In the not too distant past, our forebears would sentence a murderer to death for his crime promptly. Within a day or less, they would hang or shoot him. Our laws on quick execution have changed over time, especially due to mistakes that have lead to the deaths of some innocents. Appeals eventually became automatic. The time, from a conviction at trial to the eventual execution, went from days to months, then to years, and now to decades.
One person who committed a crime in 1990 is now in the public eye, an Arkansas inmate. The debate centers on whether he might suffer a brief period of pain during his execution. Was there no pain – mental or physical – during his incarceration or appeals process in the past twenty-seven years? Was there no mental anguish or physical pain for the victim or their family?
Today, many are busily arguing over a short bit of potential pain for this prisoner at execution, after he has spent decades waiting for what he certainly knew would be death. Does ignoring all the pain he’s already suffered and only concentrating on the moment of an impending execution make any sense? I agree that we should not be barbarians, but are we leaning too far in the direction of expecting to make a criminal’s last moments worry-free and pain-free so much that we lose sight of the bigger picture?
While many previous forms of execution resulted in a few mishaps causing unexpected agony, what was so wrong about using a more practical, quick and inexpensive form of execution? “Long Drop Hanging” is very quick and efficient. The prisoner can be dead in as little as seven seconds from the time the executioner arrives, minimizing pain or anticipation for the prisoner. It is a mathematically calculated exercise performed by an expert hangman in such a way as to quickly and humanely execute, not in public view, and is still legal in Washington State and Delaware. The last U.S. hanging to take place was in 1996.
If we must execute criminals, hanging would be far less expensive than lethal injection while still providing a humane solution. Long Drop Hanging requires a skilled hangman executioner. There are approximately 2,900 people in the U.S. on death row now. With the shortage of execution drugs, and the multiple instances lethal injection procedures have gone terribly wrong, hanging seems to be a reasonable solution when an actual execution does eventually need to take place.
I suppose the original purpose of capital punishment was to deter further crimes and set an example. Does it work? I don’t believe so. It’s effective for people with a conscience, like you and I, but then we couldn’t easily kill another anyway, could we? Murderers have no conscience and do not care anything about consequences before pulling the trigger.
It may not be apparent, but I am actually against capital punishment. It has been shown to cost as much as ten times more to keep a prisoner on death row than in prison for life. Multiple appeals, payments to court staff, public defenders, and so on cost the taxpayers a bundle. Instead of sentencing criminals to death, place them in prison for life without the possibility of parole. How about taking those recovered funds and putting people through medical school who will then save lives instead of taking them?