Tags: an eye for an eye death government life morality
According to deathpenaltyinfo.org (https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/death-penalty-international-perspective), in 2015 the United States executed the fifth most people in the world, behind China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. This means that our government kills more people annually than most other countries in the world, which brings a very specific question to the table: are executions morally correct, especially to one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world? I would argue that our government choosing who lives and who dies is not morally correct in even the slightest way, because it means that our government is so powerful that it has the final say in issues of paramount importance as life and death. The death penalty is the most obvious representation of the philosophy “an eye for an eye”; however, as Gandhi puts it, “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” In other words, killing people that kill other people doesn’t fix any problems, but merely adds to the pool of blood. Some, such as Edward Feser, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College, say that “we reserve the death penalty in the United States for the most heinous murders and the most brutal and conscienceless murderers. This is not, as some critics argue, a kind of state-run lottery that randomly chooses an unlucky few for the ultimate penalty from among all those convicted of murder. Rather, the capital punishment system is a filter that selects the worst of the worst” (https://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=001038). However, the issue I take with this is that someone in the United States is deciding where the line is drawn, in other words who gets killed and who is allowed to live. No one, especially a civilized government, should be granted that power, much less assume that it is their right. There are other reasons not to practice the death penalty, such as the cost and other logistical aspects, but the biggest problem with it is that we are killing people who kill people because killing is wrong, and that is not morally correct. Our civilized and modern government continues on with this practice that has existed for thousands and thousands of years without stopping to take a look at whether or not it is right. It has been said many times that the death penalty doesn’t actually deter heinous crimes, and anything that is morally questionable and that doesn’t work shouldn’t exist.
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