The only reason, it seems, that we have not executed anyone in a decade is because of challenges to our execution methods.
Apparently, in 2017, we cannot fashion a way to kill someone without them writhing in pain for an hour.
If the state is given the power to end the lives of citizens, albeit the most heinous, it should figure out a humane process.
But that last point is another reason to question executions — how do we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the individual really committed the crime for which they are imprisoned?
Henry McCollum received a pardon from Governor McCrory in 2015 after evidence exonerated him.
To me, it is unconscionable to risk executing innocent people when we gain nothing from the execution of the guilty.
Allowing capital punishment means we accept an inherent value of life, characterized by a ratio.
However small the number may be, there is a certain quantity of people who will die, innocent of wrongdoing, for the scores of those who die guilty.
We understand and accept this to be true.
If the fact that innocent people could die does not dissuade us, facing the spectacle regularly might. Is it better to mask the morbid nature of capital punishment or unveil it to the light of day?
The state does not give us life, and nor should it have the power to take it away. Life in prison should suffice to punish our most violent offenders.
Just because we might be uncomfortable with punishments levied in public does not make them any more acceptable in private.
However, the point of exploring public execution is not to propose it in reality.
The prospect of public execution should be anathema to us such that there would be no executions at all. They should not become exhibitions at county fairs.
There is no inherent difference between a death penalty administered publicly or privately.
Avoiding public executions because they might become a spectacle speaks more to our depravity than the practice itself.