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The Death Penalty
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
Heritageģ 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 Breedloveís words hold true, then what
he believes is that someone going out and killing someone is barbaric. In
a sense isnít that what heís saying, that one way of killing someone is
just as bad as any other. So if he finds this so barbaric, why doesnít 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, shouldnít 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 wasnít 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. Itís 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 1950ís, 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.ís 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
Gas Chamber: 9
Firing Squad: 1
First used in New York in 1890 and still in use in 13 states, "old
sparky" was the horrific outcome of Thomas Edisonís attempt to
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Capital punishment, Penology, Hugo Adam Bedau, Justice, Religion and capital punishment, Capital punishment debate in the United States
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