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Jessica Gallardo

English 1A

Professor Berg

December 9, 2019

The Debate Over the Death Penalty

For many years, people have passionately been debating over the topic of the death

penalty. People have been arguing whether the death penalty is morally wrong or acceptable.

There are people who believe it is acceptable and nothing is wrong with it, where some think it is

a sin and violates the laws and the constitution. This debate has only led society to be divided

with their positions and beliefs. In the case of David Weinberger, in his article entitled, "Why

Morality Demands the Death Penalty", he argues that the death penalty is acceptable. People

need to see how it takes away the person that caused pain to others. For example, murders and

terrorists. He explains how some people do not deserve a life on earth and should not be given a

second chance. On the other side of the debate, ACLU, in their article entitled, “The Case

Against the Death Penalty”, they argue the death penalty is unfair and it violates everything in

the constitution. It is cruel and an unusual punishment (pg 1). They argue that the state should

not give themselves permission to kill another human being. They want the death penalty to be

abolished and prevent any form of executions. Weinberger and the American Civil Liberties lay

out their positions and beliefs, but they do not attain an adequate answer to whether the death

penalty is acceptable or wrong. However, a compromise for this debate would be the people who

have committed death penalty offences serve death in prison; no one dies, but no one gets to be

free for their hateful crimes.


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To begin with, in the article entitled, "Why Morality Demands the Death Penalty", by

David Weinberger, states his viewpoint of death penalty being acceptable; there is nothing wrong

about it, if anything it helps. First, Weinberger states how in life there is people who just do not

deserve to and still be given opportunity to change what they caused (2019, pg 1). The writer

continues to strengthen his viewpoint by asking the readers the questions of how innocent people

are given the death penalty or if it deters crime, but when answering the questions realistically, it

is a no. In addition, he points out that the death penalty elevates the human being, then bringing

them down. Moreover, he emphasizes that the death penalty is the only just and compassionate

response for murder that the other person did (2019, pg 3). Finally, Weinberger concludes with

the idea that if the death penalty was abolished, it would be a sign of disrespect to latter and

disregard to the dormer, so that is why the death penalty should be maintained.

Although Weinberger provides a strong argument towards the acceptance of the death

penalty, not all of his information is well thought out. In Weinberger’s first attempt to prove his

point in why the death penalty should be accepted, he starts of by comparing it to anti-abortion.

He states, “By taking innocent life, the murderer forfeits the right to his own. Thus, there is no

inconsistency in being anti-abortion and pro-capital punishment” (2019, pg 1). By comparing the

death penalty to anti-abortion, he creates a fallacy by a weak/false analogy. Weinberger attempts

to use anti-abortion as a comparison to pro-capital punishment but fails to recognize how

different these two topics are. At the moment, his analogy became weak. When speaking about

anti-abortion, you are looking at it from a whole other perspective as you see the death penalty.

Abortion is the killing of a baby who has not had the chance to live on earth rather than an

individual who has lived and understood their rights and wrongs. There are many aspects to

which these two topics cannot be compared, they do not contain the same description to identify
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the beliefs of a person about the death penalty being morally wrong or acceptable. Someone can

be against anti-abortion, but pro death penalty. They do not relate to be consider the same for the

person to be pro or anti for both.

Another occurrence of Weinberger’s information being flawed is through the appearance

of argument to ignorance. Weinberger states, “moreover abolishing the death penalty would

result in more innocent people being killed than if it were kept” (2019, pg 2). He stated

something that has no evidence to make his statement true. Weinberger failed to provide

statistics to where it actually proved how abolishing the death penalty will result with more

innocent people being killed than if it was to be kept. This statement seems more as an opinion,

to where others can say that keeping it will only cause more innocent lives be taken. Many

people can the say the opposite of what he said and make his statement weak. If Weinberger

wanted to argue a point like that, he needed to have some evidence to back his point. If not, it is

him being bias and believing his own thoughts.

On the other side of the debate, in the article entitled, “The Case Against the Death

Penalty”, by American Civil Liberties Union, state their beliefs in how the death penalty violates

the constitutional against cruelty, unusual punishment, and the due process of law. Furthermore,

they explain how no one in this world should be given the permission to kill another human

being, especially when it is given a ceremony. The writers continue to value their viewpoints by

stating their fundamental concerns. For example, “the death penalty system in the US is applied

in unfair and unjust manner against people, innocent people are often sentence to death”

(ACLU). In addition, they continue to oppose capital punishment, they explain their beliefs very

detailed with information they believe will strengthen their point of view. Finally, the American
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Civil Liberties Union concludes that they want to let others know that opposing the death penalty

is not a lack sympathy for murder victims, instead it shows respect for human life.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s argument is really based on assumptions in why

they believe the death penalty is morally wrong. From the beginning of the page, they stay their

oppositions and why they do not agree. According to the article entitled, “The Case Against the

Death Penalty,” the American Civil Liberties Union argue that the death penalty is unfair and

injust, it is a waste of taxpayer, and that innocent people are being taken away (pg 1-2). With

these statements, the American Civil Liberties Union, created an appeal to ignorance. In order

words, they state throughout their article their own opinions without having any evidence to

prove the readers why their statements are accurate or false. The information given cannot be

trusted if say such thing, but do not have their why it is that. To others the death penalty might

not think it is unfair and unjust, it is not a waste, and innocent people are not taken away. In

order for anyone to trust their point of views, the readers would need hard evidence that proves

their assumptions. They continue to make assumptions throughout without any regards of textual

evidence.

The American Civil Liberties Union flaw of argument appears again when they created a

post hoc analogy. According to their article, “people of color are far more likely to be executed

than white people.” Meaning because they are colored, they have a higher chance in being

executed. Their color is responsible for their placement on the death penalty. How does that even

make sense, someone color is not the fault of why they are given the death penalty. The reason

for being given the death penalty is for the hateful crimes that person has committed. The ACLU

cannot assume just because they think it is true. Most importantly, no color can define or be

blamed for the person being given the death penalty. There is plenty of other accurate reasons of
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why someone is put on death row. For example, killing or raping. But the color of a person is not

a cause to why and that is what they need to understand.

While Weinberger believes that the death penalty is acceptable and the ACLU believes

that the death penalty is morally wrong, the real compromise comes to what will fit both of their

point of views. The compromise for this debate would to have death in prison. Meaning no one

gets killed, but also no one who has committed hateful crimes will be able to be released. As the

article entitled, “Death in Prison: The Right Death Penalty Compromise,” states, “the prisoner

will remain in prison until she or he died on their own.” Having death in prison would be the

best compromise because it creates a mutual agreement for both sides to get what they want. For

example, no one is given the opportunity to receive a second chance and they are locked in

prison waiting to die by on their own.


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Works Cited

Covey, and Russell D. “Death in Prison: The Right Death Penalty Compromise.” SSRN, 10 June

2012, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2080076.

Shibboleth Authentication Request, https://go-gale-

com.reedleycollege.idm.oclc.org/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=Viewpoints&resultListType=RES

ULT_LIST&searchResultsType=SingleTab&searchType=BasicSearchForm¤tPosition&d

ocId=GALE|XGHEAD632203008&docType=Viewpoint+essay&sort=Relevance&conte

ntSegment=ZXAY-

MOD1&prodId=OVIC&contentSet=GALE|XGHEAD632203008&searchId=R1&userGr

oupName=cclc_reed&inPS=true.

“The Case Against the Death Penalty.” American Civil Liberties Union,

https://www.aclu.org/other/case-against-death-penalty.