While driving home from work recently, I was listening to a station streaming on the Internet from Los Angeles. On this particular night, the host of the show and his show’s producer were discussing the death penalty, and the producer started going off about their opinions about it. I have my opinions, as well. This week, I think I’ll delve into this controversial subject.
Putting someone to death for certain crimes has been around for many centuries. As far back as the days of Babylon around the 18th century BC, there have been known cases of execution for some crimes. Even in America, people have been put to death for cases such as treason; for example, in 1608 a man accused of being a spy for Spain was executed.
There have been many forms of capital punishment throughout history. The French loved decapitating people with the guillotine. Other ways include hanging; burning at the stake; disemboweling; dismemberment; stoning; drowning; and many others. One weird name I found was called “Republican marriage”, used in 18th century France, where a naked man and woman were tied together and drowned.
In modern times, the death penalty was carried out by one of ﬁve methods: lethal injection, electric chair, gas chamber, hanging and ﬁring squad. The ﬁrst three are the most common, though only six states in the South still have the electric chair available. Hanging was most common in the 19th century, though Delaware and Washington can still use it. Interestingly, Utah last used the ﬁring squad in 2010, per the inmate’s request. From what I’ve read, as of 2015, Utah may use the ﬁring squad if and only if lethal injection drugs aren’t available.
The whole subject of capital punishment is rather controversial. Some countries have completely outlawed it. Some people believe it should be eliminated everywhere, citing cruel and unusual punishment, or that no one should be killed for any reason. On the other side, there are those who think that capital punishment should be swift and expeditious. It is a very touchy subject with many caveats.
Here’s my thoughts on the death penalty. I do favor capital punishment, for when it as a punishment ﬁts the crime. If a person has been convicted of murder, without a shadow of a doubt (such as with a confession), then that person should be executed. A convicted child molester should ﬁrst be physically castrated, then executed. That would be a very few number of cases. Charles Manson should have been executed for his part in his crimes. However, because of the 1972 ban on capital punishment, his sentence was commuted to life without parole. Because of that, taxpayers were stuck footing the bill for his incarceration and medical care for the 46 years he was in prison, until his death. Had Dahmer not been killed by fellow inmates, he should have been executed. Ted Bundy was a prime example of proper use of capital punishment.
There are those currently on Death Row that deserve to be there. There are many innocent people locked up, as well. I think everyone deserves their trial, and if convicted of a “capital crime”, then they should get a chance to appeal that decision, as there might very well be some doubt. However, I think the appeals process should be shortened dramatically. The whole process of conviction to execution can take decades to unfold. In Bundy’s case, he spent 12 years on Death Row. Personally, I think that after his initial confessions, he should have been sped off to his date with death. On average, a Death Row inmate spends about 15 years there, many dying beforehand. One guy spent 33 years there, from conviction of murder in 1975 until execution in 2008. My question: if he was convicted in ’75, why care for the bastard in jail for 30+ years? Such a waste of resources!
As mentioned before, not everyone convicted of a capital crime deserves to be there. Though ﬁctional, I think of The Green Mile, the movie adaptation of the Stephen King book of the same name. The character John Coffey was an innocent man who was put to death by electric chair. That’s why here should be limited appeals. Once those appeals are exhausted, swift execution. I don’t like the electric chair, because most people don’t like the smell of a human barbeque. The gas chamber is nice, because the person simply suffocates. Lethal injection is humane, since it’s like the person goes to sleep, but will never awaken. Hanging is just macabre; the guillotine is gory. In the case of the ﬁring squad, the condemned is strapped to a chair, and ﬁve people line up with riﬂes (in the 2010 Utah execution, they used .30 caliber Winchesters). One riﬂeman is given blanks; the other four get live ammo, but none of them knows who has the blank, so that there’s not the feeling of remorse.
In conclusion, I will say that the Death Penalty isn’t perfect, but it can be effective, when used on someone who 100% deserves it. Some favor it, others oppose it vehemently. Where you stand is your opinion. You can like it or hate it.
Okay, controversial subject discussion is over for this week. May you ﬁne folks reading this ﬁnd peace in your day-to-day goings-on. Also, remember that I have Facebook and Instagram proﬁles. There’s also now a contact email address, should you desire to contact me that way. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Go check them out, though, regretfully, I don’t post as often as I probably should. If you think others would enjoy my blog, tell them about it, and spread the joy! Please go and enjoy your week this week; be happy and have peace, and please, be safe and be well.