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KOCH ESSAY - In his article Death and Justice Edward...

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In his article ‘Death and Justice’ Edward Koch (1985) argues in favour of the death penalty for “heinous crimes of murder” (¶ 4), but he does so in a curious way: he analyzes the arguments used by opponents of the death penalty and attempts to show why they are unsound. This essay will examine Koch’s analysis of one of the opposing arguments and conclude that Koch is not convincing in his attempt to justify the death penalty for three reasons: he fails to properly address the argument, he presents statistics without due analysis and, perhaps most importantly, the approach he adopts does not achieve its ultimate aim. According to Koch (¶ 7), supporters of the death penalty argue that no other major democracy uses the death penalty, perhaps implying that since America is a major democracy, it should follow suit. Koch’s answer is simple: America is different, and he illustrates this by showing the stark percentage increases in murder rates in the country as a whole and New York in particular. Between 1963 and 1980, the increase was 122% for the country as a whole, but 400% in New York and apparently even higher in other large cities. Another – and perhaps more striking – piece of evidence is an MIT study showing the chances of being murdered in
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