The death penalty has been a continuous argument that has been debated throughout history. This topic can be seen and heard in novels, articles, journals, essays, and speeches. There seem to be two primary sides on the death penalty. One side argues the idea that the death penalty should be practiced, which can be seen in Edward I. Koch in his essay, Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life. The opposing side believes that people should not permit killing other people as a form of punishment; this is illustrated in The Death Penalty by David Bruck.
After analyzing the two essays, I came to the conclusion that David Bruck’s essay proves his claim in a more effective and efficient manner than Edward I. Koch. Both sides of the arguments are valid as long as there are substantial evidence and reasoning provided to back up the claim. In the essay, Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life by Edward I. Koch, he believes that the death penalty should be practiced because it reveals how precious life is. Most of the evidence he provides the reader with are arguments made by the opposing side that he negates.
He argues that the death penalty is not a hostile thing to do like most anti-death penalty people believe. The death penalty shows the value of human life and is not determined by race. He even comments that the Bible can be applied as evidence supporting the death penalty. In addition, Edward I. Koch writes that rarely innocent people put to death. David Bruck has an entirely different viewpoint than Edward I. Koch in his essay The Death Penalty. A piece of evidence he mentions is that the death penalty is inhumane because people are supporting other people to get killed.
Bruck implies that the people who are being killed may be innocent and once that innocent person is killed there is no way to reverse it. Another piece of evidence that he states is that race is a factor in determining if a person lives or dies. Bruck’s last piece of evidence is that the death penalty is not an effective punishment. Overall his argument reflected the idea that killing people for punishment is morally wrong. These two essays convey substantially different views on the same controversial topic, but one of them proved their argument better in the aspects of logos, ethos, and pathos.
Logos plays an important part in both of these essays. In Koch’s essay, he gives the reader a large amount of evidence. However, some of his evidence is invalid examples. For instance, the paragraph on how the death penalty strengthens the value of human life can be easily proved wrong; since many rapists are found not guilty, which makes his whole argument easily faulty (Koch 486). In another paragraph, he compares two things that are not similar in that respect which is a logical fallacy.
Koch compares cancer to the death penalty which is a false analogy they have little to no things in common. Even though he comments that the analogy is “imperfect” he continues to compare the two extremely different things (Koch 484). Another weak element in his logic aspect is not providing enough evidence for his arguments; this can be found in his essay twice. The first time is when he only provides two examples of how innocent people are not killed. There are thousands of death penalty cases that could be used to support this argument, but he only chooses two.
If he wanted he could have stated a statistic about all the people who were not wrongfully convicted and would have easily won the argument, but he did not. The second time can be seen when he writes about how the Bible can be used to support the death penalty. His logic behind this argument does not relate to the bolded paragraph title. Also he lacks examples to prove his point making this paragraph confusing (Koch 486). Despite his weaknesses, one positive element that Koch does is provide the reader with the court cases.
The court cases were the strongest part of his logos. Logos can also be analyzed in Bruck’s essay. The evidence he proves demonstrates that Koch’s argument lacked logic. For instance, when Bruck illustrates that Koch did not mention that the reasoning to Joseph Carl Shaw’s crime was mental illness and PCP it makes the reader question what other logical evidence he did not tell them (Bruck 490). Even though this does not forgive Shaw from the crime committed it does show that he was not in his right mind, which Koch decided was irrelevant.
Another point Bruck brings to light on Koch lack of logic, is when Koch writes that innocent people are never being killed. To show the fault in this statement Bruck shows a list of four hundred cases that had an error in them. The strongest part of Bruck’s argument is when he states the statistics in Florida, which shows that there is no correlation between the death penalty and crime rates. One negative aspect of logic in his essay is that he mes the outcome of events. In his argument about innocent people being killed, the first example he gives is about a man that was not killed.
I believe that there could have been a better example than simply assuming what would happen if this man was not released. Just like in Koch’s essay, the court cases helped Bruck provide strong evidence to his readers. In general, the essays had strong examples, evidence, and facts, but Koch struggles with a few elements of logos. Just like logos, ethos is a large part of proving one’s opinion in a controversial argument. Edward I. Koch was a mayor of New York from 1978 to 1989. In addition, his essays have been published by well-known publishers.
Koch’s personal background is evidence that reveals he is a reliable source for information and a relatively intelligent man. Another element that shows the credibility of the author is when he writes about considered the opposing views; because Koch did this, it portrays him as a respectful person. The reader will begin to trust the author because he shows respect. Ethos can also be seen in David Bruck’s essay. David Bruck graduated from Harvard College and then went to the University of South Carolina to receive a law degree.
He has been a Clinical Professor of Law and the director of a death penalty defense clinic. Again, his background proves that he is an intelligent author who knows what he is writing about. Bruck’s essay consists of him negating Koch’s faulty evidence. The key to this is that Bruck proves Koch’s evidence to be wrong in a respectful and appropriate manner. Both authors can be interpreted as informed and honest. In the ethos aspect of these two essays, authors are equal. Pathos can be a perfect way to persuade the readers to a certain extent.
In the essay, Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life, Koch’s main goal is to make the readers feel that they need to act on this issue. He does this by making a connection between the reader and the neighbors who did nothing when a woman was being raped and murdered. This connection is a little extreme, but it is effective. It makes the reader feel responsible in a sense like they have a duty to protect people (Koch 487). Koch also displays the criminals in the worst possible light. When he displays Luis Vera as showing no guilt about killing someone, it makes the reader feel no sympathy towards him.
Therefore the reader feels a sense that he should be killed (Koch 484). Pathos can be seen in Bruck’s essay as well. Bruck makes the reader feel guilty when he points out that if one supports the death penalty, they are in a sense celebrating and encouraging a death of another human being (Bruck 490). He states that Alvin Ford during the year on death-row lost his mind (Bruck 491). The example of Ford makes the reader feel bad or depressed for Ford and his state of mind during the years he had to spend knowing he would be put to death.
The two essays tugs on the reader’s emotions in an effective manner. After observes the logos, ethos, and pathos of both essays, he or she can observe that David Bruck’s essay proves his argument better. The two authors seemed to be similar in the areas of ethos and pathos, but it was the errors in Koch’s logos that made Brucks essay shine. Overall, Koch and Bruck’s essay were well put together and organized. One could easily understand the claim and evidence to support their claims. It is a difficult process to choose sides between such a controversial topic.
There is research to be conducted, the study of all different ideas and opinions, and a reflection of one’s moral standards. On the topic of the death penalty, I would conclude that I am against it. Yes, I do believe that we have problems in our justice system, but the solution is not killing people. Individuals in jail could find the right path and do amazing things with their lives, but they can not if he or she is dead. Also, why is killing not just when people do it, but when the government does it, it is just. This is the wonderful thing about having an opinion, as long as one has evidence to back it up the argument is valid.