Justice can not be served until the debate on capi


tal punishment is resolved and all states have come to agree that the death penalty is the best way to stop crime completely.The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition defines execution as the act or an instance of putting to death or being put to death as a lawful penalty.

Many people who are against capital punishment are only thinking of the criminal and how cruel it is for them. But, shouldn’t we think of the families that are broken apart of the merciless acts of these criminals. Think of Susan Smith, how she knowingly drove her car off into a lake with her two children strapped into the seats. Think of how they must have felt as the cold water started to fill the cabin of the car, and then ultimately drown them. Barbaric is exactly the word I would use to describe her actions. But yet, the jury rejected the death penalty and chose a life sentence instead. The jury believed that justice was served by handing her the life sentence. But was it justice that she was not put to death for killing her two children? How could someone possibly let her off the hook of such a crime? “All grandeur, all power, all subordination to authority rests on the executioner: he is the horror and the bond of human association. Remove this incomprehensible agent from the world and at that very moment order gives way to chaos, thrones topple and society disappears,” says, Joseph de Maistre, an eighteenth century French Diplomat. He is right, if we give up on punishing a deadly criminal, then we throw our society into chaos and let the criminals freely do as they please. I would feel safe if I knew that anyone who tried to fatally harm me would be put to death. But, in today’s society when someone can kill someone, get sentence for life, then get paroled and then freed to go about and do the same crime again, frankly scares me. Another, thing that scares me is the fact that this country has softened up on criminals. It’s hard to think that now a days everyone has a right, even though when you go against the law and are put in prison, you are to be stripped of your rights. Not so anymore. Justice in the nineties has slacked up a bit.

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“In the late 1950’s, on any given day there were about two hundred prisoners awaiting execution,” says Hugo Bedau of Tufts University, Massachusetts.
“Hardly any remained on Death Row for more than a year.” Today November 1995, there are 15 times that number, and many have been there for over a decade. Opponents of the death penalty say this statistic is a moral outrage. Supporters see it as undermining a key advantage of the death penalty over life imprisonment: it saves tax-payers the huge cost of keeping murderers locked up (Matthews, pg.’s 38-42).

Most of those against capital punishment argue that the forms of execution are gruesome. While some might be seen that way at first, other offer the advantages that both parties can agree on. In 1994 there were two hundred fifty seven executions in the United States. There were five methods of doing so, as follows.

Lethal Injection: 133
Electrocution: 112
Gas Chamber: 9
Hanging: 2
Firing Squad: 1
Electric Chair
First used in New York in 1890 and still in use in 13 states,”old sparky” was the horrific outcome of Thomas Edison’s attempt to show the dangers of the AC power supply being promoted by his rivals. The condemned is strapped to a wooden chair, electrodes are attached, and a shock of thirty thousand watts is applied. The prisoner is literally cooked internally, and death may require multiple shocks.

Gas Chamber
First used in Nevada in 1921, the gas chamber is an airtight room with a chair into which the accused is strapped. Death is caused by exposure to cyanide gas, produced when sodium cyanide is dropped into sulfuric acid. The suffering caused is deliberate and plain to see: writhing, vomiting, shaking and gasping for breath for many seconds. This horrendous technique is used only in a few US states.

Lethal Injection
Introduced in the US in 1977 and now in use in 23 states, this is the most widespread method and arguably the most humane. The condemned is strapped to table and injected with sodium thiopentone, losing consciousness in 10 to 15 seconds. This is followed by pancuronium bromide , which blocks respiration, and finally potassium chloride to stop the heart (Matthews, pg.’s 38-43).

While electrocution is obviously not the most painless way to execute someone, it does offer a deterrent for future crime. I know that I personally would not murder anyone if I knew that I would be executed with the electric chair. Such a deterrent keeps most people safe as they go about in their lives.

But does it do any good? Does executing someone for such crimes actually prevent future occurrences? Some would say no, others would say yes, but me I have the notation that in some cases yes, but in others no. I say this because, unlike in the nineteenth century, we do not make our executions as public as they did. We do not take the criminal and hang them in the streets where everyone can see them. Or we are not like over in Europe where they would execute the criminal in broad daylight and with the whole town around. It was a fanfare ritual back then. Now it is just an unseen deed done at prisons. We should bring it back into the open so that everyone can see the consequences of your crimes.

When they execute someone with the electric chair they usually wait until close to midnight because then they know that not too many people will be using electricity as the chair needs thirty thousand watts, or the equivalent of four hundred seventy-five watt light bulbs turning on at the same time. And it needs more then one shock, so it drains a massive amount of electricity from the power company.

What if they were to go back to the old days. Then to deterrent factor would most definitely rise because of the publicity displayed execute of the criminals. it would send out the signal that anyone who can commit the crime, can also pay for it. That’s the main reason for the death penalty anyway, to tell every criminal and future criminal that you’ll have to pay for your crimes that you commit.

As Robert Matthews a journalism for Focus an English magazine once wrote
“Some people argue that the absence of capital punishment in this country England is the mark of a civilized society. I believe we are rapidly becoming uncivilized. Some of the things that happen on our streets and in people’s homes certainly do not constitute civilized behavior.” (Matthews, pg.’s 38-42)
That exact quote can be used to describe our nation as well. Soon will argue that the capital punishment is such a harsh and uncivilized way of treating criminals, but look at how they act. They do not care about the lives of those they have destroyed. They are the ones that make this nation uncivilized. They are the ones that are the most uncivilized individuals in this entire country. If anything, the death penalty is not enough. It can never bring back the loved ones to the families that have lost them. It can never bring back the innocent lives that have been taken in cold blood.

Capital punishment must be the standard by which each and every state must abide by. If we cannot join together and defeat crimes, it will most certainly take us over. We can no longer sit and let our lives be terrorized. No longer can we sit back and watch criminals be released and then kill again. No longer must we Americans or anyone live our lives in fear. We must come together and draw the line crimes. We must take the world safe so that we and our children may once again live in a world without the fear of being senselessly killed or losing our loved ones. For a cold blooded killer, capital punishment is the only true justice.


James Donahoe

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