Public Executions / by kevin murray

I abhor the death penalty and consider it on its merits alone to be in violation of our Eighth Amendment which protects us from "cruel and unusual punishments".   Yet, the death penalty is part of our legal law in 32 of our 50 states.  Additionally, the United States holds the dubious distinction of ranking #5 on the the number of executions performed over the years 2007-2012, following in the footsteps of such enlightened and liberal countries such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.   


The last public execution in the United States was held in Kentucky in 1936, in which a raucous crowd estimated to be as large as 20,000 people witnessed the condemned being hanged at 5:32AM. Headlines read from Chicago -- "Death Makes a Holiday: 20,000 Revel Over Hanging." From Evansville, Ind. -- "Ghostly Carnival Precedes Hanging." From Louisville -- "'Did You Ever See a Hanging?' 'I Did''.


Apparently, this was the last public execution in America, but it certainly was not the last execution in America.  Despite our 6th Amendment which states that we have a right to a "public trial", evidently we, the public, don't have a right to see capital sentences carried out.  This doesn't make any logical sense.  If the death penalty is suppose to be a deterrent, if the death penalty is a legally mandated State method to exact vengeance (or justice) on a recalcitrant, diabolical, and hideous criminal who has been duly convicted by his peers, why is it held in private?


To make matters worse and to show the complete contradiction and stupidity of continuing to execute criminals as a form of punishment, at the present time in America, all executions are performed using some form of lethal injection.  Ostensibly, lethal injections are used to kill criminals sentenced to death, because it is considered to be a more humane, painless, and civilized way to kill the person.  This makes the very poor case that if you kill people in a pleasant way, as if they are just going to sleep, you somehow, are perceived to be more caring.  


Instead, you have simply made it more palatable to kill someone.  The real feeling that should be conveyed when you kill someone in a deliberate, premeditated manner should be one of pure horror, disgust, or regret.  If it is so right to execute duly convicted criminals by State statue, it should be done in public, in a meaningful manner, and it should be broadcast live on either the internet or via television. 


If this sounds barbaric to you, it should be, but it is also necessary.  The execution of our Savior was done in public, and He was executed as a common criminal, between two other criminals.  To all those States that have and utilize the death penalty, it is time to drop the pretenses, tear down the curtain, and open up your nasty business to the public.  If this is what America wants, give it to them.  If the law has adjudged that the correctly convicted criminal is no longer worthy of life, kill him right in front of our eyes, and maybe then we can see for the very first time.