07 The Death Penalty


Six people discuss if they think some people should be killed for their crimes.

Mixer Topic

Jeannie, United States
speakerThe death penalty? I don't believe in the death penalty because for me it's always a thing of, you know, who gets who gets to judge who gets to live or die. Even if the person being killed is being killed because they killed someone, I still don't go for that, eye-for-an-eye type thing.

Kate, New Zealand
speakerNo, I don't believe in the death penalty. I don't believe in killing. In fact, I think if someone deserves the death penalty, actually instead of getting a death penalty they should serve time in jail and have to face society and fell the humility. If they don't, if they serve the death penalty, they will not feel the shame and will not realize the consequences.

Nitya, India
speakerI believe in the death penalty because I think rape and terrorism are some crimes which are totally so disgusting towards the human race and that's, I don't think it encouraged by anyone in the whole world, and everyone wants peace so I think, yeah there are some reasons why the death penalty should be there.

Joel, America
speakerThe death penalty? That's a tough one because I think the death penalty is a good deterrent. It would definitely stop me from doing certain crimes if I knew that I was going to be killed if I did them, but the problem with it is, is that you can never be sure if the person actually did it, so if we convict someone and then kill him and later find out that the person actually didn't do the crime, then I think that's a tragedy.

Steve, England
speakerI'm against the death penalty, for, well, the main reason I'm against it, is that there's always an element of doubt. You never know if someone really did murder someone, or. well, murder is usually the main reason for the death penalty, so there's always an element of doubt. You can never be quite sure, so I think there's always a risk, and you shouldn't kill someone.

Marion, Ireland
speakerI think that's a really difficult question if the death penalty should be in place. Most of the time, I think that I'm against the death penalty, but then, you know, you read stories in the newspaper, especially about children being killed, particularly cruel ways of ending people's lives, and then sometimes, I get so angry that I think, yeah, just kill that person because they deserve it, but really, when I calm down, I don't believe in the death penalty.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson!

go for that

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Even if someone killed somebody, I still don’t go for that.

To 'go for something' means to agree with or accept it. Here, even if someone killed somebody, Jeannie would not choose the death penalty for them.  Notice the following:

  1. I offered 40 euros for the painting, but the artist wouldn't go for that.
  2. Some of my friends drink and smoke.  I just don't go for that.            

eye-for-an-eye

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I don’t go for that eye-for-an-eye type thing.

The phrase 'eye-for-an-eye' comes from the Bible: "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."  It means if we do a bad thing, the same bad thing should happen in return. If I hit you, you should hit me. If I cut you, you should cut me. It means that the punishment should be equal to the crime. Notice the following:

  1. For some, eye for an eye is outdated justice.
  2. In some countries, eye for an eye is still practiced.

deterrent

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I think the death penalty is a good deterrent.

A 'deterrent' is a reason to not do something. For instance, if you steal, you will probably be arrested and go to jail so this is a good reason not to steal. The police are a good deterrent from stealing. Notice the following:

  1. Strangely, nuclear weapons are often viewed as a deterrent to war.
  2. CCTV is a modern deterrent to stealing.

an element of doubt

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There’s always an element of doubt.

'An element of doubt,' is a small reason not to be sure that something is true. With the death penalty, it is hard to be 100% sure that a person really did a bad thing. Notice the following:

  1. For some, there is an element of doubt to global warming.
  2. Her story sounded true, but I had an element of doubt.

in place

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Should the death penalty be in place?

Used like this, 'in place' means 'in use' or 'exist.' Should we have the death penalty as a form of punishment?  Notice the following:

  1. In California, the law currently in place states that you must be 21 to drink alcohol.
  2. The policy in place is outdated and needs to be changed.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
go for that • eye for an eye • deterrent
of doubt • in place
  1. People who believe in an can spend their whole lives trying to achieve justice.
  2. What kind of rules do you have in the classroom to keep the children in order?
  3. His reaction created an element that I was making the right decision.
  4. That is a really good solution to the problem and I think that he would .
  5. I want to come, but the long drive is kind of a .