Essay on 'Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life'

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Introduction

In the article “Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life” written by Edward I. Koch he argues that the death penalty should be legal, he said he was a “democrat with common sense”. Before the electric chair, people were hung or burned, but we have evolved since then. The death penalty has been abolished and reinstated in New York many times, there is currently no death penalty in New York. Edward I. Mr. Koch was a Democratic mayor of New York, he served three terms from 1978 to 1989. He was the mayor during the time that New York had a high murder rate and helped bring it down a bit. In the article, Mr. Koch uses many forms of rhetorical devices such as ethos, pathos, and logos.

Ethos

Mr. Koch does not use the rhetorical device ethos as much as logos and pathos. When Mr. Kock states, “During my twenty-two years in public service,... As a district leader, councilman, congressman, and mayor,...”,(Koch 1) which establishes his credibility with the reader. Koch also establishes his credibility to the reader by giving facts such as, “...murder rate has climbed 122 percent between 1963 and 1980.”(Koch 2) or “...1970 homicide rates a person who lived in a large American city [such as New York] ran a greater risk of being murdered than an American soldier in World War II…”(Koch 2), by doing this research it shows the reader that he cares about the subject and that he is knowledgeable on the topic. He, later on, uses the Kitty Genovese case to back up what he said about murder rates in large cities. Mr. Koch uses the case of Richard Beigenwald where after eighteen years of being locked up for a murder, he was released and committed four more murders, and Lemuel Smith is serving life in prison for murder, but while in prison he mutilated and dismembered a prison officer as evidence(Koch 2). The use of ethos gives the reader a sense of credibility, but pathos appeals to the readers’ emotional sense to persuade them to see his side.

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Pathos

On his fourth point, Mr. Koch compares the penalty of rape being lowered with the death penalty being lowered. Mr. Koch says, “If the penalty for rape were lowed, clearly it would signal a lessened regard for the victims suffering, humiliation, and personal integrity...When we lower the death penalty for murder, it signals a lessened regard for the value of the victim’s life.”(Koch 2), he adds that quote to make the reader feel sympathy towards the victim if the penalty for murder were to be lowered. At the end of the article, he says “When those same neighbors shrink back from justly punishing the murder, the victim dies twice.”(Koch 3), he wants the reader to feel guilty and again sympathy towards the victim, Mr. Koch pushes it when he says, “...the victim dies twice.” The use of the rhetorical device logos is also used effectively throughout the article.

References

    1. Koch, E.K. (1985, April 15). Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life. The New Republic.
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Essay on ‘Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life’. (2024, April 10). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 25, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/essay-on-death-and-justice-how-capital-punishment-affirms-life/
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