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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Harsh Truth About Capital Punishment

Photograph: Tony Garcia 
The United States' stance on capital punishment has remained consistent throughout its historical existence as an independent country. Capital punishment has been prevalent since the arrival of immigrant ships from the Old Country. Those accused of going against societal rules have been beheaded, hanged, and even burned alive on stakes. Despite a public request for a ban on the death penalty, it seems almost certain that the U.S. will never stray from a practice that is so fixed in its culture. Being the case, the nation's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment seems to be more of a facade than it is a law.

Recently, the American people have witnessed horrific beheadings committed by extremists on presumably innocent people. To no surprise, the consensus opinion on these killings has been nothing short of barbarous. One can assume that the United States has progressed throughout the years in regards to its views on punishment and torture. Although, even after being globally criticized for its waterboarding techniques on prisoners, the use of lethal injection as a method of capital punishment has come to be a practice in question. 

Most recently, a convicted man in Oklahoma was observed experiencing an extremely uncomfortable lethal injection, although the procedure is used as a means to carry out a more humane practice of capital punishment. Seven percent of all lethal injection procedures have been botched, in addition to 3% of all electrocutions.  Despite its ineffectiveness, these methods continue. In January, Warren Lee was put to death despite international protest that the state of Georgia was executing a man with a child's intellect.  The death penalty had gotten criticism for being unjust in the past; however, now the immorality of the act is making is way to the forefront.

The belief that other countries are the monstrous ones and the U.S. ranks higher on a morality meter is truly false.  The veil has been removed, and the country has yet to change its deceptive nature. Leaving decisions regarding capital punishment to state control is no longer the better solution. Capital punishment in all forms is indeed a savage act. The acceptance that the United States is no different than other nations that practice capital punishment could be the greatest advance towards moral change in its ever-perplexing history.

Brian L. Elliott, The Scarlet Journal
February 3, 2015, 7:21PM EDT