By Mary E. Williams

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Only seconds of consciousness remain. You inhale the deadly fumes. You become giddy. You strain against the straps as the blackness closes in. You exhale, inhale again. Your head aches. There’s a pain in your chest. But the ache, the pain is nothing. You’re hardly aware of it. You’re slipping into unconsciousness. You’re dying. Your head jerks back. Only for an awful instant do you float free. Your brain has been denied oxygen. Your body fights a losing ten-minute battle against death. You’ve stopped breathing.

5:38–48). Fighting violence with violence does not achieve a useful purpose in society. Nor does it allow us to foster an ethic of respect of life that moves beyond vengeance in order to deal with violence in a more effective way. To take a human life, even that of someone who is guilty, is awesome and tragic. It seems to us that in our culture today there are not sufficient reasons to justify the state to exercise its right in the matter of capital punishment. There are other, more effective ways of protecting the interests of society.

Up rise the deadly fumes. The cell is filled with the odor of bitter almond and peach blossoms. It’s a sickening-sweet smell. Only seconds of consciousness remain. You inhale the deadly fumes. You become giddy. You strain against the straps as the blackness closes in. You exhale, inhale again. Your head aches. There’s a pain in your chest. But the ache, the pain is nothing. You’re hardly aware of it. You’re slipping into unconsciousness. You’re dying. Your head jerks back. Only for an awful instant do you float free.

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