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Capital Punishment a Controversial Issue

The recent success of the Boise State football squad has taken a backseat to a very contentious debate in the US.  Capital punishment has been a controversial issue for many years. People weighing in on both sides of the debate are very passionate about it and there is no shortage of opinions on the matter from citizens of all ages and political inclinations. Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the killing of a person as a legal punishment for the commitment of what are known as "capital crimes" or "capital offenses" in states that carry the death penalty. In these states the judicial system has the right to recommend and carry out such punishments for these offenses when a person is convicted by trial.

Death Penalty in Practice

Originally crimes such as these were punished by severing the head of the guilty individual; but as time has gone by, the practices and methods by which these things are carried out have changed and become somewhat less primitive. In nearly every society in history the practice has been carried out for so called capital offenses, which today include things like murder and first degree rape, but these days many countries have gotten away from it in practice, and even countries that do have it do not use it all that often in most cases. It is something that probably has less support across the globe than it did a century ago. Member states of the European Union, for example, ban the punishment in their Charter of Fundamental Rights [1].

Interestingly enough, even though in general the tendency around the world has been to get away from this punishment for capital crimes, almost two thirds of the population of the world still lives in countries where the practice is allowed, because the four countries with the highest individual populations all still practice it in some form. China, India, the United States, and Indonesia all allow capital punishment in some form or another within their territories. In the United States, the practice is not allowed anywhere regardless of territory, but is a states' rights issue, meaning that the governments at state levels are allowed to decide whether to allow it within their borders for capital crimes committed in their territory.

Executions in U.S. States

Different U.S. states have different rules about the practice. Some of them do not allow the death penalty, some allow it only on a very limited basis, and still others allow it in a wider range of circumstances. There are also differences in the way it is administered. Lethal injection and other so called humane means have gained ground through the years as advocates have successfully gained sway in their efforts to adopt more merciful methods. But there are states that still use other methods such as death by firing squad, and Death Row inmates are sometimes allowed to choose their own method in states that allow more than one.

Capital Punishment Controversy

There continues to be controversy surrounding this form of punishment for murder and other such offenses. One example of an argument that detractors use is that capital punishment has led to the killing of innocent people, and that its motive is not founded in justice but rather revenge. Supporters of this type of consequence for capital crimes, on the other hand, find it a suitable retribution for murderers and others. The controversy continues as time goes on. Majority opinions do change over time and laws shift in some ways as a result, but the controversial nature of capital punishment for its supporters and critics remains in place as long as it is a topic of conversation for cheap auto insurance policyholders and common folk.


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