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To Kill or not to Kill

In Scott Turow's 2003 article in the New Yorker titled "To Kill or not to Kill," he discusses a number of arguments people have made for and against the death penalty. This examination of Turow's article will offer a clear description of these arguments to reveal the complex nature of this issue. While some view the death penalty as a fair and just retribution for those who have intentionally taken the lives of others, others contend that the death penalty only continues the cycle of violence and does nothing to prevent violent crimes against the public.

To Kill or not to Kill

The article begins with Turow's noting a former colleague in the United States attorney's office who believed that Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, was headed for Hell and his job was simply to "speed up the delivery," an attitude which was shared by others regarding the fate of the two Beltway sniper suspects Turow also points out that Americans generally favor the ultimate sanction imposed by the death penalty, yet a large number of Americans question the system's fairness, particularly since DNA evidence has proved that the wrong person has been convicted of a crime in many cases.

Capital punishment followed English law and was adopted in all states in America when the Republic was founded, yet many, such as Thomas Jefferson, believed that executions should be restricted, and in 1846 Michigan became the first state to outlaw capital punishment. Turow contends that in many respects, the argument over capital punishment boils down to Old Testament ideals about retribution versus New Testament ideals of forgiveness.

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