• 2. Stricter punishment reduces crime
    Take your position.
    • Oppose
    • Support
    • Very
    • Somewhat

This is an oddly worded topic. It is hard to imagine what one would use the death penalty as other than as a form of punishment. Indeed, for most people, "penalty" and "punishment" are synonymous. However, while the NFL wording committee has chosen awkward phrasing, there is nothing about this wording that should make debates on this topic anything other than classic death penalty debates.

The classic defense of the death penalty comes, ironically, out of the natural law tradition. The idea is that people have a natural right to life that they forfeit when they knowingly commit certain heinous crimes. That the miscreants understands what they're doing is wrong is an important qualifier to this argument, though it's worth noting that it took the United States Supreme Court a good deal of time before it finally decided to prohibit the execution of the mentally handicapped.

Though historically there have been a long list of crimes subject to the death penalty, today few death penalty supporters other than members of the Taliban support the death penalty for actions that do not result in the death of innocent people. The argument usually runs that it is just to take the lives of those responsible for the death of others. Some even go so far as to argue that any punishment short of death would be unjust. Those who kill, they argue, ought to be killed. Of course, this "eye for an eye" theory of justice is not practiced in other parts of the law: rapists are not sentenced to be raped. Nonetheless the moral symmetry of killing the killer remains attractive to many people. Often, proponents of the death death penalty will ask: "If someone were to kill your loved one, wouldn't you want to see that person dead?" A desire for vengence is a normal human emotion and it is likely that many people would feel better knowing that a vicious killer had been killed. Whether it is just to satisfy people;s desire to see a criminal suffer the same fate as their victims victims is open to debate.

Official Democratic Position

liberals do not understand this simple axiom: criminals behind bars cannot harm the general public. To that end, we support mandatory prison sentencing for gang crimes, violent or sexual offenses against children, repeat drug dealers, rape, robbery and murder. We support a national registry for convicted child murderers. We oppose parole for dangerous or repeat felons. Courts should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases.

Source: 2012 Republican Party Platform Aug 27, 2012
Official Republican Position

We will continue to fight inequalities in our criminal justice system. We believe that the death penalty must not be arbitrary. DNA testing should be used in all appropriate circumstances, defendants should have effective assistance of counsel, and the administration of justice should be fair and impartial.

Source: 2012 Democratic Party Platform Sep 4, 2012
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  • 07/04/2017