We are concerned here only with the imposition of capital punishment

“We are concerned here only with the imposition of capital punishment for the crime of murder, and when a life has been taken deliberately by the offender; we cannot say that the punishment is invariably disproportionate to the crime. It is an extreme sanction suitable to the most extreme of crimes”(Potter Stewart, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court)’Capital Punishment’ or the ‘Death Penalty’ is a way of killing criminals for an offence they have committed. Many countries and nations use the death penalty as their most severe and powerful form of punishment. The death penalty is an arguable issue, and is frequently discussed and talked about in our modern society. In my response to the death penalty, I will be explaining and discussing whether the use of the death penalty is the appropriate and justifiable method for punishing a criminal. I will be doing this by using two sources of information provided by our teacher. These are: The article “Why I’d gladly hang Huntley” by Simon Heffer, and the film, “The life of David Gale”There are many different ways of performing the death penalty. In America, most 38 out of 50 states have the death penalty in use. One of the ways of killing a criminal is hanging them using ropes. If this is done correctly, then upon the criminal’s release, the impact of the rope should snap the main vein of the neck, and the neck will be broken. From this method, death comes quickly to the criminal.Another form of the death penalty is the electric chair. It is when a person is made to sit on a chair and a high voltage electric current is passed through their body. Eventually, the current reaches the brain, and as a result of this, the criminal dies.The guillotine is another example of the death penalty. Firstly, the offenders head is put onto a holder, which holds their neck in place. An injection is then injected to numb the neck, and finally, a huge and heavy blade is dropped upon the neck which displaces the neck from the body. Yet again, death comes quickly.Another example of the death penalty where death comes quickly is a method known as the ‘firing squad’. This is when a couple of trained men shoot the convict right in their live, pumping heart.The gas chamber is also a vicious form of the death penalty. This is when a poisonous and dangerous gas, Hydrogen Cyanide is released into a locked room, where the convict(s) is/are located. This gas then gets trapped into the bodies of the convict(s) who have nowhere to go or run. This method takes quite a lot of time, and tension is created into the atmosphere when the convict(s) begin to scream and cry. This is known to be a very painful and brutal form of the death penalty.Similar to this is stoning. This is also very painful as it is when the criminal is stood up, and rocks are thrown at them until they are dead. This method is mainly used in Middle Eastern countries for crimes offences such as rape, murder etc.Last but not least, the lethal injection is another way of killing a convict or offender, and is one of the most popular methods of execution in use today. This is also the method used in the film “The life of David Gale”. It goes like this: A room is prepared where the subject is strapped down on a stainless steel table. Eight syringes are prepared, two filled with saline solution (to mix with the other chemicals), two with Sodium Pentathol, two with Pancuronium Bromide, and two with Potassium Chloride. All the syringes are connected to a multiple inlet device which controls the mix and release of chemicals via an electronic control box which the executioner operates in an adjacent room. Manual pull rods are also available to release the chemicals if the electronic device fails to function. All the tubes lead to one hypodermic needle that sticks intravenously into the subject’s arm.Lethal injections are a peaceful way to die, a lot better than the violent and messy method of electrocution. However in some states that allow it, the subject can choose their own method of execution. Some prefer a firing squad, if that’s available, perhaps because they can look their executioner(s) in the eye of perhaps because of a “live by the gun, die by the gun” ideology. Maybe lethal injection is too peaceful. Is it really modern? What does it say about the role of punishment in society? These are questions we need to ask ourselves after knowing about all the different methods of execution.The death penalty was abolished in the UK in 1965. The methods of punishment in the UK is imprisonment, the maximum of this is life imprisonment, which is used in more extreme cases. The USA is a relevant source of evidence because American society is similar in some ways to the UK.David Gale had his life torn apart and was left in misery when he was falsely accused of raping and murdering one of his students. His respect was wiped out. David Gale wanted to prove that the death penalty is wrong and that innocent people may get executed for nothing. One of Gales’ colleagues Constance, who worked with him for Death Watch (an organisation against the use of the death penalty) was very ill, and was dying from Leukaemia. To prove his point, Gale and his colleague set up a plan which would give the impression that he had raped and killed her, when in actual fact Constance had committed suicide. She firstly handcuffed herself and swallowed the key, and then suffocated herself by tying a bag around her neck. David Gale had sex with her and then she committed suicide like in the plan. Gale was falsely found guilty and was sentenced to the death penalty. After Gales’ death a videotape showing how Constance really died was found and this proved his point that an innocent person may get executed, and for this he won the Nobel Prize.This source of information is effective because it affects the emotional side of its audience to prove just how wring executing criminals is. It shows David Gale having one mishap after another and makes the audience feel sorry and sympathetic towards him. This is very successful in getting the audience to see the issue of Capital Punishment through the eyes of David Gale, in his point of view. However, this source of information could also be biased because of the way it tries to get the audience on its side and also because of the way it only stays on one side of the argument.There are also many arguments against the reintroduction of the death penalty. Some of these are listed below:Some people may argue that executions add to the glorification of violence that exists already too much in our society. In other words executions and the use of the death penalty encourage more violence in our modern day society.Another argument against the death penalty is that although the criminals get killed, and the victims may feel that justice has been done, the subject’s friends and family are victims in themselves as they have lost a loved one. This aspect is likely to emotionally scar them for life.The religion factor is also used to argue against the death penalty. The New Testament in the Bible tells us that we should not play God, and that we should follow the example of Jesus and show mercy, and that killing a criminal is wrong no matter how bad his offence; two wrongs don’t make a right.Nevertheless, like any other contentious issue, this topic has arguments in favour of the death penalty.In the Daily Mail on Thursday the 13th October 2003, there was an article titled ‘Why I’d gladly hang Huntley’. We know straight away from the title that this source of information is going to be biased because Simon Heffer uses the word ‘gladly’. This gives the impression to the reader that he would have no problem in hanging Ian Huntley for the crime he had committed: The Soham Murders. In this he killed two girls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, aged 10 and 12.In Heffer’s opinion, there should be no reason why Ian Huntley should be allowed to live because he has viciously taken the lives of two innocent girls and he thinks it is only fair that his life is taken away in the same manner too. The argument Heffer presents is that even though Huntley is a murderer, he will still have a roof over his head and free food to eat.Heffer also uses emotive language to get his point across to the reader and get them on his side. This, you could say is a form of bias because he doesn’t balance the argument out, he only give his opinion and his view.Some arguments against the reintroduction of the death penalty are:Firstly, killing a criminal via the death penalty is much more cheaper than keeping them alive and paying for their expenses in prison/In the Bible and the Quraan it says ‘an eye for an eye’ therefore this means that the punishment for a criminal should be according to the crime they have committed. I am strongly in favour of this and believe in this because I follow my religion and accept whatever it teaches me.It will deter criminals from committing future offences- An example of this is in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc. where the crime rate is very low and there is little or no crime; the level of crime in these places is considerably lower than here in the UK. With the death penalty in use, criminals will think twice before committing a crime, whereas if they commit a crime here, they know they will be allowed to live for free, feeding off the taxes of hard working people.After looking at the sources, the for and against, I would like to conclude that I am in favour of the death penalty because firstly, my religion teaches it and secondly, I believe that with the death penalty in use, there would be a lot less crime and corruption in our society today. There is the factor that the wrong person may get executed but I think the chances of this happening are very slim as nowadays, we have the aid of forensic science and DNA testing, which will ensure the wrong person doesn’t get caught and justice will be done. I think criminals such as Ian Huntley who have been proven guilty, should not be allowed to live.Overall, I think that the issue of the death penalty is very fragile, complex and contentious issue and has both advantages and disadvantages to both sides, and although I feel there cannot be any ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer towards this issue, I feel we should be ready to reconsider the death penalty as I feel the advantages to this outweigh the disadvantages.

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