In what follows I discuss a few of his arguments and show that the death penalty is the most viable approach to deal with convicted murderers. Koch’s has a long history in the political arena. He served as: mayor, district leader, lawyer, congressman and councilman. His years of public service offered his audience a sense of trust and credibility toward his views. He begins by assuring those opposed to the death penalty, that he has studied, listened and considered their views impolitely, but he still believes in the death penalty as a means to the practice of social Justice.
His values and beliefs, nonetheless, are for protecting the precious lives of the innocent and upholding Justice in our society. Overall his essay is a keen definition of social and humanitarian Justice. Koch’s intellectual strategy works on the emotional, rational and logical aspects of human thinking and deduction. For example, he brilliantly disables the alignment and compassion one might hear in a convicted murderer’s pleading words as he faces execution, “killing is wrong…. It was wrong when I did it and it is wrong when you do it”. Para 1) For some people this quote from a convicted murderer seems to compel a sense of obligation to all life, yet Koch creates a severance from this idea by stating that “It is a curiosity of modern life that we find ourselves being lectured on morality by cold-blooded killers. ” (Para 2) He is able to show the absurdity of conceding with the murderer’s plea. This statement begins to discredit the social guilt inflicted by the convicts plea, by questioning whom we listen to for sound moral advice. Why should his plea be considered when he, the killer, did not consider the life he murdered?
Koch continues to eradicate the idea that using capital punishment makes us no better than the murderer when he states “Simply put, the state has rights that the private individual does not” (Para 13) From here he outlines democracy and our electoral state, and shows the flaw in thinking by comparing legal imprisonment to kidnapping and taxation being equivalent to extortion. (Para 13) Leaving the question of where our loyalties lie, on the side with invoiced murderers and recidivists of heinous crimes or with innocent victims and their families.
This is a soul-searching argument, appealing too person’s sense of loyalty, self worth and identity. The idea that “the death penalty is barbaric” (Para 5) is another weakness that Koch reveals when he proves it is more barbaric to not use Analysis of Death and Justice, by Edward Koch By literally in exchange” (Para 15). This is in reference to the lack of courage to help and protect one another, as in the case of Kitty Geneses who was murdered in New York while gibbers heard but did not help her. They didn’t even call the police.
Koch is directly pointing his finger at citizens with no backbone, at cowards. Part of the injustice of being murdered is when the murderer serves a minimal sentence. Koch infers that barbaric is the lack of action and the lack of Justice; when murderers walk back onto our city streets only to kill again. Koch gives another analogy in support of the death penalty in relation to cancer and radiation therapy. As Koch points out, we don’t have the cure for cancer, but we have to keep searching, as is the issue with the death penalty.
It (the death penalty) may not be the ultimate or the best answer but like cancer treatments that are not Just, we have to use them, they are all we have. His point is that until we advance in science with a more progressive and positive treatment for cancer, we will continue to use what we have. It is the same in our society in respect to the death penalty, until we have a more advanced and Just solution; we have to use what we have. Another view is that “No other democracy uses the death penalty’. Para 7) Koch counters this with the assumption that no there democracy exists in an equivalent state of evil and violence. I find this a weaker argument, as Koch does not present any substantial data to validate the homicide or heinous crimes in other countries. Although, he goes on to establish support with statistics from M. I. T. That show the increase in homicides and murder in the United States. The M. I. T. Study showed a greater risk of being murdered in an American City than that of a soldier at combat in WI. Para 7) This counter is sobering and gives credence to the death penalty in our democracy. There is he argument that: “An innocent person might be executed by mistake” (Para 8) Koch provides evidence that proves the contrary by submitting the works of Adam Bedaub who cites a study proving this not to have happened at all from 1893 to 1971. Koch argues that a functioning government needs to understand that error will always exist. Koch continues to imply that regardless, we as a people need to focus on the lives that were lost at the hands of convicted murderers.
He implies that we need to own our responsibility to society and each individual victim that has fallen into the ate of cold-blooded murderous hands. He argues that protection is a human right and best method of protection is to never let a convicted murderer have a chance to kill again. The last point I am going to touch on is “Thou shall not kill”. (Para 12) Koch argues this opposition with concrete Biblical inferences that unite our histories greatest philosophical thinkers and the U. S. Constitution. He shows their alliance with and agreement to the use of capital punishment.
Koch uses the reference source that the opposes of the death penalty used. This dramatically shows how their understanding is flawed. Koch’s argument appeals to my intuition because I find it problematic that some people say that the death penalty is barbaric, cruel and inhumane. The death penalty is not as simple as an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, religious- based, reciprocal-Justice philosophy. Koch argues it is a right and power to be used as a protective agency for society. The morality we apply to an individual should reflect the way that individual treats his fellow man.
If he takes a life his life should be taken. Koch successfully used strong and deliberate verbiage that methodically addressed seven dominant opposing beliefs that endorse the abolishment of capital punishment and he clearly found flaws in every one. His arguments are substantial and show contradiction to each view regarding the moral equanimity of capital punishment. I have shown you other perspectives and referenced the heinous examples that Edward Koch’s depicts in his essay; in doing so I am therefore allowed to give his conclusion support that validates capital punishment is Just.