Sidney Moss: Need to abolish capital punishment in the U.S.

The U.S. House of Representatives and Capitol Dome on May 28, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. House of Representatives and Capitol Dome on May 28, 2023, in Washington, D.C. AP PHOTO/ANNA ROSE LAYDEN

Published: 02-09-2024 8:56 PM

Bill Newman makes compelling points in his recent column “The illusion of kinder, gentler executions” [Gazette, Feb. 3]. When he describes the various ways that executions are conducted as purportedly legitimate ways of killing people, ranging from hanging, lethal injection, firing squads, and now nitrogen hypoxia, all of these are clearly torture with those being killed experiencing suffering no matter the mode of punishment.

There's also an important psychological dimension to capital punishment. The uncertainty and potential delay involved in waiting to die, when prisoners anticipate a painful death that may even be botched, can be seen as yet another devastating form of torture. Capital punishment precludes even the possibility of rehabilitation and potential freedom for those receiving this sentence and guarantees that they are prisoners until death. Why shut the door on them forever?

People can and do change. Although capital punishment has been abolished in Massachusetts by our state courts decades ago, I feel that we need to eliminate capital punishment throughout the country. There are more just ways to deal with people who have committed crimes. Killing people is not the right way to punish them. I urge our representatives in Congress to make outlawing capital punishment in the whole country a vital priority.

Sidney Moss


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