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Selections from Students’ Arguments

Selections from Students’ Arguments

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Selections from Students’ Arguments

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  1. Selections from Students’ Arguments Some selections are taken from Departmental Essay Examinations; others are taken from essay assignments.

  2. Rate this introduction (Essay Exam Sample). Speaking Loudly for the Soft-Spoken Majority When people conjure images of cold and calculating criminals, they often bring to mind names such as Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, and most recently, the D.C. snipers, Lee Malvo and John Allen Muhammad. These heartless individuals took crime to the ultimate level by knowingly brutally murdering numerous victims, without ever experiencing a remorseful thought. Capital punishment was intended for criminals such as these unrelenting killers. Since antiquity, people were in favor of retribution for committing crimes. We can all recall reading about Hammurabi's Code in history class. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" was how civilizations of yesteryear dealt with their criminals. If you killed, you would, in turn, be killed. Since 1976, the United States has executed more than 800 deserving recipients. These are men and women who have tortured, raped, sodomized, and in the end, savagely ended the victim's life. There are many advocates against the death penalty in the United States today, but capital punishment validates the value of life and is a necessary sanction for incorrigible criminals. Therefore, the death penalty should be upheld.

  3. A Refutation (Essay Exam Sample) Capital punishment is not taken lightly in this country and just recently people have begun to speak out about the problems with the current system. Before Illinois Governor George Ryan left office, he declared a moratorium on the death penalty. This meant that the 167 inmates living on death row would now be granted the privilege of having life imprisonment, and they would not have to have their lives taken as punishment for the evil crimes that they committed. Governor Ryan's commutation of these sentences seemed " be driven by the obvious injustice of the existing system" (Raspberry). There are many ongoing studies that make the assumption that most of the inmates on death row are innocent. These studies try to bombard the reader with numerous case examples showing criminals on death row who were exonerated, but they fail to mention the exact and precise reasons for the exonerations. Approximately only one third of the recent inmates released could actually prove their innocence with actual substantial evidence (Willing). The other convicted criminals had their sentences reversed because of legal technicalities, such as : "...prosecutors' errors or misconduct...because witnesses died...evidence being excluded for legal reasons..." and "...because (the criminals) were in prison for similar crimes" (Willing). People who are anti-capital punishment neglect to share these vital and sometimes, mind-changing, facts. Another reason some citizens of this country do not support the death penalty, is because they think that the suspected killer does not receive proper representation. In California, "State law requires the provision of expert witnesses and investigator funds" (Bradbury). In places like Illinois, the Capital Litigation Trust Fund has been established " pay for an adequate defense" (Turow) and the Capital Litigation trial bar has been created " require lawyers who represent someone facing the death penalty to be experienced in capital cases" (Turow). DNA evidence has also become a major indicator of guilt or innocence. Anti-death penalty supporters argue that DNA is what is finding some of the current death row inmates not guilty, but one also has to realize that DNA has become a tell-tale sign that a suspected killer IS guilty. DNA evidence will ensure that the person accused of one of the horrendous crimes of murder, is, in fact, guilty. The courts are also looking at other ways to lower the risks of executing the innocent by "...recommending that all interrogations be videotaped" (Turow), so that people can see that the confession was not coerced. The courts are also beginning to "...alter lineup procedures, since eyewitness testimony has proved to be less trustworthy..." (Turow). The court systems of today are taking extra steps to see to it that someone who actually receives the ultimate punishment of the death penalty definitely deserves just that.

  4. The following introduction is taken from a student essay which argues the major proposition: “Violence on television is a major cause of violence among children.” It was an almost unimaginable crime on that early spring day in sleepy Jonesboro, Arkansas, when two unimaginably young boys went on a killing spree at their middle-school. The thirteen-year-old and his eleven year-old cousin, dressed up in camouflage, grabbed their fathers’ hunting guns and went to the school. After setting off the fire alarm, the boys crouched in the woods and began mercilessly shooting down the students as they exited the school building. In the end, four of their fellow classmates, all girls, were dead, along with a beloved teacher who used her body to blockade the bullets from hitting yet another child (Egan). This shocking story and others like it are becoming a commonplace on the evening news and threatening the innocence of America’s kids. From sprawling cities to tiny towns, school violence by children has spread throughout the country. Over the past half a dozen years, 221 people were killed by the escalating violent episodes on school campuses. Such malicious events perpetrated by our youth have shaken the spirit of the nation and caused us to ask the distressing question, “Why are our children inflicting such calculated, cruel acts against society?” According to Dr. Ronald Stephens, director of the National School Safety Center, which monitors school violence, “When you look at the overall pattern, it’s a pretty serious wake-up call. We are seeing an increasing number of violent, callous, remorseless juveniles” (qtd. in Egan, par 13). Mental health experts who have examined many of the violent perpetrators claim that children today view violence as an “acceptable, permanent solution to their problems” (Kesich). How did our children arrive at this way of thinking? Who or what is steering their minds and hearts to this level of anger and resentment? Dr. John P. Murray and many other prominent experts on violence in children believe it is the television.

  5. Below is the refutation of the student who wrote the essay in support of the proposition, “Violence on television is a major cause of violence among children.” Critics of the premise that violent television produces violent kids assert that violence has been on television since before “The Three Stooges” and the “Bugs Bunny” cartoons first aired, yet violent outbreaks among children have only begun to surface in the past decade. These critics argue that all laws, especially gun laws, must be strictly enforced. However, according to the National Television Violence Study, only 25% of violent interactions among juvenile students involve the use of guns. Indeed, the handful of killing sprees that have received heavy media attention all occurred with the use of handguns. But further inquiry into these cases reveals that several of the boys also bore homemade bombs or similar devastating weaponry (Kesich). This tells us that the perpetrators were going to kill one way or another, even if they had not gained access to guns. Yes, guns do provide a means to violence, but there is a dangerous underlying force that is the true culprit; the exposure of television violence to children.

  6. Rate this introduction (Essay Exam Sample). The death penalty is a disgrace to human life. The death penalty allows humans to play the role of God and decide whether another human is worthy of life. Every life is worthy and not one person can tell another person they should not be able to continue their life. Not only is the death penalty immoral, but in some cases it causes an innocent person to die. Capital punishment also has a racial bias that many may not see with out research. The death penalty is a cruel and barbaric idea living in a society that should be well ahead of this ridiculous punishment. Capital punishment should be prohibited.