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The Death Penalty

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The Death Penalty Thirty eight states in the United States enforce the death penalty. Some people are in favor of the death penalty, but that may be because they have not been directly involved with it. Sometimes people can change their views about an issue when that issue all of a sudden becomes a part of their lives. Death is not something to be played with. Someone's life should not be put in the hands of another person or the government. These are the five ways people are murdered by the government: Lethal injection is the most common form of execution. This is when a prisoner is strapped to a gurney, while two needles are placed in each arm. Two different types of chemicals are released putting the inmate to sleep. A third chemical, a muscle relaxer, is released causing the prisoner to stop breathing within minutes. Approximately five states use the gas chamber as a method of execution. A prisoner is strapped down in a chamber where acid is released into a pan. Tablets are then dropped in the pan causing a chemical reaction that causes a deadly poisonous gas to knock the prisoner unconscious. Death occurs within minutes. Gas masked men decontaminate the body with bleach so as not to harm themselves while removing the body. Only a few states still use two of the oldest forms of execution today. Firing squads and hanging are still methods of executing criminals in the United States. Five or more men shoot a prisoner, sometimes killing him/her right away, when states kill by firing squads. When states use the hanging method, they try to set the noose just right so as not to allow suffocation, and to snap the neck and kill the inmate instantly. However, if done incorrectly, suffocation and suffering sometimes occur. Probably the most cruel and unusual method of execution is death by the electric chair. When a prisoner is strapped into this chair, his/her organs are burned. The inmate's flesh may catch on fire, and he/she may vomit blood. He/she may also violently twitch or leap forward as his/her insides are being electrocuted. One may be able to handle the fact that a criminal is being put to death. They might think that a criminal has done wrong, so they deserve to die. What they might not be thinking about is that criminal may be someone's son or daughter, mom or dad, niece or nephew, brother or sister, husband or wife. A human life is very precious. People need to learn from their mistakes and a corpse cannot learn anything. The government should not take someone's life that has done wrong, but rather teach them the right way, and help them learn from their mistakes. The eight amendment protects Americans from cruel and unusual punishment. Death is very cruel and could be perceived as unusual, depending on the individual. Cruel and unusual are such vague adjectives, that they can be defined in several ways. What one person believes to be cruel, another person may believe is fair. This country is so diverse, with many different types of cultures and up-bringings, that deciding on one meaning for these two terms fairly for all people of the United States is nearly impossible. Therefore, the eighth amendment should be reworded, or the death penalty should be illegal. Ingesting poisonous gas, being burned from the inside out, suffocating from a noose, receiving poisonous chemicals through the veins, and being shot could all be defined as cruel and unusual. This cruelty's purpose is to teach a lesson. When judges and juries try to correct crime by putting a prisoner to death, the only lesson they are teaching to American citizens is hypocrisy. If murder was the crime, they are saying killing another human being is wrong, but it is right if judges and juries do it. In the book, Capital Revenge, Roy Meader thinks judges and juries are hypocrites, stating that when people sentence criminals to death they should look in the mirror. He wonders if they should ask themselves, Should old commandments be revised to meet modern circumstances - Thou shalt not kill, except in some cases? (Meader 3). People should not be allowed to kill people whether by law or otherwise. When criminals are sentenced to death, they are taken away the freedom to learn from their mistakes. Meader also looks at capital punishment as a way of revenge. He thinks that America does not help citizens, but avenges them for their crimes.

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