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Problem of the Death Penalty

In his essay "Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life" Edward J. Koch defends capital punishment as supporting the precious nature of life (Wood 714-718). He presents seven common arguments used to oppose the death penalty, and shows why they are untenable. One argument commonly used is that no other major democracy uses the death penalty, yet Koch points out that no other major democracy has such a high murder rate as that found in the United States (Wood 716). The president of France's National Assembly, Raymond Forni in 2000, campaigned for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide (Two). The death penalty was abolished in France in 1981, and France was the last of the Western European nations to do so. Forni stated that France was late in abolishing the death penalty because it was strongly supported by public opinion because of problems of security and criminality, and that even today there is strong support for it. The essential step in abolishing the death penalty in France was the declaration by Francois Mitterand during his presidential campaign, which was a risky move, since 65 percent of the French people favored keeping the death penalty in place.

Forni opposes the death penalty for several reasons: that it is barbaric, irreversible, leaving no possibility for correcting errors of justice, that not killing is enshrined in the bible, and that redemption can always be hoped for (Two). He cannot understand how, in such a great democracy as the United States, the death penalty still exists. He places the United States in a different category to Far Eastern countries who still maintain the death penalty. He even went so far as to propose that the United States' status as observer in the Council of Europe be revoked because the Council is formally committed to the respect of human rights and the abolition of the death penalty.

Although the United Kingdom has abolished capital punishment, John E...

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Problem of the Death Penalty. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:48, November 30, 2021, from