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The Electric Chair Essay

For over a century now, states in the United States have used the electric chair for a method of execution. The electric chair was meant to be a more humane version of execution. However, now people seem to think the electric chair is an unconstitutional way to die. As years go by, people who have witnessed electric chair executions have stated horrible and torturous stories of death. Inmates fought the straps of the chair as the high voltage went through their body. There were some cases where the inmate’s skin would burn while they were still alive. The electric chair should not be a method for execution because it is inhumane, there are complications, and they aren’t completely effective.

Using the electric chair as a method of capital punishment is inhumane. “Physical reactions include heaving chest, gurgles, foaming at the mouth, bloody sweat, burning of the hair and skin, and release of feces (Hall, Charlene. Methods of Execution.) This is an awful way to die. It doesn’t matter what they did to be sentenced to death row, this is unconstitutional. “The brain appears cooked in most cases and the prisoner’s eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on his cheeks. Also the inmate often defecates, urinates, vomits blood, and drools.

The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner’s flesh swells as his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Witnesses have reported hearing a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh (Mailto,R. “The Electric Chair.”).” What would you do if you were watching this? Or, if this happened to one of your loved ones? You would be disgusted that something like this was allowed in our country.

Using the electric chair as a method of capital punishment has its complications. “Nine electrocutions have gone awry since 1983. During the electrocution of Jesse Joseph Tafero on May 4, 1990 flames and smoke were seen shooting out of his head. This caused the state to interrupt the electric current during which Tafero continued to breathe and move (“Lethal Injection vs Electric Chair.”).” The chair didn’t kill him the first time around. Can you imagine the pain that person went through? There were 9 other incidents where this same exact thing happened. “On May 3, 1946, the electric chair failed to kill Willie Francis. Witnesses reported hearing the teenager scream from behind the leather hood, “Take it off! Take it off! Let me breathe!” as the supposedly lethal surge of electricity was being applied (“Willie Francis | Murderpedia, the Encyclopedia of Murderers.”).” Obviously there is a flaw in the electric chair.

If you were to be executed today, you would probably feel little pain in the electric chair. The initial voltage is 2,000 volts and is only used to stop the inmate’s heart and make them unconscious. After a certain amount of time, the voltage is lowered and the remaining shocks are left to damage the internal organs. This makes sure that the body cannot be revived. Even though electric chairs now are safer and more reliable than in the past, they are still not 100% effective. “There have been multiple accounts as recently as present day of prisoners surviving multiple attempts to stop their hearts with the first dose of electricity. As some humans have more of a resistance to electrical currents than others it seems, not everyone is finished by 2000 volts on the first attempt (Rhodes, Jonte).” Not everybody is the same. People have different reactions to different things. You can’t base your methods off of one thing.

Please reconsider your thoughts on the electric chair because it is inhumane, there are too many complications, and it isn’t completely effective. Put yourself in this situation, you see a young man in the chair, strapped down with something covering his head, you know the gruesome failed outcomes from this, could you pull the lever anyways?


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