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In his article, “The Last Line of Defense” in The Atlantic, journalist, Raymond Bonner advocates the abolishment of death penalty in the criminal justice system of America; however, an overemphasis on the shortcomings of the system, one-sided debate, and biased tone deprive the reader from gaining comprehensive knowledge on the issue.
He delineates how numerous underlying arbitrary elements influence criminal proceedings. Therefore, capital punishment can prove prejudicial to the accused. He appeals to the reader’s logic. He quotes two real life criminal cases in detail to demonstrate how the accused were charged guilty despite evidence pointing to the contrary. For this reason, the author advocates the abolishment of capital regime as it can lead to the execution of innocent persons. Furthermore, this renders death penalty unconstitutional and unethical. As evident, the use of logos through referring to real life cases assists the reader in deriving rational conclusions on the issue of death penalty. Similarly, he establishes ethos and credibility by providing comprehensive and detailed account of the cases. Persuasive arguments are based on all three techniques as evidenced in this article.
Bonner begins the article by expressing concurrence with Diana Holt, an opponent of the death penalty. From the very start, he expresses his disapproval of the capital regime by describing Diana Holt as a “crusader”. He goes on to portray her struggle against death penalty as “heroic, long odds battle”. He deliberately depicts Diana Holt as a national hero in order to convince the readers of the rightfulness of his belief. This use of ethos is essential in building credibility and trustworthiness. Thus, the use of ethos in the title sentence unconsciously leads the readers to believe that death penalty is undoubtedly unjust.
In the opening paragraph, Bonner adopts a sentimental tone and employs pathos to stir emotions
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