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Capital Punishment Is Not Only Unusual, But Cruel Essay

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Capital Punishment is Not Only Unusual, But Cruel
The most widely known aspect of the eighth amendment is the fact that it prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Cruel and unusual punishment is perceived as punishment that causes “an unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain” (Bailey). Is capital punishment cruel and unusual? It is one of the most controversial topics in America today. In effect since the 1600s, the US
Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was “cruel and unusual” in 1972 but reversed this decision when a "cleaner" way to bring about death was found in 1976 (Encarta). This "cleaner" way is death by lethal injection, which is quick and painless if administered
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Secondly, I believe the execution methods the death penalty utilizes make it cruel. In the US, there are five methods of execution currently in use. These methods are: electrocution, lethal injection, the gas chamber, the firing squad (used only in Utah), and hanging (Bailey). Problems with capital punishment methods stem as far back as the ritual itself. The eighth amendment, which is supposed to protect its citizens from torturous treatment and punishment at the hand of law enforcers, lets the enforcers inflict these methods which are cruel, slow and painful upon the person being executed.
“Everyone who commits a crime is not committing a compulsive act”
(Wasserstrom 573) and therefore, we should not act impulsively towards them. The punishment should not be grossly out of proportion to the severity of the crime charged, nor should it violate the convicted individual’s dignity.
Lastly, there is the aspect of my religion (Catholic) playing a factor in the capital punishment debate. Many people point to the passage in
Leviticus, which states that an eye for an eye is God's decree (Costanzo 592).
However, Jesus Christ
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