John Wentzell Intro to Public Speaking Speech #4. ARGUMENTS FOR CONSIDERING PLACEMENT OF THE DEATH PENALTY QUESTION ON THE BALLOT IN RHODE ISLAND. INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT.
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ARGUMENTS FOR CONSIDERING PLACEMENT OF THE DEATH PENALTY QUESTION ON THE BALLOT IN RHODE ISLAND
Hi, my name is John Wentzell. I stand before you today to speak about a very serious topic that could help to curb violent crime in our state of Rhode Island. I realize that the issue of the death penalty is a volatile issue that pits one side against the other. I would like to speak to you about the positive effects of legalizing the death penalty for the crime of murder. I will examine some of the views on the side of anti-death penalty advocates and clearly and concisely refute them. There are three main views that I would like to speak about: how the death penalty deters future murders, how the death penalty does not put innocent people to death, and how today’s death penalty process is not cruel and unusual punishment.
Of course it would not be fair of me to come speak to you without giving you my opinion on the subject. I would like to state up front that I am convinced that capital punishment for murderers is a necessary tool to use to help reduce future violent crimes.
I would also like to make it clear that I do not feel that the Federal government has the right to dictate whether a state enforces the death penalty or not. I believe that it is the state’s right to make that decision on their own behalf. If we are to defer to the will of the government on this important issue it would set a precedent that we would not like to have repeated. As a resident of Rhode Island, it is my desire to speak to you about placing the question of the death penalty on the next ballot. Then the voice of the Rhode Islanders will make the final decision.
The first argument that anti-death opponents cite is that the death penalty does not deter murder. This is probably the biggest argument they like to talk about.
My response to this argument is that it is untrue. According to David Muhlhausen of the Heritage Foundation, “Federal, state, and local officials need to recognize that the death penalty saves lives” (Muhlhausen). Research has shown that that while the death penalty was in effect throughout the states there was a decrease in the amount of murders per year by 18. Then when the death penalty was repealed in those states there was an increase in murders once again. Without the threat of the ultimate price to pay, murderers are not afraid. This data shows that the death penalty does have an impact on potential murderers.
Muhlhausen, David B.. "The Death Penalty Deters Crime and Saves Lives."The Heritage Foundation. N.p., 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 22 July 2014. <http://www.heritage.org/research/testimony/the-death-penalty-deters-crime-and-saves-lives>.
The second argument that the anti-death penalty opponents cite is that innocent people could be arraigned, convicted, and executed.
My response to this argument is also that I do not fully agree with it. Years ago this may have been the case but with the advancements in DNA technology this possibility does not exist. In addition, because of the heightened sensitivity to prior mistakes, there are judicial elements in place to ensure everyone gets the most efficient trial possible. Bad publicity from botched cases in the past makes it more likely that death penalty sentences will only be asked for when the cases are fool proof and have no possibility of sentencing an innocent person.
The third argument that the anti-death penalty opponents cite is that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment for the accused.
Again, I wholeheartedly disagree with this assertion. The five methods of execution in the United States are lethal injection, electrocution, firing squad, hanging, and gassing. All of these methods were chosen because they are, according to Listserve, “efficient in killing the condemned before he or she is able to feel it” (5 Arguments). Lethal injection is the most common, efficient, and reliable method used today. Once again, opponents of the death penalty will bring up the cases where convicts executions took longer than they should have but most of those incidents happened many years ago.
"5 Arguments For And Against The Death Penalty - Listverse."Listverse. N.p., 1 June 2013. Web. 19 July 2014. <http://listverse.com/2013/06/01/5-arguments-for-and-against-the-death-penalty/>.
My goal tonight was to get you out of your comfort zone a little and to open your mind to other views on the death penalty.I feel that I have given all of you information about the death penalty that will help to spark debate and bring some of you to my side. Ultimately, in a free society it is the will of the people that will override any injustice. It is up to you to look over all the facts presented and hopefully come to the same conclusion I have, that the death penalty is the ultimate deterrent to future murders. Thank you.