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In Texas, one month has elapsed since Twenty-five year old Jacky Park was convicted of murder and sentenced to die in the gas chamber. Presently, Mr. Park still awaits his execution due to the appeal process. This case, like several of its antecedents, has brought about a mixture of emotions concerning capital punishment and its application. The question that is at the base of several arguments is simply this: Is the death penalty justifiable or not? Plagued by the issues concerning the death penalty, the Parents of Parks victim are at home arguing their views on the verdict from the case.
Maggie, the victims mother, stands to argue that the death penalty is not justifiable. Her husband, Mike, does not agree with his wife. He wants justice to be served. For Mike, the death penalty will be the only justice for what has happened to his son.
Maggie: I want to thank you for making dinner. It was very good. Mike: It is my pleasure. Maggie: Would you like to join me for a walk? The night is beautiful today, and I can use a little exercise after eating that wonderful dinner. Mike: No thank you.
Actually, I was going to ask you if you would join me in the living room. I would really like to talk to you about the case. Although Allen verdict was decided a while ago, you and I have never really had an opportunity to talk about it. We have both been so busy getting ourselves back on track at work, so we have neglected to discuss our views on these intending of Jones.
Maggie: Yea, youre right. It would be good that we talked about the case. Mike: You go ahead to the living room and Ill get us some hot milk tea. Maggie: That sounds good, thank a lot. But, I dont want any sugar in it this time though.
Mike: Here we go. It is your milk tea. Maggie: Thank you. Now that we have time to ourselves, what was it about the case that you wanted to talk about? Mike: Well, I have been giving a lot of thought to the decision that was reached by the jury. I must say that I am very pleased to see that Jacky Park will be receiving the gas chamber after what he did to our son.
After thinking about if for a while, I concluded that the only justice that could be served in this case is the death penalty. I believe that we can now close this chapter on our tragedy and get on with our lives. With Park death, I see a chance to rest easier at night. I see a chance for our son to rest as well.
Maggie: Our son is dead. No death penalty will justify his death or bring him back. I am curious about something. Mike: What is it? Maggie: Would you have gone to sleep the night of the verdict and then waken up the next day even if Park was not sentenced to the gas chamber? Mike: Im sure that eventually I would have.
Yes. Maggie: Would you have gone back to work if the verdict was not the death penalty? Considering the fact that we have bills to pay. Mike: Of course, I would have. I would not want to see any of our bill pile up. I must make sure that they are not a burden to us.
Maggie: So you would have slept, woken up. You would have gone to work. I would assume that you would have also done most things that make up a daily routine as well, for example: eat, shower, and read the paper, things like that. Mike: Yea. I would have done those things that you mentioned. You and I would have had to do those things.
Maggie: Well, then we would have been able to get on with our lives without capital punishment being the jurys decision. Mike: I understand what youre saying now and youre right. You and I would have gone on with our lives. Maggie: This is where our opinions certainly differ. I believe that every persons life is equally sacred and no life should be taken unless absolutely necessary. As in battle, in self-defense, or to protect the life of another person.
Also, I can t capable to see the death penalty as justifiable because it does not bring back the loved one that we lost. Mike: You say that every persons life is equally sacred. You are also referring to the murderers life as well, correct? Maggie: Correct.
As odd as it may sound, I even believe that the murderers life is sacred. Mike: I must ask you this: If you had a chance to save a persons life, would you? Maggie: Yes. I would not hesitate. Mike: If you could save that person from murder, would you be even more inclined to do all that is in you power to help? Maggie: I most certainly would want to help.
Mike: So you allow me to make this point: capital sentences, when carried out, save innocent lives by permanently incapacitating murders. Some persons who commit capital homicide will slay other innocent persons if given the opportunity to do so. The next most serious penalty, life in prison without possible parole, prevents murderers from committing some crimes but does not prevent them from murdering in prison. Which means that they would still be able to murder. You said that you would do all in your power to save a person from being murdered. By having convicted killers put to death, you are saving the life of a potential victim.
Maggie: We cannot allow ourselves to punish an irrational action with an equally irrational retaliation. In my opinion, murder is wrong, whether it is committed by an individual or by the State. I would never want to see any person murdered intentionally, which includes potential murder victims and / or their potential murderer. I have another question for you: do you believe that a person, who is going to be a murder, considers the consequences of his or her actions?
Mike: Most likely not. Maggie: Then, do you think that capital punishment is going to deter a murderer from committing the crime? Remember that if an individual is willing to commit a violent crime, they probably do not consider consequences. They just carry out the hand crime with no care.
Mike: I understand your point now. Once again, you are correct. But deterrence is only one side of the punishment coin, however. An equally fundamental reason to punish, lies in society's compelling desire to see justice done. Punishment expresses the emotions of the society wronged, the anger and outrage felt. It solidifies and reinforces the goals, values, and norms of acceptable behavior in the society.
Maggie: You agreed with me earlier when I said that murder is wrong. I realize that we both have exceptions to what I have said. Now you should tell me that society has a compelling desire to see justice done. You also said that punishment... solidifies and reinforces the goal, values, and norms of acceptable behavior in the society. Mike: Yea that is what I said Maggie: These goals, values, and norms that you and society refer to as acceptable behavior, are they saying that murder does not fit within these guide lines?
Mike: Exactly. Although it is not stated directly, but I would hold it to mean that committing murder is not acceptable behavior. Maggie: I dont understand something then. You agree with me that murdering wrong in any case. You also agree the view of society that says murdering is wrong and must be corrected my punishment.
This punishment is referring to the death penalty, right? Mike: Yea that would be my point. Maggie: Then how can you justify murder to be wrong by murdering an individual through capital punishment. It is self-contradicting. Do you now understand why I see no justification with intentional murder of any sort? How can we condemn murder while condemning executions?
Mike: I now understand your viewpoint, and I see the contradictions that are in my argument. There is no way to condemn murder while condemning executions. Maggie: I will always miss our son. I would love nothing more to see him alive again, but murdering Park is not the answer.
Capital punishment is not the answer. 32 a
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