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Justice can not be served until the debate on capital punishment is

resolved and all states have come to agree that the death penalty is the

best way to stop crime completely.

“The bottom line is, one method of execution is just as brutal and

as barbaric as the next,” says Mr. Breedlove of the National Coalition to

Abolish the Death Penalty. This comes straight from the mouth of a member

of a national organization against capital punishment. 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. So if Breedlove?s words hold true, then what

he believes is that someone going out and killing someone is barbaric. In

a sense isn?t that what he?s saying, that one way of killing someone is

just as bad as any other. So if he finds this so barbaric, why doesn?t he

do something about it?

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 now because 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 to 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. Mr. Smith, the father of the two

children, broken up from the ruling said “Me and my family are

disappointed that the death penalty was not the verdict, but it wasn?t our

choice. They returned a verdict they thought was justice” (Bragg, pg.


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. They said it would be just as bad for her to be in that cell alone

because of her depression, but does it justify her cutting short the lives

of the two children who had no idea of their oncoming death.

“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, a eighteenth century French diplomat. He is right, if we give up

our punishing a deadly criminal, then we throw our society into chaos and

let the criminals freely do as they please. I would know I was safe if

anyone that tried to fatally harm me would be put to death. But in this

society when someone can kill someone, get sentenced to life, 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

suppose to be stripped of your rights. Not so anymore. Justice in the

nineties has slacked up a bit.

“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,

others 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 my 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 a 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 notion 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 entire 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 the deterrent

factor would most definitely rise because of the publicly 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 same quote can be used to describe our nation as well.

Some 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 can not join together and defeat crime, 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 on crime. We must make

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.



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