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Flogging

A part of the Bill of Rights, the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on 15 Dec 1791. It says, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” And on 5 Aug 1861, the US Army abolished flogging; the US Navy had abolished it 10 years earlier. For you non-floggers, flogging is when the person-to-be-punished is tied to a tree or ship’s mast or something similar and then is beaten with a rope (sometimes knotted) or leather whip (cat of 9-tails) or the like. So, since the Army did this for 70 years after the passage of the 8th Amendment, clearly flogging did not fall into the category of “cruel and unusual punishment.” Now-a-days, pouring some water up one’s nose (water-boarding) totally freaks some people out—they think it’s terrible. Maybe terrible (I’ve never been water-boarded) but not unconstitutional. A thought: maybe our prisons wouldn’t be so crowded if there was some unpleasant (but constitutional) punishment used there. And maybe our nation would be a bit safer if we could pour some (constitutionally correct) water up a few foreign terrorist noses (since when to foreigners not in the US have any of our rights anyway?).

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Further reading

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