Public Execution Via Pay-Per-View
July 14, 2008
Supreme Court Justice William Brennan’s description of the executions he witnessed during his career:
...the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on (his) cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner's flesh swells and his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire...Witnesses hear a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, ant the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh permeates the chamber. (Bedau 2004, p. 17)
These images are graphic and disturbing and it may be difficult for some people to believe anyone would commit a capital crime, if they knew that this gruesome fate would be the punishment for such an act. It might be difficult for some people to believe anyone could want to watch another person die, but in reality, how often does the average person slow down to observe the scene of a bad accident. Humans have always been fascinated by death and that is a fact, which is unlikely to change anytime soon. 20,000 people attended one of the last public executions, which took place in Owensboro, Kentucky in 1936 (Bedau 2004, p. 15). Americans, as a society, have a very strong attitude about the consequences of aggressive acts towards itself as a country, but is a little weaker in that attitude in its own backyard. After September 11, 2001, America, as a nation, demanded vengeance immediately, calling for decisive action against its enemies; retaliation which its citizenry could see, but fails to demand the same visual confirmation of the sentences passed to the most heinous criminal perpetrators in this great country. Broadcasting the execution of criminals on Death Row via pay-per-view would serve many worthy objectives including: allowing the state and federal governments a chance to bring in revenue spent on...