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Answer about:

Electric Chair

Wed, 23 Sep 1998

From: "Ilham Bouchentouf" To: "Christina Albers"

Hi Christina,
I was delighted to read about the ethical case you were assigned.
According to me death penalty is an horror... and letting people taking it in picture is even worst.
On the other hand the issue that journalists were dealing with after this picture was taken - if I understood correctly what you explained to me in your message - was if it was ethical or not to show such a thing.
You made your position pretty clear about it... My feeling is not as clear cut as yours:
I do believe that it is awful to execute people that way...Specially when we know that justice sometimes can make mistakes.
With death penalty, if judges make a mistake and find out after the execution what are they going to do or say: hoops?!
Therefor I share your point of view against death penalty. Humans, even if they are judges, are not meant to take such an irreversible decision. It is God's "job".
But at the same time, if journalists doesn't report about it... We, the people, are not going to deal with it... As long as we are not personally touched. It is going to be ( as it is already) out of our minds until some brutal image makes us remember what our societies are able to do.
I do believe that journalists are after the big picture, either it's good or bad... But even if the motivations are finally making money I don't think that we can make them responsible for all the bad thinks that we see or
read... This business has became so lucrative because of our tastes: The question is why when a brutal image is in front page the sales increase?
I will be glad to have your opinion about the side we disagree on.
By the way, there is an article that was published last April about this issue: either or not the US states that still have this penalty should stop it. It was an interview with, among other people, a Judge from Texas.
Let me know if you are interested... It could be a good topic for your final project!