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The Student News Site of Westerville North High School

The Odyssey

The Student News Site of Westerville North High School

The Odyssey

The Student News Site of Westerville North High School

The Odyssey

Suicide and Bullying Prevention at North
Suicide and Bullying Prevention at North
Keller Hyde (Junior) and Alex Cardoza (Senior) April 15, 2024

Efforts to spread awareness about student violence and suicide prevention have been on an upward trend in recent years. Despite these steps,...

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Ohio House Bill Restricts Transgender Athletes in Sports
Ohio House Bill Restricts Transgender Athletes in Sports
Theodore Garrett (Senior) April 9, 2024

During the 2022-2023 school year six transgender girls played in Ohio highschool sports; one of them is a tennis player who completed her senior...

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Why are students frustrated with High School counselors?! | RAW student interviews S2 E6
Lia Webb (Senior) April 9, 2024

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Suicide and Bullying Prevention at North
Suicide and Bullying Prevention at North
Keller Hyde (Junior) and Alex Cardoza (Senior) April 15, 2024

Efforts to spread awareness about student violence and suicide prevention have been on an upward trend in recent years. Despite these steps,...

Continue Reading
Ohio House Bill Restricts Transgender Athletes in Sports
Ohio House Bill Restricts Transgender Athletes in Sports
Theodore Garrett (Senior) April 9, 2024

During the 2022-2023 school year six transgender girls played in Ohio highschool sports; one of them is a tennis player who completed her senior...

Continue Reading
Why are students frustrated with High School counselors?! | RAW student interviews S2 E6
Lia Webb (Senior) April 9, 2024

Continue Reading

Public objects to new method of execution

The first recorded execution by nitrogen hypoxia in Alabama has caused public outrage.
This+is+Kenneth+Eugene+Smith%E2%80%99s+Mugshot+%28undated%29.+Smith+was+the+first+person+executed+with+nitrogen+gas.
Alabama Department of Corrections
This is Kenneth Eugene Smith’s Mugshot (undated). Smith was the first person executed with nitrogen gas.

On the night of Jan. 25, 2024, Kenneth Smith was executed via nitrogen gas hypoxia. Smith was convicted of the murder of Elizabeth Sennett in 1988 and sentenced to death, however, in 2022 Smith survived an attempted execution by lethal injection, prompting the Alabama Department of Corrections to reissue Smith’s death warrant, this time via nitrogen hypoxia.

This execution is so notable due to this being the first recorded instance of nitrogen hypoxia as an execution method within the United States. While in theory, this execution method is painless and significantly simpler, typically resulting in no pain and unconsciousness after only a few breaths, public concern remains high despite these recorded benefits.

As Smith’s execution took place, some witnesses reported that Smith looked conscious and others even stated that he appeared to thrash around on the gurney. John Q. Hamm, the Commissioner of Corrections in Alabama, stated that the convulsions were involuntary movements and that Smith attempted to hold his breath, resulting in an adverse response. Despite the public outcry, the United States Supreme Court declined to take action against Alabama’s use of nitrogen gas in a 6-3 decision, with Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson dissenting.

Due to these accounts and the infancy of the method, the public is far from pleased with this new method of execution, with several groups, including the United Nations condemning the execution. Ashton Lehman (2025), a student at Westerville North voiced their perspective on the situation. “There’s something so [in]humane about doing [an execution] in what is supposedly such a humane way,” Lehman said. “This method of execution is unfortunately [preferable], but I don’t advocate for it.”

Capital punishment is already a contentious topic within the United States which clearly serves to bolster the public outrage further. As it stands, Alabama will continue to employ nitrogen gas hypoxia as an execution method, alongside Oklahoma and Mississippi. 

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About the Contributor
I’m Keller Hyde, a junior at North. I run cross-country and snowboard with the school, and I am also a big music fan and play guitar, bass, and piano. This is my first year with the Odyssey, but I’m looking forward to it!

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