot of allergies. So I do not want to prolong the debate in this aspect because it's a weak argument that doesn't stand on solid ground.
The second argument won't also hold much, because it fall on it's own and without the extensive intellectual discussion. They say that the death penalty may destroy the soul of innocent people. If the maximum punishment does not exceed the life imprisonment, in this case we can give the prisoner a new opportunity if it became clear that he was innocent. This argument is weak for an obvious reason, it's weakness stems from that it does not reject the death penalty. This justification says in an other way that the death penalty is appropriate but it could lead to the killing of innocent people due to some error in the investigation. This means, then, that the penalty is implicitly not refused, there is a recognition of the importance and the necessity of this punishment but the problem is in the investigation and legal proceedings to prove the guilt of the offender.
We notice that the death penalty comes in tune with the horror of the crime committed, The penalty of life imprisonment may be less favorable than the seriousness of which imposes the death penalty for crimes. If life imprisonment is the last phase faced by the offender, then what to do if he commits a heinous crime such as murder and do it again on his comrades in the cell or prison guards?
We summarize so that even assuming the killing of innocent souls, the application of the death penalty is superior to any pain if there are souls who were destroyed by error. If you want generalization, doing errors or mistake is not specific to the death penalty, it could be also found on any other humanitarian work in many other areas such as medicine, law and engineering and programming. It is hard to justify to not do something because probable errors will occur in the proceedings before the execution of the sentence.
The third claim may leave a good space for discussion because it is based on an acceptable reason. The argument says that the death penalty is unfair, the offender kills the victim directly by surprise, while the criminal tortures every minute waiting for the zero hour to kick in. Therefore, the torment of waiting, in addition to the death penalty, makes the punishment morally not justified.
It's hard to measure criminal punishment the same way we measure other materialism in our daily lives. Human lacks precision, and he doesn't have a crucial mathematical equation to address the criminal operations. However, this doesn't mean that he entirely lacks the "logical" comparison for the types of crimes. Human managed by virtue of his experience and common sense thinking to reach logical foundations of clear benefit in various matters, including crimes and penalties. Based on what was previously mentionned it can be said that human knows with certainty that the errors are levels depending on their severity, for example failure to do show up on a rendezvous is worse than a few minutes late, stealing neighbor treasury is much worse than not paying the vehicle parking meter.
The general rule in the comparisons, therefore, is that we believe that the crime of the second degree is worse than the first, and the third is worse than the second, and so forth. Also on the same context, we have ratings of the types of sanctions, we can easily judge that a ticket of 20 dollars is less bad than 300 dollars, and several months in prison is better than life in prison.
What I wanted to say in the last explanation is that we find it very difficult to move from act to the penalty, there is no precise formula to be fair to the perfect degree to the level wanted by human rights advocates.  
Even the argument that says that there is an inequality  between act and punishment is weak in itself. It is very difficult to apply the rule "equality" to any of the other penalties, because it will open the door to anyone who wants to tamper with the judicial system and there comes questioning about  other punishments. Therefore, you should find the "positive impact" of the sentence which is deterrence and intimidation, not equality between parties.
I'd like to ask these people, and say: What is the appropriate punishment in a case where a mother had her son stolen a week ago, and then they sent her parts of his body in a plastic sac? Isn't this an eloquent pain? Isn't it?
Before we continue this debate, I'd like to clarify what I mean by the work "punishment". The punishment becomes inappropriate if there are two things: If that punishment is characterized by excessive pain that hurts human so much. For example, carrying a homeless away from the cold weather outside, and imprisoning him in a warm cell with a bed is not considered as a punishment. The second thing about the penalty is related to the offender's past. The punishment should be applied as a result of the offender's criminal history. These clauses can't be separated from each other, otherwise we would consider the income tax imposed on rich people as a penalty as it hurts their owners, despite the lack of criminal history. Therefore, the relation between human past and his sufferings are two things that can't be also separated, that's why the criminal deserves the punishment.
Now let's go back to the fourth and final justification in which his companions depends on the utility value on taking down the death penalty. This school always consider the aimed interest of any behavior before judging it's ethics. If you do not reap any future benefit, the work would be refused and described as tampering for lacking any moral value. That is why we must, in the light of this intellectual school, prove the positive repercussions and implications of the death penalty so that it can be accepted, because if not, taking this punishment down is something inevitable. 
Utilitarian philosophers consider future positive effects of death penalty as a good benefit if the punishment led to the reform of the individual (reform), or protect the community in the near future and make it more resillient in the face of deviations (protection), or to prevent harm to others by this individual (deterrence).
Point which these philosophers start from is that reparing or protecting doesn't necessarily require a pain in the offender. The positive consequences of the reform or the protection of the society can be collected through many processors without the need to find a pain in the offender. With the exception of not harming others because it is the only reason that justifies the use of violence or pain on the offender, according to this intellectual school.
This utilitarian school could be discussed from two angles: first, the physical measurement of the positive effects of the death penalty, and the second, take advantage of the concept of the past.
First, what utilitarians want us to find is a physical evidence that proves that the loss of a single soul will save the lives of eight or nine innocent people in the future. The problem is that statistical studies are unable resolve this conflict today in favor of any the two teams. While the numbers can be formulated in a way that play in the favor of the death penalty, as well the other team can forumlate statiscal studies to serve his convictions. However, the most of the studies play in the favor of applying the punishment, and the U.S government took those studies into consideration. The US Congress is still using this punishment based on the statistical studies that have proved the positive effect of the death penalty and its ability to reduce future crimes.
The second point which is noteworthy in regards of the past concept. People use a lot of words to refer to things happened in the past. Giving something to someone as a prize for a certain work he has done, is attitudes towards individuals that rely on "the past" and do not consider the "future" to reach a moral judgment about the act. As well as the death penalty, it is a penalty on human act committed in "the past", it is not permissible to look to the future to judge the extent of the ethics of that act. This mental scale is used by utilitarians themselves to reward the winner in any contest-- the prize given to the victor is the "result" of the work he has done in the past and not to what's coming in the future. This justification is in the line with the logic proceeding, which is an instinct that is prevalent in all our thinking without exception. Then why the same logic stops when we talk about death penalty?
Kantian and Hegelian school schools succeeded in approving the death penalty from an other corner that deserves to be cited. This theory say that human is a rational and sane, he is free and he is responsible for all his actions that's why you see him moving in the life freely and go wherever he wanted and he's aware of the consequences of his choices. If he has done something good, he'd deserve praise and thanksgiving as the same level as his service and work. However, if he does something bad, then he's the one who chose the bad consequences. It's simple, just as society is a rewarder for the good deeds, and as it's unethical to close our eyes on good impacts of his work, as well as it is unacceptable to prevent human from the consequences of something bad he has done, as long as he was sane and aware of the results. 

Finally, I wanted to stay away from religious arguments and tried to be more realistic in order not to enter in mazes, especially that the readers of this topic are inevitably from different religions. I'm sure that the information provided would be an addition to many of you, hopefully. Just want clarify something out-- I'm not a philosopher, nor a politician, or a legal expert, and my age and my experience doesn't even entitle me to be so. The information provided in this post are just a result of reading several articles in the internet from different sites, and of course with a little self-diligence
What are your views in regards of the death penalty? Is it really a violation of human rights? Or is it an effective way to protect society from deviation and criminality? 
Aymen Felhi Web Developer

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1 comment :

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