Two Wrongs Don\'t Make a Right?


David Todd
Eng. 102
Arnett
Essay #5


The question of whether capital punishment is right or wrong is a truly
tough choice to make. Capital punishment (death penalty) is legal because the
government of the United States of America says that it is all right to execute
another human being if their crimes are not punishable by other means. There
are many different forms of capital punishment. Some of the most popular ones
have been hanging, firing squad, electrocution (the chair), the gas chamber, and
the newest lethal injection. In the readings of George Orwell, Edward I. Koch,
and Jacob Weisberg, there are incites to capital punishment that are not usually
thought of or expressed aloud. Also in the movie "Dead Man Walking," the act of
lethal injection, a form of capital punishment, is presented and made visual for
one\'s eyes. Both the readings and the movie hit on emotions that some people
have never thought about feeling. With the many people in the world there are
many different feelings on capital punishment. Upon reading George Orwell\'s "A
Hanging," the reader can obviously see that the writer is against capital
punishment. Orwell brings out many of the points that are considered for
argument against the death penalty. Orwell writes "It is curious; but till that
moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man.
When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, the
unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide. This
man was not dying, he was alive just as we are alive." In this quote Orwell
brings out the emotion of knowing that what is being executed may seem like a
monster, but the fact remains that the prisoner is still a human being. Orwell
also brings out the point that when we were a society that conducted hangings,
the executioner would put a bag over the prisoners head. This was basically to
make it so we didn\'t have to watch the facial expressions of the dying because
it would make society feel guilty.
Another writer against capital punishment is Jacob Weisberg. In
Weisburg\'s "This Is Your Death," the reader must take into account that most of
the public is immune to seeing violence on the TV and that broadcasting
executions live would just be another form of entertainment. Weisberg writes
also about the inhumane and cruel death penalties we have devised to kill
criminals. Weisberg tells of the pain and suffering of the prisoners that goes
on during an execution. Even if one was watching, one may not always be able to
see what is really going on. Weisberg goes into a deep explanation of the many
death penalties. Upon reading, one may be shocked as to what really goes on in
an execution. For example, the gas chamber kills people by hypoxia. Hypoxia
means "the cut-off of oxygen to the brain." One can\'t understand the pain they
are feeling unless one has suffered a heart attack which has many of the same
sensations. Weisberg explains that "all methods of execution can be botched."
If an execution were to be botched, then that would only mean more pain and
suffering for the one being executed. Weisberg states that "electrocutions go
wrong frequently and dramatically." An example is while a prisoner was being
electrocuted, the voltage had been lowered to 100 volts because of a synthetic
sponge. At a 100 volts one\'s body is simply tortured until death. This might
seem to come under cruel punishments.
Another opinion on capital punishment is conveyed by Edward I. Koch. In
Koch\'s "Death and Justice," he yields the position of being for capital
punishment. He tries to counteract all of the points brought about by the
arguments against capital punishment. Koch says "it\'s not the method that
really troubles opponents. It\'s the death itself they consider barbaric." He
relates the barbaric act of the death penalty to radical surgery, radiation, or
chemotherapy in attempts to cure cancer. This is a pretty far stretch. Koch
also is the first to bring out the fact that the Bible says it is wrong to kill
another human being. Koch disproves this by telling the reader that the Torah
says the death may be used as a punishment. There are many different religions
so the topic of religion is a hard one to use as an argument for or against
capital punishment.
Another opinion on capital punishment is the neutral position. This
position is covered in the movie "Dead