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Critical Thinking

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements
You are given a main article (a letter) and supplementary texts which are mentioned in or relevant to the article. Firstly,
1. do a broad standardisation of the main text. (10 marks)
Then evaluate the arguments in the article and whether or not they are supported by the supplementary texts (20 marks). Insure that you discuss:
2. Use of rhetoric in the article.
3. Evaluate any particular argument types that you recognise from class (eg conditional, generalisations, analogical, causal etc)
4. Comment on and evaluate any fallacies you find in the text
5. Comment on the strength of any remaining inferences and plausibility of any unsupported premises
6. Give an overall conclusion of whether the argument is good, summarising your findings.
Main text:
Dr Gerald Thorncraft
2/168 Oswald Rd
Wyong, NSW, 2259
02 43587654
The Honourable Ms Pam Hall MP
PO Box 411
Belmont, NSW, 2280
Dear Ms Hall,
I am writing this letter to implore your support for an upcoming motion to table a bill in parliament for the reintroduction of capital punishment in Australia. This bill will be the first step in a process for federally implemented legislation to cover all crimes that will come under the heading of a Capital Offence, which will be drawn up separately under the crimes act of Australia. As you will be aware, the motion will need a two thirds majority of caucus from both parties to be passed, so your support is urgently needed. The following makes clear why you should not hesitate in offering your support for this motion.
Australians have had a debate about capital punishment and are now overwhelmingly in favour of it. For instance, the 30 member council of the Police Federation of Australia are unanimously in favour of the reintroduction of capital punishment. A phone-in poll conducted by a Sydney TV station received over 48 000 calls and 95 per cent of the respondents were in favour of the reintroduction of capital punishment.
Furthermore, the majority of Australians agree that the death penalty was the appropriate sentence for Australian drug trafficker Van Nguyen and that it should be carried out.
But more importantly, the cruel and brutal abuse of those we love should not be accepted in Australia. However, by giving the perpetrators of atrocious crimes the right to walk the streets again, as so many are, we demonstrate to the world that Australia not only accepts, but also condones such unconscionable conduct. Let’s face it, the prospect of a slap on the wrist is not going to deter a hardened criminal from committing a hideous crime nor prevent a paroled criminal from committing even more heinous crimes. So, without a just punishment in place we are actively encouraging these brutes to commit these appalling crimes.
We should be aiming to deter people from committing violent crime and it is only by reinstating the death penalty that we can make it absolutely clear to the worst of criminals that their barbaric acts of abuse are not acceptable in Australia. Such a severe penalty would see even the most vulgar of criminals thinking twice before violating the rights of others with their inhuman intentions. It is likely that the death penalty does indeed act as a deterrent. If you look at conservative states in America, such as Texas, who still have the death penalty instated, there has been a significant drop in the number of inmates in prisons- around 5000 reduction in inmates in 2012. This is just one positive outcome of the death penalty.
But even if, and it’s a big ‘if’, the death penalty doesn’t deter people from committing the worst of offences against humanity, would that be a reason to buckle under the pleas from so called ‘humanitarians’ for compassion for these low lives? Not on your Nelly! The American John McAdams summed it up best when he said,
If we execute murderers and there is in fact no deterrent effect, we have killed a bunch of murderers. If we fail to execute murderers, and doing so would in fact have deterred other murders, we have allowed the killing of a bunch of innocent victims. I would much rather risk the former. This, to me, is not a tough call.
So, whether the death penalty has a deterrent effect or not, it’s a safer bet for the innocent to reinstate it. Furthermore, McAdams raises another important point here: that the death penalty gives us the only mechanism that stops those who commit the worst of offences from ever inflicting their sadistic attacks on the innocent again. After all, the recidivism rate for those who receive the death penalty is a perfect zero.
The death penalty not only permanently prevents these grubs from violating our liberty ever again, it upholds justice because it is a punishment that fits the crime. Who could honestly say that providing the necessities of life and numerous luxuries to a malicious predator until they’re set free is just retribution for callously raping and murdering an innocent child? It’s obvious in such cases that justice can only be achieved with the death penalty.
What of the contentious objection that by reintroducing the death penalty we risk the execution of those who are wrongfully convicted? Well, besides the fact that the benefits of the death penalty would profoundly outweigh the costs, this reasoning is severely flawed. We don’t ban the activity of abseiling because of the possibility of losing an innocent life. So just because an action risks an innocent life that doesn’t automatically justify eliminating that activity. Besides this, there is plenty of evidence from the United States that this risk is so slim that it will never occur. First, there is no evidence that there has ever been a wrongful execution in the U.S. In 2006, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that, in the modern judicial system there has not been “a single case – not one – in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred in recent years, we would not have to hunt for it; the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops.” Second, cases of prisoners being released from death row because of DNA testing only adds further support to reintroducing the death penalty since the testing provides a further failsafe for the innocent.
It is often suggested that the sanctity of life is enough reason to prohibit the reintroduction of the death penalty. However, by their own actions vicious criminals have demonstrated that they have no respect for the sanctity of life. And since there is no higher authority than the state in judicial matters, the state must decide whether a person who does not recognise the sanctity of life in others should have that recognition extended to them in return. It is clear, however, that by not applying the death penalty in severe cases, the state forsakes the sanctity of innocent victims’ lives in favour of the criminal’s. Hence, it is obvious that the state demonstrates a greater respect for the sanctity of life by reinstating the death penalty.
Furthermore, the source for the sanctity of life is biblical text, but if we turn to the bible we find only fortification for reintroducing the death penalty. For instance, “wrongdoers thou shalt not suffer to live” Exodus 22:18 and “all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword” Matthew 26:52, are only a couple of the numerous passages found throughout the text in support of the death penalty.
In conclusion, Australia needs to reintroduce the death penalty because capital punishment has a deterrence effect, thereby reducing the rate of capital crime. Capital punishment stops the rot at the source, thereby removing an insalubrious element permanently from society. And capital punishment is the only way to uphold justice for the worst crimes. Moreover, it is evident that the objections against the reintroduction of the death penalty carry no weight when examined rationally. Hence, with so many Australians currently in favour of the death penalty, the time is now to introduce a bill into parliament to reinstate the death penalty for capital offences.
We look forward to your support in this very important matter.
Dr Gerald Thorncraft
President of the Capital Punishment Advocacy Group

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