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The Death Penalty

The Death Penalty

Date: Nov 21 2006


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and has been sentenced to death by the Iraqi court. The European Union denounced the sentence, saying they oppose capital punishment in all cases. Tony Blair came out against the sentence as well. President Bush hailed the decision. His home state of Texas executes more people than any other state in the US.

Capital punishment is a controversial issue. Although many countries have abolished it, it is still practiced in many Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries. In 2004, the number of executions in China accounted for more than 90 per cent of all executions world-wide.

Listen to Mason and Kevin debate the death penalty.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Mason:  Thinkin’ about my stance on the death penalty, um, which… I’m generally for it.

Kevin:  Really?

Mason:  Yeah, I am.

Kevin:  Why’s that?

Mason:  Um, because I’m a very kind of pragmatic person and, you know, I see things like overcrowding in jails, you know, and, and I…. It’s funny because I generally believe that all people are good. At the same time I also kinda think that there are some people are kind of beyond rehabilitation or there are some things that are unforgivable. And, uh, in all honesty, to me, it kinda comes down to, like, well, if I’m gonna incarcerate this person for life, what’s that gonna cost, you know, taxpayers, and whatever, and society?

Kevin:  Now I could be wrong, ‘cause I’m quite, I’m very anti-death penalty, just ‘cause I feel ike the United States is one of… I believe it’s the only industrialized nation that still has the death penalty. I could be wrong… ‘cause, no, Singapore does.

Mason:  I don’t know.

Kevin:  Anyway… Um, and I feel like…. I believe from the statistics I’ve read that in fact it costs us more to put someone to death because of the constant back-and-forth between the courts and lawyers.

Mason:  Oh…

Kevin:  Um, than it does just to lock ‘em up for… with no chance of parole.

Mason:  That’s a funny thing. Hmm.

Kevin:  The system’s broken.

Mason:  I hadn’t heard that yet. And, and I do understand that, you know, that some people… it’s been proved… that, you know, have been sentenced to death falsely, you know, of crimes they haven’t committed. That’s really disturbing. But, uh, I’m ultimately not against killing people for their crimes, but I would like to know for certain that they deserve it and make it expedient and cheap.



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Kevin is right. The United States and Singapore are the only developed and democratized countries in the world that practice capital punishment. Unlike Mason, he opposes the death penalty.

When Mason says “that’s a funny thing,” he doesn’t mean it makes him laugh. He means it’s interesting, strange, even surprising and ironic.

When Kevin says “the system’s broken,” he means that the current system in the US that deals with capital punishment is inefficient and flawed.

Is capital punishment practiced in your country?

How do you feel about it?



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Czech Republic

i think there are people who deserve the capital punishment. thats one of a few things i agree with united states politics!

07:09 PM Nov 13 2007 |



Believe me, you better keep the death penalty out there or very soon US will be as violent as this piece of you know what called Brazil

12:56 AM Oct 11 2007 |




i do agrre with u sweetLenina! in no 1 is god but there r some ways & scientific methods that differs btw who lie & who say the truth!! 

12:46 AM Aug 28 2007 |



Dominican Republic

i think that, nobody is God for determinate who die and who doesn't. That's all by my side.

08:00 PM May 22 2007 |



i thank god for one thing that criminal of bush doesnt represent the true honnes american

04:15 PM May 12 2007 |



I support capital punishment as well. If a criminal maliciously and intentionally shot somebody to death, all he deserves is to get as good as he gives.

03:50 PM Nov 21 2006 |

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