Capital punishment was the worst punishment that ever faced this country. It is useless, and ineffectual. If it were to be re-introduced, issues of human rights that would effect us all would rise up, and cause difficulties. Furthermore, the human rights of those executed are violated when capital punishment is carried out, and the killing violates God’s will. Imagine that. Why would we want to re-introduce something that is of no benefit whatsoever to us, that also jeopardises our way of life? Furthermore, what gives the government the right to ‘play God’, and allow or prohibit people to live as they please.
Life was given to us by God, and life can be taken away from us by God, or other religious equivalents. What gives the government the right to choose who lives and who dies? Even the idea of it is very disturbing to anyone who values human life. Life is sacred. Two wrongs don’t make a right, so what gives us the right to go against God’s will and kill? Killing is something that should never be done. Besides, imprisonment for life is the alternative. There is no chance that the convicts would kill again, for they would be in prison all their lives. So what harm would it do to imprison them, rather than killing them.
In addition, how can we say that killing is wrong if we then go and allow the government to kill?!!! This is why the death penalty is thought of as one of the ‘cruel and unusual punishments’, which are prohibited by the Bill of Rights. You may wonder why the death penalty is absolutely useless …….. well, there are so many reasons that I might not have time to go through them all today. But the most important one is this: because, the likelihood is that innocent people will be executed, and the guilty will often go free. It is inevitable, for we are only human. We make mistakes.
Even without the death penalty, police, the courts and the system generally cannot be trusted to get everything right on every occasion. But then, it is not as bad. But here, if the death penalty were to be re-introduced in Britain, then their mistakes would result in the loss of innocent lives. How would you like it if one day, when you came home from school, you learn that a family member, one of your parents, perhaps, was going to be killed, for a crime they didn’t commit? Would you be happy if you were stopped after school today, and you were told that the police think you might have committed a crime, just might, and… ou’re gonna be executed for it? The classic case of this is with Derek Bentley.
In 1953, on 28th January, Derek Bentley was executed at Wandsworth prison for assisting his 16 year old friend Christopher Craig in murdering a police officer. Derek was only 19 years old. Christopher Craig was not executed because he was too young (only 16). Instead, he went to prison for 10 years. ……… Now here is the best bit. On 30th July 1998, just 7 years ago, 45 years after the government killed him, they admitted………………… that they had made a mistake.
They realised he was innocent. They granted him a posthumous pardon (that means they admitted he was innocent, and they shouldn’t have killed him). That’s very nice of them, but it doesn’t really help if he’s already been killed. Derek Bentley, aged 19, was hung for a murder committed by a friend. Now you tell me, does the death penalty seem right to you? Besides, the very worst murderers would not even care about the death penalty, for they are typically psychopaths, or just so mad that they can’t behave rationally. Do you think that they actually think about what they’re doing?
Do you think that they say to themselves, come on son, let’s kill this bloke so we can end up in prison? No. Often, they don’t have a clue what they’re doing, and when they realise what they have done, they often kill themselves after the crime, as was the case in the Hungerford and Dunblane massacres. Besides, proof shows that most murders are done on the “heat of passion”, when a person cannot think rationally Let’s take a look at the case of Ruth Ellis. As a young girl, she was forced to leave school at fourteen to work as a waitress.
In 1941, at the height of the Blitz, she moved to London. At 17, a Canadian soldier made her pregnant. She gave birth to a son, Clare Andria (Andy), in 1944. Then, he told her that he was already married. He returned to Canada, leaving Ruth by herself. Her faith in men had been badly shaken. She became a nightclub hostess. In 1950, looking for some security, she married 41 year old George Ellis, a divorced dentist with two sons, who had been a customer. She had been maltreated and taken advantage of all her life. She never really had a nice, enjoyable life. And now, she married George.
He was an alcoholic who became extremely, dangerously violent when drunk, and it was thought that he was having an affair. The marriage wasn’t working. Then, Ruth gave birth to Georgina in 1951. And George wouldn’t even acknowledge the fact that he was her father, he ignored her. He refused his own daughter. In 1953, she became manageress of a nightclub, and met David Blakeley. He was a heavy drinker. Within weeks he moved into her flat above the club, despite being engaged to another girl at the time. She eventually accepted Blakeley’s proposal of marriage, although Ruth was still married to George Ellis.
Blakeley became more and more jealous of her attention to male customers. He spent more and more time in the club to keep his eye on her, embarassing her. Her earnings fell as a result, and his inheritance was blown on a playboy lifestyle and development of a racing car. Rows about money, fuelled by alcohol, became violent – from both sides. He also maintained another mistress, and each was extremely jealous of the other’s affairs and activities. So, let’s look at her life. Throughout her life, Ruth Ellis had been abused, beaten, taken advantage of, and forced into doing things against her will.
She was abandoned with children, left to fend for herself, without anyone to help her. When she had thought she had found a man at last who would care for her, he would beat her, and drunkenly be violent. He took advantage of her, marrying her when he was already engaged, and had different affairs with other women. There was no one for her to turn to, no women’s institutions back then, no refuge for her troubles. Since she was born, people like David Blakeley had made her life a misery, until she could bear it no more.
She finally snapped, and shot David Blakeley, the ‘husband’ that had abused her and taken advantage of her. She did not try to run away, for she was not ashamed of what she had done. She could not bear to live an abused life, a life of misery, where she regretted having even been born. Instead, she asked a witness to call the police. So what did they do. Without a second thought, they killer her. If she did not kill David, she would probably have killed herself. So you think about that. They killed her for saving herself. Do you think that’s fair? And she was only 28 years old.
After they’d killed her, they realised their mistake, and never executed a woman again, after their mistake with Ruth Ellis. They had the death penalty, and they mucked up. When they asked her if she meant to kill him, she said that ‘it was obvious’. Now, having heard this, I ask you to listen to the case of Beverley Allitt. She was nicknamed ‘the Angel of Death’. Do you want to no why? Because, for no reason whatsoever, she murdered four small children and injured nine others. How do you think she should have been punished? Looking at Ruth Ellis, she should have the death penalty for sure.
And do you know what she got? She was allowed to walk away free, because they thought she was mad, and didn’t know what she was doing. So there we have it. This wonderful death penalty, that kills the innocent, and releases the guilty, despicable murderers. And there is no excuse or reason, no refund, for this miscarriage of justice. Furthermore, innocent family and friends go through hell in the time leading up to and during the execution, which would cause them severe trauma for years afterwards. In fact, it might wreck their lives so much that they too turn insane, and murder.
What a good idea this death penalty is turning out to be: it kills the wrong people, and forces innocent family members to kill as well! And look at the young people, like you or me, or your brothers or sisters, that are killed unnecessarily. In China, they shot an 18 year old girl for dealing with drugs in 1998. In Singapore, they hung 2 girls for the same ‘crime’. Every form of execution causes the prisoner suffering. Some methods perhaps cause less pain than others, but no method of execution, not even injection, removes the suffering of the prisoner.
Other suffering is the extreme mental torture that the criminal suffers in the time leading up to the execution. How would you feel knowing that tomorrow ……… at 9:15 AM ………. you ……………….. were going ……………………………………… to be killed. Furthermore, in America they have laws against it, even though they still carry it out. The Eighth Amendment in the Bill of Rights prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, which the death penalty is one of. Some people say that the fear of the death penalty would stop criminals. Well, these people are wrong. It has been statistically proven that when an execution is made public, more murders occur in the day and weeks that follow. A good example is in the Linberg kidnapping.
A number of states adopted the death penalty for crime like this, but figures showed the numbers of kidnapping after this increased enormously. Publicity encourages crime instead of preventing it. In 1958, out of the10 states that had the fewest murders -fewer than 2 a year per 100,000 people, 4 had abolished the death penalty. Out of the 10 states that had the most murders, from 8 to 14 killings per 100,000 people, all of them had the death penalty.
The death penalty has never served to reduce the crime rate. California averaged 6 executions a year from 1952 to 1967, and guess what: It had double the murder rate than the period, from 1968 until 1991, when there were no executions. Another point is that the death penalty always suffers from social and racist bias. It is used as a weapon against certain sections of society, for example the black community. In the USA nearly 90% of the people executed were convicted of killing white people. However, more than 50% of the murder victims were non-white.
Furthermore, the effect on our society that these executions have is tremendous. It would turn us once more into bloodthirsty savages. Throughout the ages, we have been savage. In the Roman Times, we would go and watch people be slaughtered mercilessly by animals and soldiers. Later, he would finish our Sunday tea and go to Whitehall and people’s heads being chopped off, or their bodies hung, stretched out and then cut into four, lovely pieces. Introduced the death penalty again would turn us once more into savages, and what’s the point of that. Have we not evolved?
We didn’t have the space rocket in Roman Times. Henry VIII did not have a personal computer. So if we have evolved, if we are now more clever, why do we want to revert back to the foolish traditions of old, that would not have any benefit on us. Obviously, my … misled … colleague has not evolved in intelligence, or indeed maturity. Such an argument should prove very interesting, though completely irrelevant and, what shall I say, mistaken. Just remember that, to those who even slightly value human life, it is unfair, wrong, and disturbing that anyone could even attempt to justify it.