The Case for Capital Punishment

The Case for Capital Punishment
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What can actually and really deter a person (or persons) from committing an abominable and deplorable crime like a rape cum murder? Or crimes of a similar nature? These questions are of an eminently jurisprudential and practical nature and import but not academic. In the ultimate analysis, what a person values most and deprivation of this against a proportionate crime is what will constitute an effective deterrent. This assertion might sound harsh or even cruel to the sensitive, but against the backdrop of heavy empirical evidence and even reasoning, there does not appear to any other alternative. The liberal minded would question this assessment and posit that life is a supreme value and no person or even a penal system or the state has the right to deprive a person of this value. But, the question is: what of the person whose life has been deprived by an act of crime like murder? There are clear instrumental and utilitarian reasons as well in favor of capital punishment. By making death penalty mandatory for crimes likes murders or rape murders, there is a clear disincentive for a potential criminal to perpetrate these crimes. If then there exists this disincentive, either on account of fear or losing his or her life, as a retributive punishment (or justice), and a crime or crimes are deterred, then society, as a whole, is better off. Streets are safer and a general climate of security of life, limb, and person prevails. Why, the question is, anyone quibble with this capital punishment? The answer might lie with liberal sensibilities but preserving life, ensuring safety and security is a more cardinal value than mere sensibilities. Humans have an inherent right to life. And, this right has to be guaranteed by the state or those who act on behalf of the people. Mere imprisonment and incarceration for heinous crimes like murders or rape murders does not constitute enough deterrent for the criminal minded. The high rates of crime in the United States, where in many states, capital punishment stands abolished, perhaps serve as an eloquent example of this. While crimes of the prosaic variety might emerge out of context and structure, which is not to say that these are lesser crimes, but willful, deliberate, heinous and deplorable crimes like murder or rape cum murder, arise from the baser and evil instincts and sides of human nature. These crimes can neither be checked by counseling, nor imprisonment nor other forms of censure but purely the threat and actual instances of depriving the criminal of what he or she values most.

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