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Capital Punishment and Execution in the US - Research Paper Example

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Name: ENG 1250 Prof. Isaac Palumbo December 8, 2011 Capital Punishment and Execution in the United States The issue of capital punishment in the United States has elicited not only serious but also sometimes emotionally-packed debates. This kind of punishment is meant for people who have committed aggravated murder…
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Capital Punishment and Execution in the US

Download file to see previous pages... The major methods of execution used in the past included the exposure of the defendant to a firing squad. There was also the use of gas chambers as well as hanging and electrocution (Weisenberg). Another method which was introduced later, and is mostly used today, is the use of lethal injection to poison the criminal. One of the most talked of execution is that of Pedro Medina in March 1997; one that most people have criticized and termed notorious (Gromer and Gromer). Initially adopted by 38 states, capital punishment has since been banned by law in 34 states. Some more states have put it on hold while a few still think that it should just be practiced extensively (CNN 1). Capital punishment has been an issue of social contention in the US, of late. Many Americans have maintained a support for it, particularly in murder cases. However, the support has been in the decline following strong criticism from some sectors of the American community. I concur with many that there is nothing good in taking someone’s life, and therefore, more humane ways need to be in place for carrying out the duty. I hereby beg to admit that, despite the cruelty in it, sometimes our emotions push us towards seeing the positive side of it. There has also been a widespread debate on whether or not the executions should be televised. My paper seeks to look at the pros and cons associated with both the idea of capital punishment and the television of the executions. It is a fact that many court TV and other television networks today attempt to cover proceedings on criminal cases. They also go as far as televising the cases to interested viewers from homes. Some media executives and lawyers have foreseen a possibility of a future broadcast of the executions too. They use the case of San Francisco’s KQED-TV as an indicator. This television station hit news headlines a few years ago when it asked for permission to record a murderer’s execution. The station intended to show the unedited tape of Robert Alton Harris’ execution, though late in the night when children had slept (Weisenberg). It is interesting to note that both proponents and opponents of capital punishment sometimes, ironically, find themselves as strange bedfellows whenever there is a debate on whether the executions should be broadcasted on TV or not. It is common to find a person who is against capital punishment yet they support the idea of televising the executions. Likewise, some proponents of the punishment also tend to strongly oppose the idea of televising the executions. For those who support capital punishment, televising executions will only serve to promote sympathy for the criminals. This sympathy may blind the general public to an extent that they may not realize the injury the criminal meted on their victim. The opponents of capital punishment, on the other hand, oppose the idea of television on grounds that it has the ability to reduce the death penalty to a few minutes’ affair. This is so false because the pain covers even the time a criminal spends several sleepless nights in anticipation of the fateful day. Some people also think that showing the executions on TV may give a haunting picture to the viewers, especially the emotionally and psychologically unstable ones, including young children (Bender 1). Televising the executions may also make the execution seem, to many people, as a form of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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