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The Death Penalty 11 Essay, Research Paper

The Penalty of Death

In this essay, H.L. Mencken has two arguments that stand out in the beginning of this essay. These arguments are against the penalty of death, although his essay is in a way, for it. The first one is, That hanging a man (or frying him or gassing him) is a dreadful business, degrading to those who have to do it and revolting to those who have to witness it . (Mencken 455). The second one is also against it, That it is useless, for it does not deter others from the same crime . (Mencken 455). These arguments are obviously against the death penalty.

Towards the end of his essay he gives us an example of his true argument . He says that the wait for the killer and the family is the cruelest part and he despises it. If people deserve the death penalty, which he says people do, then they should be penalized almost on the spot. He does not believe the time in which the crime is committed and the penalty of death should be pushed off as long as it is. I think he is right with this argument but, it seems as though he is against the penalty of death. But, in reality he is not. His essay to me was falsely interpreted.

He must be for the death penalty, he says Any lesser penalty leaves the people feeling that the criminal has got the better of society (Mencken 457). This means that the victim s family and friends feel as though the killer has gotten off easy. There should be no getting off easy after you commit a murder. I have so much respect and regard for human life, that I definitely favor capital punishment. Murder is the most terrible crime there is. Anything less than the death penalty is an insult to the victim, society and human race. Not punishing the killer to the fullest tells me that we do not value the victim s life enough to punish the killer fully. This essay in my opinion was terrible, I did not like the way he set it up, he did not take a solid side. It was written to be as though it is a joke and funny. I did not think it was funny, it just boggled my mind, I had a hard time trying to figure out that he is for the death penalty. I do like the way he described the wait. I thought that was the best part because it was descriptive and I could understand where he is coming from.


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