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BellaOnline's Human Rights Editor


Humane Capital Punishment - Oxymoron or Long Past Due?

Guest Author - Lisbeth Cheever-Gessaman

At the 62nd UN General Assembly held in October 2007, a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions was introduced as a step towards the death penalty. Amnesty International quotes that 'this resolution is to expected to be supported by countries in all regions of the world', but there are significant doubts that the United States will be among those ardently championing its passage.

The death penalty is heinous and barbaric in and of itself, has never been proven to have any positive impact on crime whatsoever and has statistically been shown to increase rather than decrease the perceptible violence in every society that supports it. But regardless of your argument for its continuation or the opposition of it, one fact remains clear - there is simply no humane methodology in existence that allows the condemned to enjoy a peaceful, humane and dignified passing.

Enter a suggestion for a more humane death procedure: The Brompton Cocktail.

The Brompton Cocktail is an elixir comprised of Heroin, Cocaine, Morphine and Alcohol that was first introduced at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London for terminally ill patients to alleviate the fear and discomfort at facing their own mortality by producing a most pleasant psychotropic euphoria. Initially met with great success, it was eventually scourged and phased out due to the advent of strict drug policy laws in the UK. It's creation raises an important issue however, that the dying and condemned are facing an enormity of terror, grief and pain at the looming of their own deaths. Are the condemned then not any less in need of the right to meet those ends with as much dignity and comfort as possible?

It is certain that of all methodologies inherent today for the execution of the antisocial, none among them can be counted as humane. The most common and acceptable form remains death by lethal injection among which problems are rife.

To quote Amnesty Internationals' report entitled THE DEATH PENALTY V. HUMAN RIGHTS published September 2007:

"If hanging a woman by her arms until she experiences excruciating pain is rightly condemned as torture, how does one describe hanging her by the neck until she is dead? If administering 100 volts of electricity to the most sensitive parts of a manís body evokes disgust, what is the appropriate reaction to the administration of 2,000 volts to his body in order to kill him? If a pistol held to the head or a chemical substance injected to cause protracted suffering are clearly instruments of torture, how should they be identified when used to kill by shooting or lethal injection? Does the use of legal process in these cruelties make their inhumanity justifiable?"

It is convenient enough for us to dismiss as dregs and parasites of society the condemned and wash our hands of them with justifications that the punishment fits the crime well enough - an eye for an eye, a life for a life. Let them die and let us be done with them. The truth is that the United States remains one of the last civilized societies that still insists on murdering its own citizens.

If such is to be the case, then by the Gods, can we not at least rally behind a way of doing so that is merciful?

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Content copyright © 2014 by Lisbeth Cheever-Gessaman. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisbeth Cheever-Gessaman. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Andria Bobo for details.


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