星期日, 7月 10, 2011

Essay - Let's put a halt to capital punishment

  Capital punishment, also known as death penalty or execution, is the most extreme sentence which can be devised in about 59 countries including China, Japan and the United States of America nowadays, according to Amnesty International’s figures in 2008. While more and more people actually come to realize problems of practicing capital punishment, yet, supporters insist on claiming that it is the most effective way to deter people from committing crimes. They continue to think that capital punishment is the only proportionate compensation for the victims whereas life imprisonment will solely cause a high cost which is ultimately paid by our hard-working and observant taxpayers unfairly. At first glance, their claims may seem reasonable and unassailable. However, you will probably find the flaws when you examine closer.

  First and foremost, capital punishment may actually be practiced to kill people who have not committed any crimes mistakenly or deliberately. For instance, with the help of advanced technology such as DNA investigation, 23 people executed in the United States of America in the 20th century have actually been found guiltless. Doubtless, there is absolutely no way that can compensate these innocent people who were killed only because of wrong judgment. Yet, this kind of tragedies actually happens in most, if not all, of the other countries across the globe exercising capital punishment. In China, for example, a man called Tan Hang Sin was convicted to have killed his own wife and executed 16 years ago. Surprisingly, his wife was found to be still alive later. How ridiculous it is! Capital punishment is initially established to help uphold justice, protect people and penalize criminals. Ironically, it is now practiced to kill sinless people and just let criminals go free! How many harmless people should actually sacrifice before countries exercising capital punishment finally wake up? Worse still, capital punishment is sometimes utilized by dictators or dictatorial governments to extinguish their opponents deliberately. North Korean former president, Kam Tai Chung, was once accused of betraying North Korea and sentenced to capital punishment. However, the underlying reason why he was sentenced to capital punishment was that he was the leader of an opposition party at that time. It is undeniable that such kind of abuse of capital punishment still really exists in some countries around the world. Capital punishment actually becomes a form of witch hunt.

Aside from the tragedies which may be caused by capital punishment, legal sanctions should also in no way be regarded as a means for victims or their family members to take revenge on criminals. Honestly, when people get offended, it is common and normal for people to firstly think of taking revenge. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” seems likely to be the first sentence springs up in our mind. Nevertheless, it is also true that we should all know and be reminded that taking revenge is useless and meaningless. Victims can never be brought back to life even when the criminals are killed. However, if the criminals are executed, they will surely lose a precious chance to turn a new leaf and more families will lose their family members forever and ever. There is a Chinese saying that “Do unto others as you would be done by”. When you have lost your beloved family members and you know the pain of this, you should never support capital punishment to cause others to suffer. After all, “an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”.

Apart from uselessness and meaninglessness of capital punishment, ethical problems should also be considered thoroughly. As a matter of fact, no-one in the world should be allowed to end any others’ lives for any reasons. Isn’t it nonsensical that we claim that we respect human life but we do not respect criminals’ lives at all? Isn’t it absurd that we claim that killing is wrong but we keep on killing criminals at the same time? I am sure that no-one will deny that life is precious. I find it especially preposterous to say that we should support capital punishment because many prisons are over-crowded and under-funded now and life sentence will cause a huge burden for our taxpayers. Not to say that prisoners can actually carry out some kinds of social services in jail to keep themselves productive, should a human life be anyway weighted like this? No way! How can we support to kill someone because he or she will become a burden of our society? It is really totally non-sense. Besides, Studies in the United States of America show that capital cases actually cost between $1 million and $7 million from arrest to execution. Nevertheless, life sentence cases only costs about $500,000, which is only half of the cost of capital cases. There is actually no more ridiculous excuse for us to support capital punishment.

  In conclusion, capital punishment is actually a bane in disguise. Although it may seems that capital punishment can deter people from committing crimes, it is also capital punishment that causes more and more tragedies to make more and more people killed “legally”. Besides, acceptance of capital punishment definitely implies that taking revenge is a decent thing to do whereas it is definitely not. We should, thus, immediately stop this kind of wrong message from being passed on to the public and to our next generation. Another thing that we should immediately make clear is that life is doubtlessly invaluable and that criminals’ lives are also doubtlessly invaluable. No-one should be allowed to take away any others’ lives and high costs should not be a reason to support capital punishment. Therefore, it is my firm belief that capital punishment should be abolished at once under all circumstances and it is high time for all countries in the world to wake up to figure out what capital punishment really brings us. As the old saying goes, “to err is human”. We all have made some mistakes in our life and we all hope that others can forgive us and give us a second chance. So, why can’t we just also give all criminals a second chance?

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