Death Penalty Research Paper

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Kimberly Ferrell
Professor Sanders
English 1301, Section 341
9 December 2010

A Vicious Cycle of Anger and Hatred

The eighth amendment is designed to protect us from cruel and unusual punishment. Conservation of the United States Constitution, and all moral ideologies have been set aside. An old form of barbaric punishment and the saying "eye for an eye" is still being widely accepted by Americans today. The old form of barbaric punishment is capital punishment. No matter how "humane" the death penalty has become, it is still the killing of another human being. When people stand outside prisons and cheer that an individual was murdered, there is a problem. When people justify the killing of another person, there is a problem. Capital Punishment is irrefutably murder, and murder is never justified. Capital punishment is the penalty of a capital offense resulting in death. Thirty-eight states currently support the death penalty. Human beings have always felt a need to punish those who did wrong and scare those who thought of doing wrong. Capital punishment has evolved over the years due to a never-ending search for a "humane" way to kill: from public hangings, gas chambers, electric chairs, shooting by firing squads, and finally the now leading form of execution- lethal injection (Gerber and Johnson 1-19). When an inmate is awaiting lethal injection they are bound to a gurney and then proceed to have several heart monitors positioned on the skin by a member of the execution team. Two needles are inserted into a usable vein, which is usually in the inmate's arm, and then long tubes connect the needle through a hole in a cement wall and the inmate awaits their multiple drips of death. The inmate is first injected with a saline solution which is started immediately. Then, at the wardens signal, a curtain is raised which exposes the soon to be murdered inmate to the witnesses in an adjoining room. The inmate is then injected with sodium thiopental, an anesthetic that puts the inmate to sleep. Next flows pancuronium bromide which paralyzes the entire muscle system and stops the inmate's breathing. Finally, the flow of potassium chloride stops the heart. Death results from an overdose of the anesthetic along with respiratory and cardiac arrest (Death Penalty Information Center). Furthermore, due to Doctor's and Nurse's code of ethics they will not participate in executions. A doctor's only participation in an execution will be the declaration of death. Since trained medical personal can not participate in an execution, injections are often performed by inexperienced technicians or orderlies. It only takes one simple mistake to cause the inmate great pain. If the member of the execution team accidentally injects the drug into a muscle instead of a vein, or if the needle becomes clogged it can cause a lot of agony for the inmate. In 1988 during the execution of Raymon Landry in Texas, the syringe came out of his vein and caused the deadly chemicals to be sprayed all over the room. Again in 2000 executioners ran into difficulties with the execution of Bert Leroy Hunter in Missouri. Bert had an unusual reaction to the drugs that were injected into him and witnesses reported being disturbed by the violent convulsions he had during the injection process (E and B Lerner 315-320). If trained medial personnel is not allowed to participate in the execution due to a breach of ethics we can not be sure that mishaps such as Landry and Bert's experience will be avoided. Furthermore, with such mistakes it becomes apparent that lethal injection is not so "humane" after all. The decade from 1967-1977 in which no executions took place coincided with a widespread rise in crime in the United States (Jackson, Jackson, and Shapiro 29). Though it is unknown why there was such a rise in crime rates, this decade brought to life the number one argument supporting the death penalty which is the deterrence of...
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