Debate Over Capital Punishment --
A Pro Stance
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 Heritageďż˝ 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 Breedloves words hold true, then what he believes is that
someone going out and killing someone is barbaric. In a sense isnt that what
hes saying, that one way of killing someone is just as bad as any other. So if he
finds this so barbaric, why doesnt 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, shouldnt 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 wasnt our
choice. They returned a verdict they thought was justice" (Bragg, pg. 1+).
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. Its 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 1950s, 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
First used in New York in 1890 and still in use in 13 states, "old sparky"
was the horrific outcome of Thomas Edisons 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.
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.
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. Thats the
main reason for the death penalty anyway, to tell every criminal and future criminal that
youll 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 peoples 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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