Electric chair, gas chamber, lethal injection, firing squad, hanging, guillotine, and garroting. When you hear these words what do you think of? Do you feel frightened? When some hear these words they tend to say, ” Oh they deserve it”.
In the court system that is not always the case. The question you always have to ask yourself is what did the accused do and do they deserve the death penalty?
What is bad enough to deserve death? Are their certain crimes that do and then some that do not? Almost every culture through out history has relied on the death penalty and capital punishment and justified as a necessary tool to maintain order. The only thing that changed throughout time were the crimes deemed punishable by death and the methods used to kill those found guilty. Some of the other countries’ laws of capital punishment seem so barbaric. In ancient India, executions were sometimes carried out by having an elephant crush the condemned’s head. Executions used to be public spectacles. In ancient Persia, one method of execution involved being eaten alive by insects and vermin. In the middle ages, methods of execution included chopping off limbs, stripping off the condemned person’s skin, boiling in oil, drawing and quartering (cutting the persons innards and then tearing the body into four pieces), burning at the stake, and crucifixion. In 1692, a man refused to testify after his wife was accused of witchcraft and was ” Pressed ” to death. The sentence was carried out by lying him on a stone floor, placing a board over him, and piling stones upon the board. Benjamin Rush, credited with the beginning the movement to abolish capital punishment in the U.S, declared in 1792 that reform, not retribution, should be the goal of punishment.
The Bible authorizes executing those who show contempt on their parents, walk without permission on sacred ground, practicing sorcery, sacrifice in foreign gods or who prostitute themselves. In the Bible Exodus 21:12 it says, ” Whoever strikes a man a mortal blow must be put to death.”
Electrocution in the modern era. Electricity causes biological damage through both heat and electrochemical havoc. The electrical current itself abolishes the function of organs and tissues such as the brain, nerves, and heart by overwhelming the fragile bioelectrical basis of the metabolism. The voltage applied is not the most critical factor but is in fact, almost irrelevant as much as electrical pressure was a factor. The body can tolerate a lot of volts without discomfort. The type of electrical current, too, makes a difference-whether direct (DC) or alternating (AC). The latter is more dangerous and can be lethal even with low voltage and relatively low amperage. The alternating cycle of 60 per second, which is ordinary 110-120 volt house current, will invariably stop heart action through stand still or ventricular fibrillation if the body somehow becomes part of a circuit.
The gas chamber. When sodium cyanide pellets are dropped into acid beneath the seated subject in a gas chamber, extremely lethal hydrogen cyanide is produced Cyanide asphyxiates acts by choking the cells instead of blocking air intake. The gas, HCN, is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream through the lungs. The red blood cells are relatively immune to HCN. When delivered to all of the body’s cells Cyanide literally and rapidly chokes all the body’s cells to death at the same time.
Hanging proponents. Proponents of hanging as a more humane method objected to the practice of beheadingAdvocates of hanging argued that if the noose were correctly applied to the neck, consciousness would disappear quickly due to the sudden and complete blockage of blood in the head, with resultant swelling of the brain and rupture of small blood vessels. People to whom this was done too that survived swore that there was no pain before they lost consciousness. In a sense any advantages of hanging would seem to be compromised when the “drop” was added. That the drop usually resulted in the breaking of the neck and the ripping of the spinal cord, thus essentially and much more crudely duplicating the results of decapitation without detaching the head.
Lethal injection. Thiopental Sodium is a fast acting drug that produces