Everyone has different thoughts on punishments for different crimes. There are currently thirty-three states that support the death penalty (Deathpeanltyinfo.org 1). Over the passing years punishment for crimes has gone soft. Whenever the words “death penalty” are said it raises such debate whether or not it is right or wrong. An eye for an eye my father told me when I was growing up. For that to be true in todays society we need the death penalty and much more. Today our “eye for an eye” system is weak. Seventeen states believe if a murder happens that person who does the crime does not need to be put to death (Death Penalty Information Center 1). In the poem “Punishment” by Seamus Heaney, it is about an execution for a crime of adultery, which would be a correct punishment for that crime in that time period. “When the Puritans came to this land, they left a country where the English treated adultery as largely a civil and personal matter. The Puritans wanted to create a society where moral dictates were enforced by harsh corporal punishments” (Turley 1). The Puritans had it right, they believed that there needs to be consequences for all crimes petty or not. An issue that has continually created tension in today’s society is whether the death penalty serves as a justified and valid form of punishment. The death penalty can be the only way to justify a crime especially adultery.
In the poem “Punishmentm,” Heaney paints a vivid picture of a dead girls corpse tortured and hung for punishment of a crime of adultery. Heaney uses great detail as if you were the one to find the corpse. “It blows her nipples / to amber beads, / it shakes the frail rigging / of her ribs” (lines 5-8). He goes on to explain the punishment that this girl indoored for her crime. It is a fitting crime for what she did. When it is thought about this girl ruined a life of another persons, a family’s life. “Her shaved head / like a stubble of black corn” (17-18). She deserved the embarrassment to be found naked. “Body in the bog” (9). Bog meaning like an unnourished vegetable, she has been on display for so long she as become rotten just as she is on the inside when she did her crime of adultery. “To store / the memories of love. / little adulteress, / before they punished you” (21-24). The love she was after punished her; she should of found love somewhere else then with a married man. Even Heaney seems to be getting some type of pleasure from his own writing. “I am the artful voyeur” (33). Heaney agrees with the scene of her punishment by using the word voyeur, he gets excited to see it, to imagine it. Society does not need to get excited about putting someone to death but society should be excited to punish someone for adultery by putting him or her to death.
The death penalty persuasion in America has change dramatically overtimes, it is gaining support. The opinion of the death penalty in America is split. “Public opinion on the death penalty in America over the past fifty years has vacillated. Support decreased through the 1950s and until 1966, when only forty-seven percent of the American public voiced support; since 1982 about three quarters of the population favored capital punishment” (Radelet 44). As time goes on more and more people see that the only way to deal with punishments for certain crimes in execution or the death penalty. “We must punish offenders to discourage others from committing similar offenses; we punish past offenders to send a message to potential offenders” (Radelet 44). There is great wisdom behind that quote. Strike fear into the offenders to prevent further corruption of adultery. There may be a down side to the death penalty that most can admit, that innocent defendants will occasionally be executed (Radelet 50). Not to say that in the thirty-three states that have the death penalty that some were innocent while being put to death. It makes no difference though; it is time to change the weak way of punishment for adultery. If a person can ruin someone’s life by committing adultery then the people should have the right to ruin there by ending it.
Executions in the Untied States are not like they are in third world countries, where people get stoned to death. There are five different methods of execution today; lethal injection, electrocution, lethal gas, firing squad, and hanging. (“Methods of Execution” 1). Execution has evolved over years. “No states provide for lethal gas, hanging, or firing squad as the sole method of execution.” (“Methods of Execution” 1). Obviously, these three execution styles are not used today but they are still in the books for use. Sixteen states authorize lethal injection as the sole method of execution and 20 other states provide lethal injection as the primary method but provide other methods for the criminal to pick the way he or she wishes to die. (“Methods of Execution” 5). The most common execution is lethal injection; which is the most humane way of the death penalty. The execution protocol for most jurisdictions authorizes the use of a combination of three drugs.
The first, sodium thiopental or sodium pentothal, is a barbiturate that renders the prisoner unconscious. The second, pancuronium bromide, is a muscle relaxant that paralyzes the diaphragm and lungs. The third, potassium chloride, causes cardiac arrest (“Methods of Execution” 5). With these three drugs injected into the criminal it is virtually painless for him or her. Nebraska is the only state, out of the thirty-three that have the death penalty, that the main method of execution is electrocution. (“Methods of Execution” 1). Execution has evolved from being stoned to death and being hung in public for everyone to see to a “private show” that in as many ways as possible is humane. We give the criminal a choice to witch execution he or she wants and all the choices that are given are the quickest. Execution has evolved significantly, the criminal does not need to be tortured to prove a point to the rest of society but if you commit adultery society needs to know that they will be put to death for it.
The Military has strict rules and regulations on many laws but most importantly, adultery. It seems in todays society you can not Google enough to find the last punishment of adultery in the United States. It goes unnoticed, just gossip in the wind. At least the military has a decent punishment for adultery, not saying it is the best but at least the military is doing something about it. In the United Stares Military if convicted of adultery under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) you can be striped of rank or worse be dishonorable discharged (Rives 1). Being dishonorably discharged from any military branch will ruin you life. Try getting a job with a dishonorable discharge on your record, it won’t happen. The best job you can hope for with that on your record is working eight to five at your local McDonalds. “The military’s rules on fraternization and adultery are neither out-of-date nor unnecessary” (Rives 2). The military personal are well-trained professionals, and are held to a higher stander then others (Rives 2). The people of America expect the military to be that “higher stander” so when they see in the news that a high-ranking officer cheated on his wife with a junior enlisted it makes the military look weak. If we think the military, the one thing protecting us from danger, looks weak because of adultery, it would be safe to say other countries think we look weak because people in our country commit adultery and go unpunished for it.
More and more people are committing adultery. “A 1996 NORC study found that 22 percent of men and 15 percent of women admitted being unfaithful to their spouses at least once” (Kantrowitz 2). Eighteen years ago that was the percent of men and women that admitted to adultery. Think of the people who were too ashamed and embarrassed to admit, and think of how its 2012 now and that how badly those percentages have increased. With the punishment for adultery being the death penalty the percentages would drop astronomically. It would set an example for people that if they knowingly cheat on there spouse that they would know what would happen no questions asked. If you are unhappy with your spouse there are ways to work around that, marriage counseling and divorce are just two common ways. You may break someone’s heart by going through divorce but it is better then committing adultery and your spouse finding out and his or her heart is on the floor being stomped on by the cheater. There is no other way to get people to believe that adultery is wrong, people have thick skulls and the only way of penetrating those skulls is by setting an example for all the others to see. America will become overwhelmed with adultery and that will never be okay. Even the people we look up to have committed such a horrific crime.
If the headlines seem to tell us one thing about our culture, it is that we are living in the Age of Adultery. A steady line of prominent men have taken the walk of shame across our television screens and through our magazine and newspaper pages over the past decade or so; Bill Clinton (he says it wasn’t sex, but would even he deny it was adultery?), Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, the three Johns (Edwards, Ensignm and Gosselin), Jim Mcgreevey, Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer, Tiger woods, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Anthony Weiner (Hymowitz 1). If all of these men that we idol in some way or another have committed adultery that sends a signal to the people saying that it is okay if he did it. Kids are watching these men on television looking up to them. Even celebrities should have to be held to the higher stander just like the military. If people, society, looks up to them they should have to face the same punishment. There are even websites that urge peoples to cheat. One of the most famous is “AshleyMadison.com, cheekily urges, “life is short. Have an affair” (Hymowitz 2). If websites are advertising that it is okay that you have an affair because you only live once people are thinking that maybe it is true that people need to go out and have an affair. It is a great message to be sending to people in our society. You might as well be outside with a sign strapped to your chest saying I want to have an affair.
The word “punishment” does not really let the person know what is ahead for them. Most people know when they hear the word “punishment” that what ever they did is deserving of the crime. Punishment is defined as a penalty imposed for wrongdoing. It is time that everyone takes a stand against adultery and broken hearts. Stop showing other countries we are weak with our punishments. Start setting an example for people who do the crime must face the punishment. It is time to put back in “an eye for an eye”. Stop living with compassion and start taking responsibilities for your actions like the girl in the poem had to. She committed adultery and had to face a much worse punishment that she would have to face today. Let society bring back the punishment that she had to endure.
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