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Capital Punishment: A Brief Analysis

976 words - 4 pages

The inmate walks from the holding cell to the gurney, accompanied by guards and he is placed in a supine position on the gurney and he is strapped…The arm that takes the IV [intravenous line] is exposed…[After a signal to begin] they press the button [of the lethal injection machine]…[W]hen the prisoner had died and had been certified as such, the nurse-anesthetist removes the IV. Then the mortician comes in and removes him from the gurney to his table, and takes him to the funeral parlor. (qtd. in Holmes and Federman 8)
The above narrative describes the last few moments of a convict condemned to death by lethal injection. The death penalty has been a contentious subject for centuries. ...view middle of the document...

Although lethal injection was first used in 1977, it was considered as an execution method in 1888 (Chew 21). Lethal injection was first adopted in Oklahoma, and it consists of a “three drug protocol” (Chew 23). The first of the three-drug protocol is sodium thiopental; the drug causes the inmate to lose consciousness (Chew 23). The next drug is Pavulon¬–a muscle relaxant (Chew 24). “Pavulon paralyzes all of a body's voluntary muscles, including the lungs and diaphragm” (Chew 24). The final drug administered in the three-drug protocol is potassium chloride (Chew 24). Potassium chloride is the killer blow; it stops the prisoner’s heart from beating (Chew 24). Potassium chloride is preceded by thiopental because if used alone, it would cause extreme pain to the convict (Chew 24).
There is no doubt that the main argument between the proponents for and the opponents against the death penalty is its deterrence. Those for the death penalty say death penalty acts as deterrence whereas opponents disagree. However, Joanna Shepherd, an assistant professor of law at Emory University, agrees with both of them. Shepherd says that although capital punishment as a deterrent succeeds in some states, it is totally pointless in other states (Shepherd 248). Shepherd provides the solution that if states want the death penalty to be a deterrent then they need to execute many people; otherwise, they need to stop executing people entirely (248).
Aside views from professors of law, there have also been religious views on capital punishment as well. Mark Osler, although not a theologian but a professor of law, provides critical analysis of death penalty from a Christian perspective. Osler believes that the subject of death penalty is so complex that even when Jesus was confronted with passing judgment on an adulteress, which at the time was death, He takes some time in answering the woman’s accusers...

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