Instigator / Con

Death Penalty


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 7 votes and with 30 points ahead, the winner is...

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Three days
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One month
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First round is acceptance

Round 1
Since 1791, Our country has had a cruel method of punishing people known as the death penalty. It is a method of killing criminals for horrible crimes by methods of lethal injection, Firing squads, The electric chair, The gas chamber and many others. All of these are slow painful processes. Aside from the cruelty however, There are many reasons we should abolish it.

When executioners execute criminals they have to execute them in ways such as the electric chair, Firing squad, And lethal injection. In the process of these, The criminal often suffers in excruciating pain. Not only is this harming the criminal, But the executioner as well. The executioner has to sit there and watch the whole time. They have to watch people as they writhe in agony as the criminal is being put to death. Jerry Givens quotes, "You can't tell me I can take the life of people and go home and be normal. If I had known what have to go through as an executioner, I wouldn't have done it. It took a lot out of me to do it. " Jerry Givens is just one the many executioners who suffer from PTSD. He is just one of the many people who will have to spend the rest of their lives with this dis-order. If we abolished the death penalty, Think about how many people would be saved from this mental dis-order

Freddie Pitts quotes, "you can always release an innocent person from prison from a sentence of life without parole-but you can never release an innocent man from the grave. " He is exactly right. If you put to death an innocent person it is irreversible. Once you are dead you simply cannot be brought back to life. If an innocent person was sentenced to life imprisonment however, That is a reversible mistake. If you find the man to be innocent you can release him. Unfortunately, Because of the death penalty, Innocent people are put to death all the time. As a matter of fact, 1 in 25 sentenced to death in the US are innocent. Not only does this have an impact on the person itself, But also a string of other negative impacts. The family members of these people would be devastated to find out their loved one was killed when they did not deserve to die by any means. It just shows to prove that the worst punishments in this world are the ones that can't be taken back.

As I said, The death penalty has so many other negative impacts then what it may seem like at first glance. It may seem like that it might just effect the person themselves, But there is a whole string of other effects. This is one of them. The death penalty comes at a great cost. Studies show that death penalty cases cost an average of 1. 26 million dollars per case, While life imprisonment cases cost around 740, 000 dollars a case. If that sounds like a big difference, That's just for one case. The thousands and thousands of other death penalty cases will cause the government to spend billions of dollars on something that is extremely controversial. This is money that the government could be spending on something that truly matters. They could be spending this money on things like charity, Homeless people, The list goes on and on.

You might think that the death penalty would deter crime because people would think before acting but that is not the case. Why? Because criminals don't think before they act. A lot of the time the murders they commit are either when they are mentally ill, On drugs or alcohol, Or when they are in a fit of rage and kill someone without weighing in the consequences. As a result, The death penalty does not work as a proper deterrence to crime. Contrarily, It increases crime by a commanding number. Here is a link to a graph of crime rates in death penalty states to non-death penalty states.
https://www. Amnestyusa. Org/issues/death-penalty/death-penalty-facts/the-death-penalty-and-deterrence/

You would think that the death penalty would bring closure to victims family members, But that is not the case. In fact, Studies have found that very rarely victims family members have a sense of closure knowing that the murderer is dead. 2. 5% of victims loved ones claimed they had any sense of closure after the execution. 20% claimed that that it did not help them heal at all. In addition, They said they felt sympathy for the murderer's family members. Again, It just shows that the worst punishments, Are the ones that can't be taken back.

Have you ever heard your mom say, "Two wrongs don't make a right, " Well here the death penalty is trying to do just that. It is an attempt to create a wrong in order to make another wrong right. It is essentially saying that it is right to kill those who kill. But wouldn't it be committing the same crime the killer did if we put them to death/ Don't you see, The ends don't justify the means.

In summary, The death penalty should be abolished. While at first glimpse it might seem that it only has an effect on the murderer themselves, But actually has a string of other negative effects that is hurting our society.


You support abolishing the death penalty (DP for future reference) for all crimes.  This means that I only have to confirm that one crime should merit the DP in order to win the debate.  While there are some crimes that are not worthy of the DP, such as theft, there are 2 crimes that I can think of that are currently worthy of the death penalty in some or all of the US states.  The current legally established crimes worthy of the DP are:

1: Murder
2: Treason to the US in times of war.

So by saying your against the death penalty for all crimes, this includes not only murder but treason as well.  I'm assuming that your going to argue as to why you believe it is wrong for murder in the rest of your argument and I'll get to that later.  However, the DP should apply for treason to the US in times of war because if you impose a lesser punishment then the DP, treason would become more common and the US would lose more wars.  Also considering the following scenario:

Suppose someone, lets name him Henry decides to commit treason against the US.  He ends up giving a rogue state (Sudan) information on how to build a nuclear bomb.  Sudan uses this power to make many nukes and uses them to nuke their African enemies without fear of Mutually Assured Destruction.  Tens of millions of innocent people die from this. Sudan then endures sanctions which hurt the native Sudanese for something their government did.  Should Henry get put to death for indirectly causing the death of tens of millions of people and the poverty of not only those native Sudanese, but also for the millions, probably tens of millions?  Yes. Life imprisonment would be too dangerous; the prisoner could escape and help the rogue state. Their odds of escaping jail are significantly higher than the conventional prisoner because the Sudanese government would want them out and would overcome obstacles needed to release the guy who gave them information on the bomb.  Henry then steals more information, allowing Sudan to create bigger bobs that do more damage, causing tens of millions of more innocents to die. I would rather have 1 traitor killed then millions of civilians to get nuked.

Rebuttal 1 from Argument 1: The PTSD Argument:

If they suffer from PTSD and they want to change their job, they can go find a different job.

Rebuttal 2 from Arguments 2 and 3: Innocents are killed/DP is expensive.

Only 4% of people convicted of the DP are innocents.  Whether or not this is a significant number is an opinion that is nearly impossible to get changed by either side.  However, what is non disputed is the technology for executions is much better then it was in the past. This will cause the number of innocent people executed yearly to plummet and plummet and plummet until there is no one executed that is innocent.  Once this is done, then this point will cause many people to support the DP. However, in the meantime, when innocents still get executed, my argument is that the DP can be significantly cheaper than life imprisonment, in fact so much cheaper that the money saved is more valuable than the person's life.  Hate to break it to you, but human life does not have infinite value, although the good news is you don't have to sell yourself for your perceived value. Otherwise, it would be justified in taxing every single American 100% to pay for the technology to save 1 human life. Their life is worth less than the GDP of the entire nation.  But that's a tangent.

The DP can be cheaper than life imprisonment by making the executions public, in a big stadium, and charging people $100 or so to see the execution.  If 71,000 people see the execution, then they just paid for the execution, making it 100% free along with some money that could go to maintenance and operating fees.  An estimated approximately $5 million taking out court fees, proof fees, and other costs can be generated per execution. From a mathematical standpoint, it's $5 million vs .04 innocent human lives(IHL).  Multiply each big boy side by 25, and you end up with $125 million to the IHL. Is a human life really worth $125 million? I think it's worth less.

I would like to see your citation to see how expensive the DP and life imprisonment are on average.

Rebuttal 3 from Argument 4: The death penalty vs the homicide rate.

Here, your site basically says that states with the DP have higher homicide rates then states that have abolished the practice.  However, this easily could be due to other factors, such as areas that are wealthy tend to have a lower homicide rate. A more accurate way to determine if the DP has had any effect on homicide is to compare an individual state before it abolished the DP and after it did, and in this situation, context is key.  Lets use Massachusetts as an example:  states that MA abolished the DP in 1984.  shows the homicide rate as well as various other crime numbers and rates in the state.  5 years of context in the past and the future from the 1984 mark ought to be enough context to determine the homicide rate of MA before and after the state abolished the DP.

The Homicide rate in these years are:
1979: 3.7
1980: 4.1
1981: 3.6
1982: 3.8
1983: 3.5
Average: 3.74
1984(when the state abolished the DP): 3.6.  Massachusetts abolished the DP this year.
1985: 3.5
1986: 3.6
1987: 3.0
1988: 3.5
1989: 4.3
Average:3.58(a 5% decrease from 1979 to 1983)
Based off of the results of these numbers, the DP appears to have little correlation with a homicide increase, if any.  The difference between the averages of these numbers is so slight that it could be due to other factors, like an inevitable GDP per capita increase, and since rich people are less likely to commit murder, that could be the cause of the slight homicide decrease.  The DP has little to no correlation on homicide rates. A similar situation is true for Maryland.


They abolished the DP in 2013 (

In this situation, it looks like the homicide rate increased over the context period when the state abolished the DP.  This may be due to other factors, but given the Massachusetts story above, it’s hard for a different factor to apply to both situations.

Rebuttal 4 to Argument 5: The closure argument, whatever that means.

“5% of victims loved ones claimed they had any sense of closure after the execution.”

“20% claimed that that it did not help them heal at all.”

These numbers do not add to 100% even though they should.  If your brother was murdered, you either feel closure from the murderer’s execution or you don’t.  You should cite this.

“They said they felt sympathy for the murderer's family members.”  If my brother was a murderer, I wouldn't care if people sympathized with me.  I would hate my brother for being a murderer.

Rebuttal 5 to Argument 6:

Argument 6 is stating that is wrong to kill a murderer because killing in general is wrong.  However, I could also make this argument about Life imprisonment and prison in general. If 2 wrongs don’t make a right, then wouldn’t we also have to not punish our prisoners at all?  If the phrase, “Why do we kill people who kill people to show people that killing is wrong” is a legitimate phrase, then wouldn’t the phrase, “Why do we kidnap people who kill people to show that killing is wrong” also be legitimate.  Putting someone in jail without their consent is kidnapping. Does this logic apply? It does not. This is because it is different when the state does something as opposed to someone.

When the state takes your money without your permission, it is taxes.  When you do the same, it is theft.

When the state kidnaps you without your permission, that is prision.  When you do it, it is kidnapping, even if vigilantically a punishment for a crime.

When the state kills someone as a punishment for a crime, it is an execution.  When you do the same, it is murder.

Moreover, your argument ignores the fact that there are multiple types of killing.  Some types of killing along with their basic definitions are:

Slaughtering: When you kill an animal for food.

Manslaughter: When you accidentally kill someone.

Execution: When the state kills as a punishment.

Murder: When a vigilantic individual deliberately kills someone without their consent, and illegally.

My definitions may not be perfect, but they are a basic overview of the definitions of various types of killing.  They are not all equal. Murder is different from execution is the same way kidnapping is different from being imprisoned.

Back to you.

Round 2
Arguments extended.
Round 3
Big boy argument extended.
Round 4
Argument extended.  I guess my arguments are so good the opponent couldn't rebuttal them.  I hope that I get the argument points.
Round 5
Argument extended.  Since my opponent forfeited multiple rounds, I think that this is poor conduct and that I get the conduct point.