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Capital Punishment: Just Or Unjust? Essay

1929 words - 8 pages

Capital Punishment: Just or Unjust?

     Can you imagine knowing the exact day, time, and place you were going to die, not to mention how your death was to come about? Day after day of mental pain just knowing that days, hours, minutes and even seconds from now you are going to be killed. The night before, tossing and turning, playing through your head just the way you imagine your death is going to be, asking yourself heaven or hell, suffering or short? If only you can take that one moment of sin back or maybe there was never a moment of sin at all. After what seems like a hundred of years, the day finally arrives. You slowly walk into the chamber, your heart is racing, your hands are clammy, and you are shaking not because it is cold, but out of fear. Your assistants lead you to your position, and prepare you for your execution. You sit and think about all the wonderful things in life you are thankful for and then what seems like a dream finally fades to black. I strongly believe that the death penalty is the best form of punishment for heinous murderers.

History of the Death Penalty

The death penalty is one of the most controversial issues brought up in America today. The penalty has been around as far back as the sixteen hundreds. Britain was the country that most strongly influenced America’s usage of the death penalty (Hood 24). There are several different forms of the death penalty. In the eighteenth century, the most common way to kill a person who committed a crime was to hang them. Prisoners were hanged for several different reasons: some for something as severe as murdering another citizen, others for something as small as stealing (Hood 28). At the end of the nineteenth century, the electric chair had been adopted as a means of execution. The first chair was built in the city of New York. Soon after many other states were also using this as a method of Capital Punishment ( Hood 34 ). In the mid-twentieth century, lethal gas was introduced as another form of execution. The state of Nevada tried to put cyanide gas into one of the inmate’s cell which did not work, and it then led to the construction of the gas chamber (Hood 45).

     The electric chair which was first used in New York in 1890 and sometimes known as the “old sparky,” was used several times. The accused was strapped to a wooded chair, electrodes were attached, and a shock of thirty-thousand watts was applied. The inmate was literally cooked internally, and death may possibly require multiple shocks(“Debate Over”). The gas chamber, first used in Nevada in 1921, was located in an airtight room with a chair into which the accused was strapped. Death was then caused by an exposure to cyanide gas. As noted in the article Debate Over Capital Punishment-A Pro Stance, the suffering caused is easy to see; the prisoner is writing, vomiting, shaking and gasping for breath for many seconds (“Debate Over”). Lethal Injection, another form of execution, was introduced in...

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