A Gallup Poll shows that “61% of Americans view the death penalty as morally acceptable” (Muhlhausen 1). Despite this statistic, much controversy revolves around the topic of capital punishment. However, the issue very complicated. Questions related to morality, deterrence, and cost are all part of the debate. Professors David Muhlhausen and Philip Holloway take different stances on the death penalty debate in two articles. David Muhlhausen believes the death penalty should be used, whereas Phillip Holloway thinks capital punishment is not appropriate. A close examination of the rhetorical strengths and weaknesses in these articles reveals that Muhlhausen narrowly creates the more effective argument.
Mulhausens’ article, “How the Death Penalty Saves Lives,” states some crimes are so cruel that the perpetrator deserves the death sentence. Furthermore, he states using capital punishment deters other murders. He adds that the death penalty should be carefully administered. On the other hand, Holloway’s article, “Time to Question the Sanity of the Death Penalty,” states the death penalty costs the taxpayers too much money and innocent people are on death row.
Within the first article, Muhlhausen uses effective rhetorical strategies to prove his point. He discusses how the death penalty is appropriate for heinous crimes. To illustrate, he gives specific facts about Earl Ringo, Jr. who shoots “Poyser to death,” and forces Joanna Baysinger, a manager-in-training, to give him $1,400 in a restaurant robbery (1). The specific detail Muhlhausen uses demonstrates how cruel the crime is. Ringo did not have to shoot the victim and the small amount of money did not warrant the murder of two people, for certain. Further...
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...way his reader’s opinion. Beginning with a counterclaim shows he has done his research, admitting that for some inmates, the death penalty might be preferable. In contrast, Muhlhausen uses good logos in his arguments which state the death penalty can have an impact on reducing murders. But he does not include specific steps for ensuring the death penalty is administrated fairly. Not providing a rebuttal ultimately weakens his overall argument.
On the whole, the death penalty remains a controversial topic in today’s society, even though much of American society agrees with it. Mulhausen advocates the use of the death penalty, whereas Holloway feels the death penalty does not make sense. While, Mulhausen does offer up some good facts, he does not provide the more effective argument. Holloway does the better job in stating capital punishment should not be used.
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