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If your own flesh and blood were brutally murdered, would you want the culprit to live the rest of their life in a cell, or be forced to meet the same fate your innocent loved one did? This is the question that former New York City mayor, Edward I. Koch, addresses in his 1985 article, "Death and Justice", which was printed in The New Republic, a magazine that generally publishes articles dealing with controversial political issues. Koch claims the death penalty is just and defends his statement by using his former public service as ethos, strong language and concrete examples as pathos, and by disproving capital punishment rebuttals as a means of developing logos. Because the readers of this magazine are usually actively involved in political issues, Koch does not have to "soften up his paper." He is aiming to prove a point, and the politically sound readers are not going to be scared away by concrete examples and strong language.
Appealing to pathos, this article is very upfront and immediately reveals the authors standing on the matter. In the first paragraph, he gives rather absurd examples of convicted murderers pleading for their lives. Robert Lee Willie (who raped and murdered an 18 year old woman) said that, "Killing people is wrong...It makes no difference whether it's citizens, countries, or governments. Killing is wrong." The pure ridiculousness of cold-blooded killers claiming killing is wrong makes the reader question anti-capital punishment views. Koch goes on to reiterate the absurdity of such claims saying: "It is a curiosity of modern life that we find ourselves being lectured on morality by cold-blooded killers." He then reveals his standing by saying that he believes life is precious and that the death penalty reinforces its preciousness. The reinforcing of justice that the death penalty accomplishes is made clear by the example of a convicted killer, Luis Vera, saying, "Yeah, I shot her.... She knew me, and I knew I wouldn't go to the chair." Had the deviant been aware of a death penalty law in his state, such a lethal action may not have been taken.
By Koch being the mayor of New York City when this was written, he already has an established base of ethos. As a mayor, one weighs objections more frequ
Quotes talked about in this paper
Terminology referenced in this essay
capital punishment, federal law,
Names referenced in this essay
Edward I. Koch, Luis Vera,
Locations included in this paper
New York City,
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