Anti Hanging Essay

1359 words - 5 pages

Hanging has been utilized as a mode of execution for as long as can be remembered. More people have been sentenced to death by hanging than any other form of execution. Hangings are a very simple procedure yet there have been more botched executions by this method than by any other (Leuchter 2) Some of these problems include, many times the hangings took forever for the victim to die, they were decapitated, and even in some cases hangings took more than one drop to kill the victim. Executions by hangings are cruel and unusual according to the 8th amendment and should be eliminated.A rope with a slip knot was put around the victim's neck and the free end was thrown around or tied to the branch of a tree in the early methods of hanging. The criminal's hands were tied behind them and a hood was placed over their head. The criminal was pulled up off of the ground and was then strangled by the rope (Eckhardt 1). Before the victim reached unconsciousness, the victim's eyes bulged out, they lose control of their bladder, their tongue hangs out and their face turn purple (Trombley 11). The intention of this was to break the person's neck and cut off the airflow but many times this did not happen and the criminal would die a slower death. When the air supply was not quickly cut off the victim dangled at the end of the rope until eventually died. During this time they were often kicking and struggling until they could not get enough oxygen which usually took up to thirty minutes before they were finally dead. It was a slow, painful, and torturing way to die (Eckhardt 2).Hangings are defined as "cruel and unusual punishment" as they are very torturing to the victim and can cause decapitation. By making the fall a farther distance people believed that the neck would break easier and the victim would die quicker. A miscalculation in the drop compared the weight of the condemned person could cause decapitation (Gromer 2). Even though efforts were made so that the victim was put to death faster, more and more problems continued to arise.On April 26, 1901 the drop was too long in the execution of "Black Jack" Tom Ketchum and caused decapitation. This was because Ketchum had gained a fair amount of weight while he was waiting for his execution date; this weight gain had not been calculated into the drop distance (Geocities 7). The rope had been tested using a two hundred pound sandbag which was attached to the noose and dropped through the trap. The next afternoon Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum was taken to the hanging site. As they were getting Ketchum prepared for his execution, he stated, "Hurry up boys, get this over with." After two blows with a hatchet, the rope was cut and Ketchum fell through the trap (Legends of America 2).The people responsible for the hanging were inexperienced and had forgotten about the sandbag that had been used to test the rope and also caused it to be extremely rigid. When Ketchum fell through the drop, he was immediately...

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