Capital Punishment      POSITION PAPER (Death penalty) Is capital punishment just? The death penalty is a controversial issue for most people. Supporter’s claim that it eliminates repeat offenders, deters potential murderers and is the ultimate retribution. Opponents denounce it as murder, say that it does not cause deterrence but rather promotes violence and claim that it introduces the chance of an innocent person being executed. Due to the arguments presented by both sides and because of my own personal beliefs, the argument against legal execution is most compelling. The idea of putting another human to death is hard to completely fathom. The physical mechanics involved in carrying out a death sentence on another person, regardless of how much they deserve it, is beyond human understanding. In the United States, there are thirty-eight states that have the death penalty and twelve without capital punishment. The first method used was in New York in 1890 and is still in use in thirteen states. “Old Sparky” was the horrific outcome of Thomas Edison’s attempt to show the dangers of the AC power supply being promoted by his rivals (Anderson, 51). The condemned is strapped to a wooden chair, electrodes are attached, and a shock of thirty thousand watts is applied. The prisoner is literally cooked internally, and death may require multiple shocks. When someone was executed with the electric chair the ceremony usually took place close to midnight. This was because at that hour they knew not many people were using electricity; the chair needs thirty thousand watts or the equivalent of four hundred seventy-five-watt light bulbs turning on at the same time. More than one shock was usually required to kill the criminal, so it drained a massive amount of electricity from the power company. Since the electric chair, midnight has become the fixed execution time. The next method of execution developed after the electric chair was the gas chamber. The gas chamber was first used in 1921. This chamber of death is an airtight room with a chair into which the accused is strapped. Death is caused by exposure to cyanide
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gas, produced when sodium cyanide is dropped into sulfuric acid. The suffering caused is deliberate and plain to see: writhing, vomiting, shaking and gasping for breath for many seconds. This horrendous technique is used only in a few states. Another form of the death penalty is lethal injection. This form was introduced in the U.S. in 1977 and is now in use in twenty-three states. This is the most widespread method and arguably the most humane. The condemned is strapped to a table and injected with sodium triopentone, losing consciousness in ten to fifteen seconds. This is followed by pancuronium ...

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