Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right?David ToddEng.
Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right?David ToddEng. 102ArnettEssay #5The question of whether capital punishment is right or wrong is a trulytough choice to make.
Capital punishment (death penalty) is legal because thegovernment of the United States of America says that it is all right to executeanother human being if their crimes are not punishable by other means. Thereare many different forms of capital punishment. Some of the most popular oneshave been hanging, firing squad, electrocution (the chair), the gas chamber, andthe newest lethal injection. In the readings of George Orwell, Edward I.
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Koch,and Jacob Weisberg, there are incites to capital punishment that are not usuallythought of or expressed aloud. Also in the movie “Dead Man Walking,” the act oflethal injection, a form of capital punishment, is presented and made visual forone’s eyes. Both the readings and the movie hit on emotions that some peoplehave never thought about feeling. With the many people in the world there aremany different feelings on capital punishment. Upon reading George Orwell’s “AHanging,” the reader can obviously see that the writer is against capitalpunishment.
Orwell brings out many of the points that are considered forargument against the death penalty. Orwell writes “It is curious; but till thatmoment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man.When I saw the prisoner step aside to avoid the puddle, I saw the mystery, theunspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide.
Thisman was not dying, he was alive just as we are alive.” In this quote Orwellbrings out the emotion of knowing that what is being executed may seem like amonster, but the fact remains that the prisoner is still a human being. Orwellalso brings out the point that when we were a society that conducted hangings,the executioner would put a bag over the prisoners head. This was basically tomake it so we didn’t have to watch the facial expressions of the dying becauseit would make society feel guilty.Another writer against capital punishment is Jacob Weisberg.
InWeisburg’s “This Is Your Death,” the reader must take into account that most ofthe public is immune to seeing violence on the TV and that broadcastingexecutions live would just be another form of entertainment. Weisberg writesalso about the inhumane and cruel death penalties we have devised to killcriminals. Weisberg tells of the pain and suffering of the prisoners that goeson during an execution. Even if one was watching, one may not always be able tosee what is really going on. Weisberg goes into a deep explanation of the manydeath penalties. Upon reading, one may be shocked as to what really goes on inan execution.
For example, the gas chamber kills people by hypoxia. Hypoxiameans “the cut-off of oxygen to the brain.” One can’t understand the pain theyare feeling unless one has suffered a heart attack which has many of the samesensations. Weisberg explains that “all methods of execution can be botched.”If an execution were to be botched, then that would only mean more pain andsuffering for the one being executed.
Weisberg states that “electrocutions gowrong frequently and dramatically.” An example is while a prisoner was beingelectrocuted, the voltage had been lowered to 100 volts because of a syntheticsponge. At a 100 volts one’s body is simply tortured until death. This mightseem to come under cruel punishments.Another opinion on capital punishment is conveyed by Edward I.
Koch. InKoch’s “Death and Justice,” he yields the position of being for capitalpunishment. He tries to counteract all of the points brought about by thearguments against capital punishment.
Koch says “it’s not the method thatreally troubles opponents. It’s the death itself they consider barbaric.” Herelates the barbaric act of the death penalty to radical surgery, radiation, orchemotherapy in attempts to cure cancer. This is a pretty far stretch.
Kochalso is the first to bring out the fact that the Bible says it is wrong to killanother human being. Koch disproves this by telling the reader that the Torahsays the death may be used as a punishment. There are many different religionsso the topic of religion is a hard one to use as an argument for or againstcapital punishment.Another opinion on capital punishment is the neutral position. Thisposition is covered in the movie “Dead Man Walking.” The director helps you tovisualize both sides of the argument without telling you which one to choose.
The movie fairly and accurately depicts both the emotions of the victims familymembers who are for the death penalty and also the feeling of the criminal andhis family. This is good because it leaves the observer still in question ofwhat the right choice is if they didn’t have an already formed opinion. Intoday’s society no one can tell you how you feel. This is a touchy subject andpeople will try to influence others, but it all comes back to the person makingthe decision for themselves.