Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Letter To Senator Lugar

Josh Burgan
706 Jennison St.
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
January 22, 2008

Senator Richard Lugar
10 West Market St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Senator Lugar,

On January 7, 2008, the Human Rights Watch reported that the United States Supreme Court heard arguments pertaining to the Constitutionality of lethal injection. The premise of the hearing centered on the state of Kentucky, but its effects will be felt much further if the ruling is passed. The arguments claimed that the death penalty is “unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.” The trial Baze v. Rees suggests that, “Prisoners may suffer horribly before death because executioners use a bizarre three-drug protocol concocted 30 years ago.” This relates back to Indiana because National Public Radio (NPR) reports that 36 of the 37 states that use lethal injection inject the prisoners with the same lethal, three drug serum, consisting of sodium thiopental, pancuronium, and potassium chloride, administered in Kentucky. Indiana is one of those states, making this a pertinent issue.

I am writing this letter to suggest action that should be taken towards the recent developments in the lethal injection case Baze v. Rees. As a representative of a state that supports the death penalty, you should do your best to make sure that criminals are rightfully punished even if that means punishable by death. Abolishing the death penalty should not be considered as one of the options in this case. In today’s society, crime is committed on a regular basis. The death penalty is part of the legal system and is in place to punish those who commit unthinkable and hideous acts of crime. Criminals who commit such crimes should not be given the luxury of living in state prisons that are paid for by hard-working, tax paying citizens, who are strengthening society rather than weakening it. Lethal injection and the death penalty should be a priority of yours especially since you are representing a state that supports these acts.

Though I support the death penalty and lethal injection, I do believe that the criminals should be killed painlessly. No one deserves to die in pain. Certainly there are those who believe that criminals on death row deserve to suffer because they caused many others to suffer. However, it is not the place of our government or our state to inflict pain and infringe on human rights. But it is of utmost importance that we follow the law and if we remain a society that allows for criminals who commit heinous crimes to be punished with death, then we must give them a peaceful death. Therefore, I propose that the state of Indiana be the leader in either finding new procedures or injections that do not cause the criminal to die in pain, or identify and administer the correct amount of each of the current drugs. Our state should also be a leader in ensuring that the people administering these drugs are highly educated and trained. The injections must be done precisely; otherwise, they can lead to severe pain before the criminal is deceased. Being a state that supports lethal injection, we should strive to enforce our punishment in a lawful and humane manner.

I would like to sincerely thank you for your time. It is my hope that this letter reinforces our duty, as a state that supports the death penalty, to administer the penalty of death without pain to the criminal. It is the state’s job to enforce the law, but also to maintain a society that is as humane as possible.

Again thank you for your time,
Josh Burgan
Wabash College 2009

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