A humane way to kill. It sounds like an oxymoron. How can killing be humane? We can certainly agree that being stoned to death, or drawn and quartered, or broken on the wheel is pretty inhumane; hanging, as well, can be considered wrong, or in constitutional terms, "cruel and unusual." Yet humans have done all these actions throughout history, trying to punish the guilty and deter the criminally inclined. We face a similar problem today, but things are a little different. We still need to administer the swift retribution of the law, but it must be accomplished humanely—no "long and painful" deaths rife with agonizing cries.

We have the lethal injection to solve this. It is clean, in a way; painless, in theory; and swift, in an abstract. Yet in reality, it is rarely any of these, and in every way, it is far from humane and necessary, swift and painless. In fact, it is quite imperfect.

Death penalty arguments are mostly about subjectivity: is it write or wrong. Do the rewards outweigh the risks? They are also about theory, and theory often fails to follow in practice. Various states administer various death penalties with various qualities—it is not a uniform procedure. Some have nine shots, others seven, others five. Often the guards are not trained in anesthesia—they are lawmen, not doctors. Therefore, mistakes and inequalities can, and will, arise. They have already. There are blowouts, spraying toxins across the room; and other mistakes. The procedure is slow, taking an hour or so, and complicated with pages of steps. The courts have successively declared lethal injection constitutional, ignoring the mental pain of impending death, of sterile walls, of jeers and smirks, or sobs and screams. It has taken new evidence to change some opinion: it is now both mentally and physically painful. Many experts argue that there is a measure of "awareness" during the procedure, the feeling of suffocation and burning while the convict is powerless to scream out—his heart and lungs ceasing with gripping pain. This is not acceptable

The legal aspect, as you have heard, precludes any swiftness to the procedure. It is impractical. The eleven-year waiting period, as lawyers and psychiatrists scuttle along with policemen to and from the prison, is abhorrent. It is also expensive, sometimes arriving at 75,000 dollars per day. This is not even counting the bureaucratic aspect. Furthermore, our courts, no matter how hard we try to reform them, will never be completely just or right. Statistics stated 2/3 of cases have egregious errors—unspoken information and poor representation. They are subjective and unfair in many cases. The rich will always be able to afford better lawyers, and people will not always make the right choice.

A juror has a human's life in his hand.

Confidentiality clauses and criminal law have played unjust roles in the past, and they will in future. Even if the correct criminal is captured, how can his sentenced be justly administered with the wheeling and dealing so common in our courts? How can twisting truths and negotiating loopholes be just? Sometimes, a jury is not even necessary, and a judge is the only figure. Imagine, your life dependent on the skill and clemency of others, sometimes only two or three others. A scary thought indeed.

There are people who say that life in prison is "soft." This is a lie. Awakened at the cold blasts of reveille in your dim, constricting cell after a half-sleepless night of worry and noise, you greet the day, unchanging from the day prior or to come. It is a grim, unyielding existence. The guards distrust you. Your fellow inmates distrust you. Sure there are nice examples of both, but they are the ones who suffer. The human condition decays, and early panic attacks are common. 311 prisoners serving life sentences in Italy petitioned their government in 2007 for the right to be executed. Life without parole is not soft, and these men will not get on the streets again. They are limited in freedom and well-watched, not exercising outside or watching television.

Yes, there are viable and powerful alternatives to capital punishment There can be retribution and punishment without the execution.

The death penalty debate is neither simple nor direct. Therefore, it must be remembered that capital punishment does not conclusively deter crime—statistics and claims argue both ways. There is also a wealth of variables. It does not conclusively punish every offender—and it certainly does not reform them. Serial killings and domestic murders, crimes of cruelty or passion, are not deterred, and they are often happy to die. Sometimes they are called suicides-homicide.

In many ways, the death penalty is just an act of revenge, which is not the government's duty. It is not conclusively just, but it is conclusively imperfect. And, with matters of life and death on the line; with possibilities of excruciating pain in mind; with issues of morality and justice, or reform and retribution at hand; we do not believe that utter imperfection is acceptable.We believe that there is no humane way to kill.