In Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, there was one particular scene that to this day still haunts me. In the scene, the final of the spirits that guide Scrooge on his journey, takes him to a freshly dug grave with the inscription “Ebenezer Scrooge”. I remember how horrified I was at the thought of seeing my own grave, and how terrified I was of the date that would be engraved bellow my name.

In life, not knowing how long you have left forces you to make the most of every day, month and year you have on this Earth. It motivates us to take a holiday, pursue a dream, or do something daring. But imagine living every day having ticking clock counting down to your death.

I’m not going to delve into who should and should not die. In truth I find it hard to argue that a serial killer should only receive a life sentence and I find it unfair that taxpayers’ money should be spent on housing rapists and pedophiles. But as a pacifist, I simply don’t believe in killing under any circumstances and I appreciate many of you will disagree.

What I want to ask you is this;

Can you imagine waking up every day with the knowledge of how many days till you die?

I wonder what that might do to a person.

In my home state of Virginia, there are nine inmates currently sentenced to death (at the time of writing). Four of whom currently reside at Virginia Correctional Center. The approximate dates of their execution range from 6 months to 2 years. The most likely death they will receive is the lethal injection. This involves injecting various chemicals in the body which will make the inmate fall unconscious, stop breathing and finally have a heart arrhythmia. It’s intended as a humane way of ending a life, and is mostly effective.

The chemicals used are Barbiturate, Paralytic and Potassium Solution (don’t worry, I won’t remember that either). But these drugs are important as they are appearing to be an increasing problem for correctional centers across the USA. In 2017, Washington Post reported that Arkansas found their drugs were edging closer to the expiration date, as a result they moved the dates for seven of their inmates to an 11 day period, and subsequently executed them before the drugs were no longer usable.

So why did this happen? I’ll elaborate. Less and less people are maintaining support of the death penalty. In 2008 ninety-five percent of all known executions were carried out in only six countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Pakistan and Iraq.

The result is that it becomes harder and harder to maintain a steady supply of each chemical needed for executions. And in the case of Arkansas, rather than delay, they chose to speed up the process.

Now let’s return to my nightmares over A Christmas Carol. Imagine again for me that you know the exact date you’re going to die. Now imagine that date vanished, and a new one took its place. One much, much sooner. Imagine how that may feel. Especially if you believe you have a shot at rehabilitation or that you didn’t get a fair trial or, heaven forbid, that you’re innocent. I retain the belief I made clear when I started this blog, I don’t believe anyone should be punished by death. I’m aware I can’t begin to take the position of an expert in the matter, so would rather urge you to conduct your own research and draw your own conclusion on where you stand.