Lethal injection better solution
Published 7:58 am Wednesday, February 6, 2002
The Alabama House of Representatives took an important step recently toward rectifying our state's capital punishment legislation.
The representatives voted to change the state's method of execution to lethal injection. Currently, Alabama and Nebraska are the only two states which use the electric chair as a means of execution.
While we don't believe death row inmates are entitled to a litany of rights, there are courts in the land that believe the right to a swift and painless death is one of them.
Maybe, maybe not.
But it's not our belief that is important. It's having the means to carry out the punishment that the people of our state say they support. This could, if left unchanged, become a punishment for which we have no means to carry out. And is this justice?
The change to lethal injection is being heralded by proponents of capital punishment as the right move for our state. A ruling by the Supreme Court could deem the electric chair as cruel and unusual punishment and, if that happened, the state would find itself without a legal means of execution.
The change is the right move for our state. If Alabama continues to use the death penalty as an acceptable means of punishment for crimes, it must ensure that the method used falls within the recognized boundaries of our national laws. If the electric chair is deemed cruel and unusual punishment n which is possible n we would be left without a means to enforce the law we have enacted.
Capital punishment is a difficult issue, and debating the subtleties of methods is even more difficult for our state lawmakers. Our lawmakers are not being asked to revisit the morality of the death penalty; they are being asked to consider only the most palatable and preferable manner for carrying out that punishment.
The ends of both methods are the same, so we believe changing the means to which those ends are achieved is a small price to pay and we support the decision to move forward.
The first hurdle is now completed and it's likely the Alabama Senate will also endorse the change to lethal injection, resolving this issue for our state and allowing our lawmakers to focus on other issues.