David Bruck And The Death Penalty

Improved Essays
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the death penalty as “execution imposed in court of law as punishment for a crime.” Edward I. Koch, a New York mayor from 1978-1989, supports the death penalty while David Bruck, Harvard College alumni, opposes the death penalty. In the essay “The Death Penalty: Is It Ever Justified?” and “The Death Penalty” both Koch and Bruck talk about the death penalty, yet they both argue the value of life very differently by elaborating their points of view.
Imagine a life where there was no existence of any type of crime. Sadly, we live in a life where crime exists and sometimes we can do something about it and sometimes we cannot. People like Koch and Bruck view justice differently, because Koch states; “We may
…show more content…
As he states; “Some critics of capital punishment, such as columnist Jimmy Breslin, have suggested that a life sentence is actually a harsher penalty for murder than death.’ This is sophistic nonsense” (Koch 486). Koch disagrees with Jimmy Breslin, because he is not convinced that a life sentence in prison is harsher than an execution. While Koch sees a person convicted for murder being executed, Bruck’s idea is to make sure that the convicted murderer has proof of either being guilty or innocent. Bruck believes that it is important to know because there have been cases where innocent people have been executed before. An example of an innocent person who was almost executed was Lenell Jeter. Lenell Jeter was a young black engineer who recently served more than a year of a life sentence for a Texas armed robbery that he didn’t commit. (Bruck 491). This piece of evidence from Bruck’s essay helps to understand that there have been situations where they punish the wrong person. Bruck states, “I don’t claim that executions of entirely innocent people will occur very often. But they will occur” (Bruck 495). Bruck wants assurance that if the death penalty is going to put to action, to at least be sure that the person being convicted of the crime is truly guilty.
Imagine all those people who were executed and were innocent. Like Koch and Bruck, justice should be equal for all, but in Bruck’s defense, justice wouldn’t be equal for all if innocent people were killed for a crime they did not commit and the sad part is that you can’t fix it because they would be already

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    He uses the argument to strengthen his own claim, by saying that instead of it being a valid reason for ending the death penalty, if seen from a different perspective, it is even more justification for extending it. He expresses that “The appeals process for a condemned prisoner is lengthy and painstaking. Every effort is made to see that the verdict and sentence were fairly arrived at” (323). This goes to show that the discrimination factor of the death penalty is no longer the main problem, as the state maintains standards as to how the decision is made and why. Koch explains the unrighteousness of those who may be accused not being held accountable simply because of a few who are speculated to be “favored”, as justice also falls under equality, no matter the circumstance.…

    • 1308 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    He used these quotes in an attempt to show that the death penalty reinforces the idea that there will be retribution for violent actions. However, Bruck drew on these quotes to point out that they do very little to validate Koch’s reasoning. In fact, they do the very opposite by signifying not only an inmate’s remorse, but also their attempt to point out the flawed logic of the death penalty…

    • 1073 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Kitty Genovese is referenced, a woman who was assaulted and killed on the street twenty-two years ago, whose neighbors heard screaming for help, and was ignored. He argued that in this case, we have given all the power to the person committing the crime. That as a people, our morals have equated to cowardice, and that is why the government should have the authority to protect us from monsters committing similar crimes repeatedly. “When we protect guilty lives, we give up innocent lives in exchange” (Koch 487). Bruck counters Koch with the idea that the death penalty was never really about justice, it is about being vindictive.…

    • 1640 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Moreover, Bruck argues that the evolution of our country's moral understanding has led to the elimination of lynch law, and will lead to the disposal of capital punishment. This attempt of pathos by Bruck is unsatisfying to the reader, begging the question, Is the issue the governor or the justice of the death penalty? Alike to his other arguments, this one also becomes convoluted with…

    • 1901 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Ronald Cotton Legal Case

    • 1909 Words
    • 8 Pages

    The American legal system is widely admired for its laudable moral qualities such as liberty, justice, and due process. Americans take great pride in seeing the legal system administer swift and fair penalties to those who have committed crimes. But what happens if the legal system is wrong? What if the person that was sent to prison, or executed by the state, did not commit the crime they were punished for? This was the situation that Ronald Cotton found himself in during the 1980s and 90s serving a life sentence for two rapes he did not commit.…

    • 1909 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    What sorts of words come to mind when you hear the words death penalty: murder, termination, and expiration? Maybe the words that come to mind are: justified, validate, or tolerable. “The Death Penalty” by David Bruck was written in 1985, as a counter argument to another essay. In his essay, Bruck discusses different points to support the death penalty. Twenty-six years later, in 2011, two men named Zachary Shemtob and David Lat wrote an essay called, “Executions Should Be Televised”.…

    • 1030 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Death Penalty Texas

    • 1001 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Not all the cases with death sentences is right, “I don't want to put one innocent person to death to put 99 that are guilty to death,” said Gary Johnson (Johnson 1). In addition, the cost of it is also excessively expensive; therefore, this solution is not as good as its definition. The death penalty has its impacts to the criminal behavior of people as the result of reducing crime rates since it was re-instituted. One can say keep it but only for a symbol. Life is precious, and no one has the right to end other’s…

    • 1001 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Anybody Will Do Punishing criminals has always been a major part of what is considered justice, as the saying goes an eye for an eye. People naturally lean towards that extremely crude form of justice, and so they care about nothing else besides the fact that they get someone’s eye. In The Crucible by Arthur Miller and “Trial by Fire” by David Grann, extreme actions are taken over the deaths of children. People are accused of causing the deaths, yet none are at fault. They are all killed regardless of reason saying otherwise.…

    • 755 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Arguments against the death penalty can be simplified and classified into the categories of the brutality of the process, along with its morality, and the basic reason of why it is apart of the United States Judicial system. The argument in support of the death penalty has been prevalent throughout the decades and although the times have changed the reasons of why it is obligatory to the safety of this nation's citizens. When presented with the question concerning the necessity of the death penalty, an essay by Edward I. Koch titled "Death and Justice" comes to mind in support of capital punishment. Koch starts with two short examples of murderers who were on death row and executed in 1984.…

    • 1818 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In 1985, The New Republic released Edward I. Koch ’s essay entitled “Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life” to the public. This essay 's purpose was to sway readers towards a new perspective that affirms the morality and validity of capital punishment. While the article seems effective at first glance, upon further inspection the holes in its message start to become clear. For this very reason, Koch’s essay is a convincing article, yet riddled with logical fallacies and self-contradictions.…

    • 1207 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    We all have similar and contrasting views on justice, what it is, when it is needed on our side, and how it can be achieved. These views, however, may conflict with each other. Some of us may accept certain circumstances as a part of our daily life, such as the female, while others may argue against them and raise their pitchforks and torches blazing brightly comparable to their righteousness. In the latter scenario, to what extent should we let that righteousness control our actions before we become blinded by it? We seek retribution on criminals who have committed the worst possible felonies, and so, they must be punished accordingly.…

    • 864 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Not too long ago, the public was blissfully unaware that innocent people could be convicted of crimes not committed. News coverage has brought a new awareness to this prominent issue. The fact that these…

    • 1434 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    John Grisham’s The Innocent Man displays the many errors contained within the American Judicial Process and the flawed institution of death row. The American criminal justice system contains discrepancies, including the manner in which court and police systems are operated. Raymond Bonner’s paper regarding holes within the judicial system illustrates the condition of innocence after conviction.…

    • 2310 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    As stated by Dieter (1997), the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, “the danger that innocent people will be executed because of errors in the criminal justice system is getting worse”. According to his article, a total of 69 victims have been released from their death penalty convictions,…

    • 1940 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In a case in 1989, Willie Boskett was tried and convicted of stabbing a guard in prison. He was sentenced to 25 years in jail with parole, since the option of death was not available in New York at that time. The judge was positive that Boskett was going to commit homicide and he stated that in sentencing Boskett, he is essentially sentencing an innocent man to death (Gottfried 31-44). Moreover, there was another case similar to this in 1976. Lamuel Smith had robbed a store and killed the owner and the employee.…

    • 2336 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics