A Commentary Report: The First Electrocution
THE CONTROVERSY over capital punishment that has developed in recent years generally takes place within a framework of moral principles and statistics. Such matters as whether the punishment should be made to fit the crime, whether society has the right to protect itself by taking the life of a convicted murderer, kidnapper, or rapist, or whether capital punishment, in fact, deters these crimes, have pretty much determined the substance of the controversy. In turn, this controversy has given capital punishment a lively but rather abstract reality, particularly since the act itself now takes place off in a dark and isolated corner of society. Except for a brief item in newspaper back pages the act itself is virtually hidden from public view. Thus a graphic depiction of a modem-day execution like the one in the movie I Want to Live could come as a shocking revelation to most of its audience.
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