The Lethal Dilemma; Suspend the Death Penalty Indefinitely
The most popular method of execution in the United States today is lethal injection. Although not as painful as the firing squads and hangman’s nooses of earlier years, the process of lethal injection can still cause pain to the person receiving the cocktail of drugs to paralyze the body then kill the victim. This debate has cause much conflict in state courts as well and the Supreme Court, although there have not been decisive cases to overturn the death penalty so far. With the exception of the Atkins v. Virginia case in 2002, where the court agreed that the execution of a mentally ill person was “cruel and unusual punishment.” There has been recent evidence that the cocktail of drugs can cause severe pain and distress. One of the drugs injected immobilizes the body, leaving the victim in a “terrifying conscious paralysis.”
Why then do most states continue to execute people? This savage form of barbarity should not still exist in these civilized times. Courts and prosecutors are too hesitant to examine the issue because the reluctant to sully their career by upsetting there trigger happy constituents. The first state to abolish the death penalty was Michigan in 1846. Fifteen states have followed suit, and the District of Columbia. The electric chair has been used as recently as 2008 in South Carolina. It has been proven that people undergoing the electrocution have undergone extreme pain because their nerves still function. In addition, in a recent case in Ohio, a man was stabbed with a needle 18 times unsuccessfully. Since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstates, there have been 1,167. The cost of death row is significantly higher than the keeping those same inmates on a life sentence with out the chance of parole. An anti capital punishment advocacy group estimates that it costs the state of California alone around $115 million dollars more a year.
While I do not propose releasing dangerous savage killers back into our streets, something as insanely barbaric as killing then in retribution for their crimes seems to go against every other message this country stands for. Senator of Kansas Carolyn McGinn has pushed recently for a bill that would replace capital punishment with a life without parole sentence. This is the most appealing alternative to the death penalty. While most states fritter away millions of costly trials, and numerous appeals, other states have found other ways to spend that money. I encourage the proponents of the moral values debate to take another look at their own Bibles and reread Jesus’s teachings.