The death penalty in America is a hotly debated topic. No matter which side a person falls, the great state of Texas seems to fit firmly in the “for” column.
This is evidenced by the Texas Prison Museum that has on display, among other prison artifacts, an electric chair, lovingly named “Old Sparky.” The issue isn’t the death penalty, putting execution on display is what should offend Americans.
Thousands of people currently sit on death row, awaiting execution in U.S. prisons. While many of these people are criminals and should be imprisoned, many people currently being held are innocent.
This has been proved in past years; between 1973 and 2002, 102 inmates scheduled for execution, were exonerated. Subsequently, between 1977 and 2002, 710 people were executed. Putting the two numbers together, that means that 1 out 7 people waiting on death row could be innocent. Those odds are not good.
This museum also adds insult to injury to the inmates’ families. To celebrate the method used to kill a member of one’s family is unbelievably cruel. It is comparable to terrorists displaying replicas of the bombs used to take down the World Trade Center. Things like death should not be celebrated; if there is a lesson to be learned, people should learn it and move on.
Texans are notorious for championing gun rights and the death penalty. While the Texas Prison Museum’s mission is to “preserve and showcase the history and culture of the Texas prison system and educate the people of Texas and of the world,” the museum really glorifies death and killing.
It seems to be a way for Texans to gloat and say to the world, “Look what we can do.”
They even go so far as to name their electric chair. It’s not a pet, and it shouldn’t be treated as one. It should be treated with caution and respect, as a dangerous weapon should.