Comparative Essay on the Death Penalty

Topics: Death Penalty, Lethal injection, Capital punishment in the United States Pages: 6 (2098 words) Published: February 12, 2007
Robert B. Travis
Comp 1313
October 18, 2006
Death Penalty
The Argument over capital punishment is greatly carried out by Preservationist John O' Sullivan author of "Deadly Stakes", and abolitionist Hugo Beadu, author of "The case over the death penalty". Each other argues their point on if the death penalty is fallible, whether or not it is effective as a deterrent, and whether or not it's barbaric. Even though both authors provide a good argument, in the end it's the Author John O' Sullivan I agree with. First, in Beadu's essay, he feels that execution in the states is barbaric. To support this claim Beadu, provides you with information of how Utah and Idaho, still use firing squads for execution which is erroneous in the way he provides the information. Then to prove that the death penalty is barbaric, he provides accounts of lethal injections and electrocutions that according to him didn't go as planned. In O'Sullivan's essay, he counters Beadu's view on barbarity by saying it is the only punishment that fits the crime. O' Sullivan states that" a cold blooded poisoning, say, or the rape and murder of a helpless child, or the mass murders of the Nazis and the Communist the only way to punish such crimes"(O' Sullivan 379). He also goes on to state" Significantly, such civilized nations as the Danes and the Norwegians, which had abolished the death penalty before the First World War, restored it after 1945 in order to deal equitable justice to the Nazis and their collaborators" (O'Sullivan 379). O' Sullivan goes on to show how abolitionist find it hard to reply to questions such as, "Was it Cruel, unusual, barbaric, uncivilized?" He illustrates this by saying Abolitionist often say that a lifetime in prison is worse than a quick trip to oblivion. Beadu seems to offer some pretty credible arguments but they falter upon closer examination. Beadu begins by pointing out the barbarity since Ohio and Idaho still use firing squads, which is only partially true. Utah, and Idaho, both still implement firing squads but its under two circumnstances. First is Utah, According to www.deathpenaltyinfo.org, "[U]tah -Lethal Injection is the sole method of execution. Firing squad was chosen by some inmates prior to the passage of legislation banning the practice, and is only available for those inmates"(Death Penalty Information center). Beadu trys to use Utah has a form of barbarity even though legislation banned the practice and the only way can a firing squad be used is if inmates requested the use of a firing squad. Second, is Idaho policy. Which According to http://www.deathpenalty.org/ "Idaho- Authorizes firing squad only if lethal injection is "impractical"(DPIC). Beadu's argument seems to be a sketchy way of outlining barbarity it's almost like he's desperate for arguments and try's to hide the actual truth to make his argument more appealing. Then, Beadu argues that is no way of knowing whether lethal injection is painless. According to deathpenaltyinfo.org lethal injection works in 3 stages. 1st Anesthetic - Sodium thiopental, , puts the inmate into a deep sleep this takes about 10-15 seconds to reach the brain. After this anesthetic is administered the patient doesn't feel anything. Second, Paralyzing agent - Pancuronium bromide, also known as Pavulon, is a muscle relaxantthat is given in a dose that stops breathing by paralyzing the diaphragm and lungs. Conventionally, this drug takes effect in one to three minutes after being injected. Finally, Toxic agent (not used by all states) - Potassium chloride is given at a lethal dose in order to interruptthe electrical signaling essential to heart functions. This induces cardiac arrest.(DPIC) This process proves Beadu wrong, the executioner doesn't feel any pain due to Sodium thiopental putting them to sleep. Next, in Beadu's essay, he feels that the death penalty is not a crime deterrent. Beadu feels that for a punishment to be an effective deterrent it must be...

Cited: http://users.rcn.com/mwood/deathpen.html. Revised July 1992.. American Civil Liberties Union National Office. 15 October 2006 .
O 'Sullivan, John."Deadly Stakes: The case debate over capital punishment". Katherine Ackley. Boston, MA: Michael Rosenberg, 2006. 378-381.
Philip, Cook. " The costs of processing murder cases." Time Magazine Iss. 149 (16 Aug. 2005). 4 May 2006 < http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,463094,00.html>
The costs of processing murder cases in North Carolina / Philip J. Cook, Donna B. Slawson ; with the assistance of Lori A. Gries. [Durham, NC] : Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, 1993.)
Death Penalty Information Center. Oct-26-2006.Death Penalty Information Center.11-10-2006 .
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