This piece of literature first appeared in the New Republic. It was written by former New York City mayor, Edward Koch. This essay was written primarily to justify his position in favor of capital punishment. He explains to readers that although there have been attacks on his opinion, he has closely examined the opposing arguments and still supports the death penalty. Edward Koch does an excellent job in his efforts to persuade those who are morally opposed to capital punishment to change their opinions, or at least to examine the arguments more closely.
In his essay, the author includes seven main arguments opposing capital punishment and refutes them. People may find that the death penalty is a barbaric act and Koch argues this point by suggesting that the method of lethal injection is actually quite humane and literally painless. He also argues that although no other democratic country imposes the death penalty as a form of punishment, no other country boasts a murder rate as high as the United States. The author contends with those who believe capital punishment diminishes life’s value by suggesting the contrary. He has found those who are sentenced to death have been judged fairly and with a great deal of examination. Koch then refutes the argument of capital punishment as a state-sanctioned murder by acknowledging that the state holds much different rights and responsibilities than the individual.
Edward Koch’s main purpose in writing and publishing this essay is to convince readers that there is extensive reasoning behind his position in favor of capital punishment. The author has made an excellent attempt to persuade readers to find favor with capital punishment. So long as the reader maintains an open mind and has minimal opinion on the subject, he or she would find the essay very convincing. For a reader with a very strong opinion, the essay may not have much effect in altering his or her position.
The author’s success may be accredited to several different strategies. The first and most effective is his method of refuting seven main arguments opposed to capital punishment. This allows readers to examine both positions. The reader can contemplate both views if he or she so desires, and make an educated opinion based on how persuasive the author’s support is found to be.
Edward Koch’s essay is effective for several other reasons, as well. He strikes the reader as being an intelligent and highly educated man. His extensive political knowledge and understanding of the subject encourages readers to value his arguments. He has examined all views on capital punishment and in so doing has gathered his position based on an educated analysis. He also successfully uses several pieces of statistical information. Anecdotes and past examples of the use of capital punishment are a great tool to the author. These methods effectively hold the reader’s attention.
This essay was successful in achieving the author’s purpose. For a reader with minimal opinion on the subject, this essay would be quite persuasive. Edward Koch does an excellent job of informing and persuading readers to not only accept his position, but acquire it themselves. The essay was enlightening and informative and was a worthwhile read.