Florida Death Penalty
For those who truly believe that murder is wrong, however, it is impossible to justify an argument in favor of capital punishment. Arguing that death should be used as a punishment for murder, presents a dichotomy that is not only unethical, but illogical as well. Opponents of capital punishment see the act as dehumanizing and rightfully so. Consider the case of John Spenkelink, the first man to be executed in Florida’s electric chair after the moratorium on capital punishment had been lifted in 1972. While one may see the humiliation of being put to death in the electric chair as punishment enough for one’s crime, nothing could be more inhuman than what took place before Spenkelink was executed: “…Spenkelink had cotton stuffed up his rectum, in his penis, up his nose, and in his ears and had a ball placed in his mouth to silence him”.
Spenkelink is not the only casualty of an inhuman execution. According to a recent article in New Statesman, an execution of another man in Florida’s electric chair, Allen Davis, was so botched that one of Florida’s Supreme Court Judges had the photos from the execution pasted on the Internet to show how appalling the practice of capital punishment truly is: “they [the photos] showed clearly that his [the condemned] nose and mouth were crushed and obstructed by a leather strap, at least partly asphyxiating him rather than electrocuting him to death by what (it transpired) was too low a voltage. His face turned purple and he bled copiously”.
Davis’ execution was so heinous that it raised a number of brows all across the United States; even the brows of those who support the death penalty. Many people began pondering such ethical and moral questions as: “Is the capital punishment a violation of Constitutional Rights, because it is cruel and unusual punishment?” and “If capital punishment is cruel and unusual, what is proper punishment for society’s pariahs?”
Both questions have heralded a number of debates. For legislators in states like Florida—which currently has the third highest death row inmate population in the United States—capital punishment provides a salient, cost effective method for dealing with those who commit murder . Because housing one death row inmate can cost in excess of $500,000 per annum, it only stands to reason that execution is the most viable means for solving tow problems: punishing the offender and saving the state and its taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of an inmate’s life.