Eye for an eye

An Eye for an Eye: Capital Punishment

Life is sacred, and it is nearly impossible to put value to something as priceless as the miracle of life. There have been many debates and controversy concerning the value of life; a lot of speculation as to who can say it may be taken away from someone. What needs to be questioned is our morality. This issue needs to be looked at closely, because there are only two sides of the spectrum, and the only options are life and death. Capital punishment should not be deemed frivolous. It is one of the most important debates known to humankind.

There are two parties in this debate, which are Retributivists and Abolitionists. Retributivists are for the death penalty, whereas Abolitionists are against it. The party that believes in capital punishment believe in lex talionis or “an eye for an eye” punishment. They reason that if a person takes the life of another, then they should lose their life as a result. And the Abolitionists oppose this belief stating that it violates the right to life. There is a lot to factor in. Both groups state their claims, but who makes a better point?

I personally do not believe in the death penalty. There are a few reasons why I would consider myself a part of the Abolitionist party. First, to me, it seems unjust to have say over who should live and who should die. Second, there can be innocent lives at stake; not every person convicted is guilty. And lastly, I believe that humans are capable of making mistakes, even if it conflicts with societies moral standards. This is where the controversy lies. It is hard to speak for an entire nation, and even a ruling this extraordinary to be decided through a group of peers. I do not believe something of this stature should be decided through one group of people who were decided by a judicial system. Unfortunately many people are bias in certain areas of the law. A gun supporter might think differently than someone who opposes firearms, a right-wing conservative might find abortion to be blasphemy, whereas a liberal might see it differently. This is one main reason why the death penalty is such a huge issue. It will always have people clamoring for a specific side. There will never be a straight-forward consensus.

Remember that by supporting the death penalty, a person must inherently support lex talionis. By this measure, these people must believe in the Equal Punishment Principle that states that every criminal should be punished according to the crime they committed. Therefore, rapists should be raped, torturers tortured and kidnappers kidnapped. This can also be applied to the concept of life in general. Euthanasia is illegal, and that is personal choice, but when we consider a crime, no matter how severe, we might have the opportunity to sentence a person to death. That to me is the most influential idea, and if not an idea, at least something to put capital punishment into perspective. A human life is sacred, and I do not think anyone is in the position of saying who may live theirs and who may not.

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