Publicizing Execution of the Death Penalty Essay

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"Punishment," writes McTaggart, "is pain and to inflict pain on any person obviously needs justification." But if the need to justify punishment is obvious, the manner of doing so is not. In fact, there is a wide variety of opinion on the single issue of publicizing execution. For example, Even though Sister Helen Prejean, a spiritual advisor who worked with death row inmates wrote the deeply moving novel Dead Man Walking, her ideas to make a difference may be impractical wishes to others. In addition, Prejean finds the moral cost of death penalty too damaging to tolerate, and thus she believes those death row inmates who "have died a thousand times already" deserve to die and stop suffering from "their anticipation of the final horror" …show more content…
Because "it is the business of Ethics as a science to do the same thing as `the man in the street' is doing when he wonders what is the use of punishment and whether it can make anyone better, only to do it systematically, thoroughly, precisely." (The Morality of Punishment, Ewing) In other words, in order to avoid our own confusions, many of us wish to prove the validity of their opinions scientifically--we would like to reason our thoughts based on a developed theory. And conveniently, many religions provide sets of religious codes for people to follow. Take the early Mormon leaders for example, they may have "talked of the need for `blood atonement," or the redemption of sins through the spilling of blood, for heinous crimes," (Death by Firing Squad Under the Gun, Knickerbocker) and thus firing squad is kept only in Utah and Idaho where high percentages of Mormons reside. In the case of a Utah inmate, John Albert Taylor, he had the choice to die with the execution of the firing squad or lethal injection, and even though lethal injections are considered the more humane way to be executed, Taylor chooses to be executed by a firing squad. Taylor's choice is not unreasonable, because by following the religious codes that "regulates" him, he has gotten a chance and a reason to feel righteous. On the other hand, Sister Helen Prejean's opinion is also based on her Catholic belief. She believes lovingly that regardless of how terrible the crime one commits,…

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