I cannot understand it and I will never support it, for me the taking of any life, no matter how wretched that soul may be, goes against every fibre of my being and everything that I believe in. In a day and age where there are options for proper care and rehabilitation through correct practice and procedure, I think that we are far better equipped to deal with the ugliness of social misconduct than we have ever been before. Surely we can boast that we have evolved into a more civilised and humane culture that can bolster better consequences for the mentally unwell than just executing them?
In a recent episode of the television program Kidding, the main character meets the son of his penpal who just happens to be an inmate on death row. Through contact with this penpal we learn the truth about the lethal injection that is given to death row prisoners to euthanize them, and it really got me thinking about how deeply barbaric and horrific it would be to die in that way.
The so called 'painless' execution method is actually very far from painless and consists of a series of three lethal injections. The first of the three injections is an anesthetic called sodium thiopental, which is a fast acting barbiturate that depresses the activity of the central nervous system. This initial shot doesn't serve as a painkiller that numbs pain nerves, but instead it rapidly puts a person into a state of unconsciousness that's theoretically deep enough to make pain undetectable (note the word theoretically there). The assumption is that the drug will last long enough for the other two injections to be administered, but no-one alive has been able to substantiate that theory, so it's a grey area for sure.
The second injection is pancuronium bromide which causes complete muscle paralysis, so even if the person being executed was in pain, they wouldn't be able to cry out or let anyone know that they were; and the injection also causes the respiratory system to go into arrest because the muscle of the diaphragm (the muscle that pulls air into the lungs) stops working, so odds are it hurts like a bitch.
The last dosage to be administered is potassium chloride, which floods the heart with charged particles that interrupt its electrical signaling and stop it from beating. According to a study in the Journal of Forensic Science, the average length of time from the first injection to death is 8.4 minutes. Try and get your head around that, 8.4 minutes of possible pain and discomfort, maybe a lot longer, before you eventually die. It's a chilling thought, and not something that invokes a painless drifting off, as one may have imagined about lethal injection previously. It may be more humane than electrocution or a cyanide gas chamber, but let's not kid ourselves here, this is still a completely barbaric practice that needs to be abolished.
And to top it all off, there are no real health professionals present when lethal injection procedures are administered because doctors and nurses are banned by their professional organisations from participating in executions since it goes against the moral code of health care professionals to be involved in such procedures. Surely that made you raise an eyebrow?
And even though many countries have abolished the use of the death penalty, there are still 54 countries around the world that still have laws that sanction the use of capital punishment, and in some of those countries, the lethal injection would actually look like a good option considering the fact that they still use hanging, shooting, torture, flogging, firing squads and even stoning as a means of execution which is sometimes conducted publicly. I seriously shudder at the thought.
An eye for an eye and the world goes blind, and I firmly believe that that is true. We cannot fight fire with fire and expect to survive the inferno ourselves, a life is a life and when others make poor choices we cannot simply put out their light, it is wrong and it is immoral. Anyone that supports the taking of a life for a life really needs to take a good hard look at what is motivating all of that hate in the first place, because in my opinion, it isn't natural to want to destroy your own kind.
Release Date: 1995
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 122 mins
An American crime-drama, co-produced and directed by Tim Robbins who adapted the screenplay from the non-fiction book of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean C.S.J. This is an intelligent and genuinely devastating movie that explores the realities of corporal punishment in modern society. I recall thinking about this film for a long time after the credits had rolled; this is a deeply affecting tale.
A nun (Susan Sarandon) is called upon to offer comfort to a convicted murderer (Sean Penn) on death row. As their relationship develops, the nun wrestles with her feelings as she comes to understand the hardships of the murdered girl's family and also those of the killer awaiting execution.
Sarandon and Penn are absolutely magnificent together, delivering harrowing and heartfelt performances. Susan Sarandon won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her considerable efforts, and Sean Penn won a Silver Berlin Bear Award, for portraying a character that will have you so completely appalled but also so deeply disturbed about his upcoming execution. This is high tension, emotionally challenging, gritty material, don't expect to not be affected.
FINAL SAY: I just don't see the sense of killing people to say that killing people's is wrong.
4.5 Chilli Peppers