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Guns and Other Weapons in Schools - Research Paper Example

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Name of of professor Name of course Date (DD MM YYYY) Capital punishment: A review of research According to Kronentwetter, capital punishment is the process through which a convicted criminal is put to death, for committing a certain crime (2)…
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Guns and Other Weapons in Schools
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"Guns and Other Weapons in Schools"

Download file to see previous pages The origins of capital punishment date back to ancient times, where it was used to punish and deter crime; and as a political tool, to suppress rebellion and dissent among the masses (Aiken 207). One of the most famous examples of capital punishment is the death of the philosopher Socrates, who was required to drink poison for heresy (Schabas, “The Death Penalty” 164). Seventh century Athens, meanwhile, decreed capital punishment for any and all proven crimes (Murrie, Anumba and Keesler 125). Regio cites that ancient Babylon also decreed capital punishment for certain crimes - though it is surprising that murder was not among these. Research also highlights the role of religion in the origin of capital punishment - Islam, for example, commanded capital punishment for offenses such as treason and rape; while Mosaic Law did the same for other crimes (Regio). By the eighteenth century, British colonies were enforcing the capital punishment for over two hundred different crimes (Murrie, Anumba and Keesler 125). This shows a varied and liberal use of the death penalty; it is possible to infer from this kind of use that the barriers to putting someone to death for crime till the nineteenth century, were anything but great. Reviewing literature on capital punishment highlights two striking features of capital punishment in ancient and medieval times: the lack of due legal process preceding it, and the brutality characterizing it. Burns demonstrates how the witch hunts of Europe are a classic example of both these features - between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, thousands were tortured and burned alive for practicing witchcraft, often after trials by ordeal - in a large number of cases, guilt was decided by submerging the accused in a body of water, and seeing whether the accused sank or floated (95). Jewish traditions included execution through stoning, crucifixion and sawing through convicts (Regio). The absence of an objective legal process is also seen in the norm of torturing people who would not confess to their crimes; and executing criminals by boiling them - some for several hours - until they died (Regio). Researchers have argued that it is important to see all of this in context - olden times were different from the modern era, their societal laws and values built in an environment of fear, hardness and suspicion that had resulted from uncontrolled and rampant disease and death, as well as the difficulty of finding practical evidence (Schabas, “The Abolition of Death Penalty,” Burns 94) - but, whatever the debate on why capital punishment was so executed may be, what all researchers can agree on is a general lack of regulation and fairness in capital punishment before the modern era. With humankind’s progress towards civilization, both of these things have changed. Schabas believes this is because the advance towards civilization has changed the nature of human motivation - the author argues that the socialization and interdependence that characterize the modern era, also lead to a legal system where the promotion of ethics - and not harsh deterrence - becomes the core function of criminal law (“The Abolition of the Death Penalty”). Over the centuries, then, societies around the globe have moved towards a legal system which regulates the nature of capital punishment, and the reasons and processes for awarding it (Schabas, “The Death Penalty” 159). One of the first steps towards this was made in the 1966 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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