ive EssaysCapital Punishment in Canada
As violence becomes an increasing concern among Canadians, people are calling for the reinstatement of capital punishment. This controversial issue has been ailing politicians and public morality since its abolition in 1976. As one examines the arguments for and against the reinstatement of capital punishment; examples of modern day cases dealing with capital punishment; and statistics on such cases, one can better appreciate the reasons why this barbaric form of punishment should remain in the past.
Unfortunately, like most Americans, many Canadians believe in the barbaric “an eye for an eye” rule of restitution. This belief is the basis for the argument for the reinstatement of the death penalty. Some believe that the death penalty will deter similar crimes from happening, others believe that they would feel safer if a serious offender would be put to eternal rest. Few, suggests that putting these criminals to death would be more economical then putting them behind bars. But all of these people innately believe that “When you take a life, you give up the right to yours.” (Why America kills off killers). Beliefs such as these have kept the United States being the only western, first world, industrialized country to retain the cruel and immoral death penalty. This horrific fact puts the United States Government in line with other major human rights offenders such as China, Rwanda, and North Korea (Why America kills off killers).
Convicted murderer Henry M. Porter offered this statement on his death bed;
“What I want people to know is that they call me a cold-blooded killer. I shot a man who shot me first. The only thing that convicted me is that I’m a Mexican and he was a police officer. From there you call me a cold-blooded murderer. I didn’t tie anybody to a stretcher. I didn’t pump poison into anybody’s veins from behind a locked door. You call this justice. I call this and your society a bunch of cold-blooded murderers.” (Infamous last words)
This statement, and others like it, has raised morality questions which haunt politicians and citizens alike. When the state takes away one’s life, how is this action more moral than the original crime? The government represents its people. When the government condones such morbid actions to be taken place legally, what message does this send out to its people? The answers to these questions can be seen in the statistics offered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This report offers the following facts:
At the end of 1998, the US held 3,452 prisoners on death row, which is a 4% increase from 1997.
On December 31, 1998, the youngest death row inmate was 18 years old and the eldest was 83. The average age was 38 years old.
As of the end of 1998, the execution of prisoners 16 years old or younger was permissible in a dozen states. Eight of which did not specify a minimum age for which the death penalty could be imposed.
34 of the 38 capital punishment states use lethal injection. Electrocution is the sole execution method in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Nebraska.
Delaware, New Hampshire and the state of Washington permit hanging as a method of execution. Idaho, Oklahoma, and Utah authorize firing squads. (Capital Punishment 1998).
As seen, it is evident that the number of criminals placed on death row has increased; The requirements to be placed on death row has broadened; And many of the states still allow for cruel and painful methods execution. As a result of all this senseless killing, not one report was generated which affirms that capital punishment actually deters further crimes. In fact, the homicide rate in the United States is far higher then that of Canada’s. (The death penalty 33 years later).
Fortunately, the Canadian government has remained steadfast on the issue of capital punishment. Despite public pressure, the Canadian government is determined to up hold its morals and civility. One may suggest that Canada’s reasonably low homicide rate (which, by the way, is decreasing annually) can be credited to the “leading through example” policy the Canadian government is enacting. By not lowering itself to the murder’s level, the Canadian government is able to effectively punish criminals while deterring similar crimes from happening in the future. Respect for the criminal justice system should not be commanded through fear, but earned through compassion.
As seen, capital punishment is a barbaric tool used for centuries to punish wrong doers. As society evolves, so does its beliefs. But many stare so long at the past they do not see the future. People must realize that society has come a long way and capital punishment is a step in the wrong direction. Capital punishment must remain in the past and not in the future.
Kenna, Kathleen. “Why America kills off killers.” The Toronto Star. 13 December 1998. A3.
Kuntz, Tom. “Infamous last words.” The Globe and Mail. 23 September 1994. A23.
Snell, Tracy. “Capital Punishment 1998.” Bureau of Justice Statistics. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/cp98.pr. 6 May 2000.
“The death penalty 33 years later.” The Toronto Star. 11 December 1995. A16.
ive EssaysCapital Punishment in Canada