Death and “The Green Mile”

Anna - Brookline, Massachusetts
Entered on September 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Imagine a man being shocked to death. Strapped to a chair with a mask over his face. A wet sponge on top of his newly shaved head, so the electricity can travel directly to his brain. Surrounded by the people who hate him for what he did, and want to see him suffer during his last minutes of life. As the electricity travels through him into his brain he screams, screams for G-d to save him from the agony he is going through. Before long, the man is dead.

I used to believe that the death penalty was okay. If someone commits a terrible crime, I thought they deserved to be punished; even if that punishment meant someone losing their life. If someone killed my best friend, I would want them dead. I would want them to suffer as much as my friend did, if not more. Then again, I never thought about the death penalty that much. Sometimes my friend would bring it up in a conversation. She would ask me how I felt about it and I would say that I somewhat support it. Then I saw “The Green Mile.”

My friend had mentioned this movie before. She said “The Green Mile” was her new favorite movie and I had to see it. All I knew about the movie was that it was about the death penalty and Tom Hanks starred in it. It was the only movie that ever made her cry.

“The Green Mile” is the best movie I have ever seen. I was literally weeping by the time it was over. It showed me how wrong I was about the death penalty. The part of the movie that made me change my opinion was the scene where John Coffey died. He was a very sweet man with a miraculous gift – the power of healing. He could cure the most serious brain tumor with the slightest touch. He was to be put to death for the murder of two young girls. Although he was found to be innocent, there was no stay of execution. He was strapped to the electric chair and killed for something he didn’t do.

This movie made me realize how unnecessary the death penalty is. If the death penalty didn’t exist, there would always be time to gather more evidence that could prove the prisoner innocent. An example of this is the Jon Benet Ramsey case. A man stated that he was the killer of the young girl and was sentenced to death. A couple years later, new DNA evidence proved that he couldn’t have been the killer. Luckily he was taken off death row.

Today rather than using the electric chair, lethal injections are used for the death penalty. Although it may seem faster and less cruel, there could be times where this is not the case. Depending on the body type, it could take a lot longer for the injection to take effect, leaving the prisoner to suffer a long and painful death. In the U.S. today only 12 of the 50 states have abolished the death penalty. Because of “The Green Mile” one of my goals is to convince the people of America that the death penalty should be eradicated from all 50 states.