A Lesson Before Dying: the Electric Chair

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Spencer Kutsche
English 10
Mr. Kurz
The Electric Chair

Do you know what the electric chair is? Is it a chair that is guaranteed death, a chair that kills all of our corrupted criminals, or is it much more than that? The electric chair is called the “Strap-o-lounger,” the “Barcalounger,” the “we care chair” and the “be sweet chair” by jail and prison employees. Yet, the inmates and their lawyers call it the “Torture chair,” the “Slave chair,” and the “Devils chair.”(Cusac, Anne Marie) Is the electric chair even a fair death penalty or is it too much? Why and how do we even use the electric chair? Has any executions with the electric chair gone wrong? I will tell you all these answers you want to know.

The electric chair came into use because hanging people and a firing squad was becoming inhumane and they wanted a less harmful and more effected way. So they took Thomas Edison’s electricity and applied it to a chair like old sparky that gives a jolt of electricity anywhere from 500 to 2,000 volts of electricity, 18 more powerful than a normal household outlet. The process starts with the prisoner being shaved all over his body till there is no hair left over. Next, the Prisoner is strapped in to the chair and it fitted with electrodes all over their body and a huge electrode over the head with is attached to a sponge. If the sponge is too moist the electric chair will short out and if too dry the electrode on the head will have no impact on the inmate. You are asked if you have any last words then they executioner proceeds with taping your eyes so they won’t pop out of your eye socket and you are hooded so no one can see your face. The command is given for the switch to be pulled and the body will jolt and seem tense. After about 25-30 seconds the switch is turned off and a doctor checks to see if there is still a pulse if there is not the prison guards start un-strapping the prisoner but if there’s a heart beat the doctor gives the signal and the...
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