I Believe in Justice

In government class we recently spent a day focused on the 8th Amendment, specifically the death penalty. I believe in the death penalty. I hate reading about shooter cases where the shooter murdered dozens of people and then took their own life. That’s one of the worst possible things you could do in my mind. Not only are you depriving people of their life, and their families of a loved one, but you are also preventing those families from achieving justice. You are taking the law into your own hands and administering it as you please. These murderers are getting what they want, and thus are saved from having any remorse.

I believe that the death penalty helps victims’ families achieve justice. In order to be applicable for the death penalty, you must commit a murder.

Additionally, isn’t the death penalty more economically and resource conscious? We do not have the money to waste upon keeping a person in jail for life. If the death penalty is an option, I believe it is preferable. It also serves as a warning to prevent others from committing the same crime.

I do not, however, support the government in recent cases about the “cruelty” of the death penalty. Some people are worried about its effectiveness, and fear that it might actually be cruel and unusual punishment, which as American citizens, we have the right to be protected from. First of all, there is no way of truly knowing if death penalty methods are cruel and unusual. No one has ever survived to tell the tale. Second of all, I really don’t care. All of these people are murderers, and they certainly did not ask their victims if their murders were cruel and unusual. They are criminals to the highest degree possible, and thus do not deserve the same rights and liberties. They stole someone else’s inalienable rights by ending their life.

I am not a controversial blogger. My posts are generally about writing, television, or clothes. They’re about fluffy stuff. But I do have beliefs, and after that class I do feel the need to express these beliefs. I do not care if people agree with me or not. These are my principles, and I’ll stand by them.


One Response to I Believe in Justice

  1. Richard Clark says:

    Thank you for your article. I would like to add a little bit of background on the Eighth Amendment and the Constitution in respect of executions.

    The Constitution and the 8th Amendment to it were never intended to provide criminals with a pain free death. The original constitution specified death by hanging which in 1787 was always painful and usually meant death by strangulation. The concept of a drop sufficient to break the prisoner’s neck and render them instantly unconscious had not been invented and would not be for almost a century. Hanging, carried out in public, was seen as the best available form of execution and the most practical way of executing criminals at the time.

    What the 8th Amendment of 1791 did do was to prohibit cruel and unusual punishments such as burning at the stake, hanging drawing and quartering, pressing to death and breaking on the wheel. Burning and pressing had been used under British rule. Breaking on the wheel had occurred in Louisiana under French colonial rule. These forms of execution were hideously painful and degrading and also applied on an arbitrary basis, usually to slaves.

    In Wilkerson v. Utah, of 1878, the Supreme Court determined that death by firing squad was not cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Shooting continues to be available in Utah and was last used in 2010. Shooting must be painful at least for a few seconds and Ronnie Lee Gardner appeared to suffer initially when he was executed by firing squad in Utah earlier this year.

    In 1890 New York state introduced the electric chair which similarly survived challenges and remains as an option in several states. It is impossible to know what pain a person being electrocuted actually suffers. The electric chair has also been used in 2010.

    The gas chamber was first used in 1924 and is still available in Arizona. It was last used there in 1992 but I doubt it would survive were its use was mandatory rather than optional. It has been outlawed in California since 1994 due to the obvious suffering of inmates. It was last used in 1999 in Arizona.

    Hanging using a proper drop is still a legal form of execution in Washington state and there have been two hangings there and one in Delaware since the resumption of executions in 1977.

    The concept of evolving standards of decency permitted advances in the execution process to be incorporated into state protocols.

    When the death penalty resumed in 1977, Oklahoma and Texas decided to make lethal injection their sole method of execution. They adopted Oklahoma’s three drug protocol and all other death penalty states have since followed suit. Nebraska was the last state to do so in 2008 when it switched from the electric chair. The 35 death penalty states all have lethal injection as the primary method of execution unless the inmate chooses an alternative method, as allowed in some states, thereby waiving the right to claim that it is cruel or unusual.

    Following on from the Supreme Court ruling in Baze v Rees in 2008 it was determined that Kentucky’s three drug lethal injection protocol did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. The case was bought on Ralph Baze’s behalf by Kentucky Public Defender David Barron and was based upon faulty science. Sodium thiopental, the first drug administered is an ultra short acting barbiturate that renders the inmate unconscious, prior to the injection of pancuronium bromide which is a paralytic drug that stops breathing and finally potassium chloride to stop the heart. Post mortem blood tests carried out on some inmates had shown low levels of sodium thiopental and it was thought that it would have been possible for the inmate to regain consciousness during the injection of the second and third chemicals. An article in the respected British medical journal The Lancet took up this idea and it was used as evidence in various cases in an attempt to show that lethal injection was a cruel punishment.
    What was not realized is that sodium thiopental is absorbed into the body fat very quickly and unless, as was done in the case of Michael Ross in Connecticut in 2005, a blood sample is taken soon after death it is impossible to accurately gauge the level of sodium thiopental in the bloodstream at the time of execution. There is no proof that any inmate has actually been conscious when the second and third drugs were administered.

    Ohio in 2009 pioneered the single drug protocol where a 2 ½ times larger dose of sodium thiopental is used and this has been proved to be entirely satisfactory and has obviated any further law suits in that state. Washington state has since carried out one execution by this method and it is now an option in California. There is no possibility of the inmate feeling pain during the procedure.

    So at the end of 2010 we have at least four methods of execution in the USA which are not deemed unconstitutional and of which three have been used during this year.

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