Letter: Levels of suffering
Anyone who rapes and murders a 12-year-old girl should be executed. There should be no question about it. Having said that, cruel and unusual punishment need not be part of the penalty. Lethal injections are the cause of such brutal failures. The long-term suffering of the Arizona inmate is an outrage and points to other ways of terminating life.
In the Bible, there were two penalties for rape and murder: hanging and stoning. The modern day equivalent of stoning, of course, is the firing squad. Instead of round, baseball-sized stones, a small piece of lead is used at high velocity. Death is quick. So is hanging because it snaps the neck with no gasping for breath.
When you talk about long-term suffering, however, consider how the Romans sought justice. First, it was public, something we should consider doing again. It guarantees that those who witness the event will be much, much less likely to commit the offense. In addition to the cutting whip and the bloody sword, there was crucifixion. It was cruel and unusual and hanging on a cross could last for hours or even days. The Arizona execution was a tea party compared to Rome’s way.
The only well-known and documented, short-term crucifixion was Christ’s. He lived only long enough to recite all of Psalm 22, not just the first verse which is given in the Bible. It was a description of His agony that was written by King David 1,000 years before it happened. You can look it up.