You may wonder why I started a blog on Capital Punishment in the first place; my reason/s for doing so are simple. Following news on the Internet, whether it be by online newspapers such as the NY Times Chicago Herald Tribune or San Francisco Chronicle. MSN or Yahoo I often read the report of an execution in the USA, most often in the state of Texas.
And what gets me is the vitriol from the readers of these events; screaming for more blood they would not have gone astray during the “Reign of Terror” in France during their revolution.
Supposedly from a Christian civilization which is what the US purports to be, this utter blood lust, no forgiveness or turn the other cheek, just the OT business of an eye for an eye. Don’t the Yanks know the difference between the old and new testaments that they so adore?
Well anyway I usually put in my 2 bobs worth and give my views on capital punishment the utter futility of it and the what I believe to be the degradation of a civilized society. I then sit back and wait for the abuse; and I’m never disappointed and don’t have to wait long. The bulk of the abuse comes from what I imagine is the illiterate rump of US society, but then I reflect that the overwhelming proportion of US citizens support and advocate the death penalty, and not just for murder I might add and I begin to wonder.
The screams for the harshest possible forms of punishment astounds me; the death of the convicted person is not enough. I do believe if the old English punishment of “Hang, Draw and Quarter” was available they would be happy for it’s use especially in a public execution so that they could all see and enjoy the spectacle; perhaps they could get it televised with McDonalds as the sponsor, be good to bring the kids up with a proper understanding.
Then there is the manner of execution in the United States. Gas ’em! Hang ’em; poison ’em and in some places shoot ’em; ah the old wild west mentality! Doesn’t matter really how just do it and the more gruesome the better. Cruel & unusual punishment? Means nothing.
I do believe the authorities now believe that they are being humane by giving a lethal dose by injection, Supposedly the prisoner just goes to sleep and doesn’t wake ever again, it’s impossible to know whether or not he /she is in great pain because the witnesses can’t see any writhing in agony, so it must be a clean sweet death.
I remember reading an account of Caryl Chessman his trial and execution not for murder but for rapes which in all likely hood he did not commit. When he was being strapped into the chair in the gas chamber one of the guards advised him to take a deep breath when he heard the cyanide pellets fall and hold it as long as possible and when he could hold it no longer let it out and take the deepest breath he could which would kill him quickly. What a generous act. You may be interested in reading this report and consider whether this was another case of injustice, I’ll always believe it to be so.
The last public execution took place in England in 1868 the report in the Times the day after is recorded and the following link will take you to this detailed report of the execution which ran very smoothly, if such a thing is possible;
Now when do you think the last public hanging took place in the USA, it may not have been in your lifetime but it certainly took place in mine. Yes the last happened in 1936; 68 years after the English realized the horror and degradation of public execution not only to the culprit but to the crowd as well.
I suggest that you read both links and note the difference between the authorities responsible for carrying out the execution and then consider the crowds behaviour, there is not much difference between the crowds but it is interesting to note that the American spectators there enjoyed the day out; and there were those who made a buck or two selling food & drink and whatever else they could think of for making a quick buck.
One must wonder at the mentality of those people and more to the point one must wonder that that mentality still exists throughout the United States of America.
By the way the US execution was photographed and the link will lead you to the pictures
The United States is in excellent company when it comes to the death penalty, China, Saudi Arabia (they like it public so should get on very well indeed) Iran, Iraq all they’re old friends, hang on there’s something wrong there!
In closing I might mention that the last execution in New South Wales where I live took place in 1938; just two years after the last US public hanging took place. I have theories on the US attitude and the different attitude of the civilized countries of this world on why they are or are not attached to the death penalty and I may expand on them at another time.