Utah’s deadly mistake

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Ally Daskalopoulos, Staff Writer

 

In recent weeks, capital punishment has punishment has once again become a hot-button issue.

Last week, Utah governor Gary R. Herbert signed a bill bringing back the option to use the firing squads as a form of execution for prisoners on the death row list. The question is how far will this spread? And does everyone agree?

Herbert said to CNN that lethal injection remains the primary method for carrying out executions in the state, and that the firing squad would only be used if the necessary drugs cannot be obtained.

My concern regarding this statement is the issue of drug obtainment. There are only so many prisoners executed each year, so having a lack of drugs in order to perform the execution seems like a rather unjustified excuse to bring in a firing squad.

Those against this new idea are against the death penalty in general terms. As a strong opponent to capital punishment, news like this deeply saddens me. This is not only due to my opinion that death by a firing squad would be brutally inhumane, but also because having this as an option puts this form of inhumane death into the minds of already mentally disturbed prisoners.

Offering different ways to die does not bring any sort of solution. If in fact the question regards the best form of punishment, I believe living with one’s sins and mistakes is a greater punishment than simply killing prisoners.

Ironically, though, it costs more to keep prisoners alive than it does to kill them. This factor may be a reality, but it’s a truly devastating one.

On the other hand, the state of Illinois does not permit capital punishment. It wasn’t always this way, though. It wasn’t until recently in 2011 that Illinois reconsidered its position and removed capital punishment as an option.

According to the Washington Post, “Illinois becomes the 16th state in the nation without a death penalty more than a decade after former Gov. George Ryan imposed a moratorium on executions out of fear that the justice system could make a deadly mistake.” The governor agreed that the system of capital punishment has flaws and without a perfect system it cannot be implemented.

Personally, I feel that allowing a firing squad into the system further degrades the value of capital punishment, making it even less appealing to other states and reflecting poorly on the country as a whole. In the same article, I learned that, “The U.S. is one of the few industrialized countries that still practices capital punishment. The European Union, for instance, bans executions by any member nations.”

This fact strengthened my opposition to this system even more so. I’m glad to know that while my entire country may not all agree, my state does agree with me and does not embrace capital punishment.