Why Executions Should Not Be Televised? - Argumentative Essay Sample

Published: 2021-08-16
914 words
4 pages
8 min to read
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
Argumentative essay
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Death penalty or capital punishment is perhaps the extreme form of punishment a human being can subject to his fellow. Nevertheless, capital punishment is legally allowed in many countries the United States is one of them. People are divided over this matter, with as many supporting as those opposing. But even those who support it are still divided as to whether the executions should be televised on public televisions. Those who argue in support of televising the executions assert that publicity of such an extreme punishment will deter crime as it sends a warning to every criminal out there of a severe waiting punishment for his or her heinous acts. On the other hand, those who oppose televising executions argue belief that publicity of such executions is more detrimental than beneficial to the public. Indeed, executions should not be televised because it leads to devaluing life, strips away the dignity of the families and the victims and decays morality among the members of the public.

Publicly televising executions will make death images a commonplace and the resulting impact is that people will be inured and numbed to the imagery of death which will consequently lead to an impaired balanced view of life and death and a devaluing life. In war-torn countries, for example, such an imbalance has come out clear, and the effect has been never-ending violence. In countries like Syria, people are used to death images in public and, it can be seen that killing one another in such a country is not something that one can think twice before doing it. It is the same danger that televising executions could bring to any peace-loving country once the members of the public are used to death images, and the value becomes a mere consideration.

Similarly, devaluation of life as a result of the publicity of executions will send a dehumanizing message to the prison inmates. According to Chowdhury (p. 23), if the prison inmates are to receive word of the televised event through any means or witness the execution on the television, the inmates will interpret the execution as a sport aimed at dehumanizing them. Also, the inmates will feel that they are being devalued or dehumanized as individuals, and as a result, agitation may erupt among the inmates due to frequent fomentation which will ultimately end up in prison disturbances (Chowdhury, p. 25). Life devaluation and dehumanization of the prison inmates as a result of televising executions will cause unnecessary disturbances to the inmates which could be avoided by performing such executions behind the scenes.

Also, an obvious impact of publicly televising the executions is stripped dignity and privacy of the families of the victims. How would a family member feel after seeing their brother or sister being killed publicly on a national broadcasting television? Their dignity is hurt, and their privacy stripped off. The family members have not done anything wrong to deserve a destruction of their dignity and a violation of their privacy. The criminal should carry his or her cross, but the innocent family members should not be stripped of their dignity. If the executions are undertaken behind the scenes, privacy and dignity of family members will be salvaged. Thus, executions should not be publicly televised to safeguard the privacy and dignity of families of the victims.

Moreover, allowing executions to be covered publicly is a moral decay. For example, when Timothy McVeigh requested that his execution is covered publicly, and his request granted implied that the entire public was allowing the moral distinction that existed between him and the public to slip away (Frost, p. 173). Public executions make it appear as if the entire members of the public are simply as bloodthirsty as a terrorist who was caught planning to bomb a populated area. To derive satisfaction from watching a fellow human being die, even if he or she is a public enemy, is to pervert, diminish humanity (Frost, p. 173). Therefore, to kill in public is simply decaying the morals of the societies and destroying the humanity in the members of the public.

On the other hand, proponents of public executions claim that publicity will deter crime as the culprits who have not yet been caught will fear the consequences of their acts. Nonetheless, such an argument does not hold to scrutiny. Forensic psychology studies indicate that murderers and other criminals act out of impulsivity and irrationality, with the absence of a second thought of the consequences (Network, p. 56). Thus, even if executions are made public, such criminals will not figure out the consequence of their acts and the publicity of executions is rendered useless.

In conclusion, therefore, public executions should not be allowed under any circumstances as they will serve to decay morality, cause a devaluation of life, destroy dignity and privacy of families of the victims, and dehumanize prison inmates as well as causing prison disturbances. Although proponents of public executions argue that publicity of executions will deter crime, the reality is that criminals act out of irrationality and they will not mind about the consequences of their actions. This leaves public executions without any benefit, but only to cause moral decay, devaluation of life, destruction and dehumanization to the prison inmates.

Work Cited

Andrews, Donald Arthur, and James Bonta. The psychology of criminal conduct. Routledge, 2010.

Chowdhury, Turjoy. Crime & punishment museum and research center of criminology. Diss. BRAC University, 2015.

Frost, Kristen. "The Constitutionality of an Internet Execution: Lappin v. Entertainment Network, Inc." DePaul-LCA J. Art and Ent. L. 12 (2002): 173.

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the customtermpaperwriting.org website, please click below to request its removal: