In a South Carolina prison sixty-six years ago, guards walked a 14-year-old boy, bible tucked under his arm, to the electric chair. At 5′ 1″ and 95 pounds, the straps didn’t fit, and an electrode was too big for his leg.
The switch was pulled and the adult sized death mask fell from George Stinney’s face. Tears streamed from his eyes. Witnesses recoiled in horror as they watched the youngest person executed in the United States in the past century die.
While we aren’t still executing 14 year-olds, we’re still executing prisoners, putting our nation in the company of a number of countries not noted for their respect for human rights, including China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Libya.
It seems to me that it’s time for our nation to revisit how we punish our prisoners, because it seems to me that there are plenty of alternatives to capital punishment (life imprisonment without parole/release comes to mind) that would provide punishment and justice.