Historically capital punishment was frequently very cruel such as the breaking wheel, flaying, disembowelment, crucifixion, impalement, crushing, stoning, burning, dismemberment, sawing, etc. It was designed to create fear in the public so citizens would not commit serious capital crimes. Severe punishment was seen as a guaranteed deterrent against serious crime.
Historically you were punished for behaving badly or criminally with violence which was designed to create pain, suffering, or humiliation in the offender. Spare the rod and spoil the child was the accepted philosophy and practice by most parents.
Today cruel and unusual punishment is forbidden but there are still cruel humans who delight in causing pain, suffering, and humiliation in others. Concentration camps and genocide in some African countries which is relatively recent is proof that full blown human cruelty can surface at any moment if we are not vigilant against such atrocities.
A cruel boss may humiliate you by name calling using words such as stupid, crazy, fool, and incompetent. He can make you work many hours overtime without overtime pay and make you do unpleasant tasks such as cleaning the floors, windows, taking out the garbage, and mowing the lawn. Suffering by working very long hours and being humiliated may not be very painful but it can be psychologically devastating and cause much mental stress.
Cruel physically abusive spouses may physically abuse even their offspring and humiliate with profanities and name calling. Most choose not to live with cruelty and wind up eventually divorcing.
Sometimes pets are abused mostly through neglect or not feeding them and this is considered cruel behavior. Some pets are even beaten physically and are traumatized for life and no longer make nice loving pets for new owners. Many substandard zoos can also be considered cruel and unusual punishment for wildlife.
Human offspring are programmed genetically with the potential to be violent, aggressive predators and are basically vengeful creatures with an eye for an eye tendencies. Human society is constantly struggling to eliminate as much of this cruel behavior as possible but our prisons are still places with an abundance of cruel humans who even enjoy causing pain, suffering, and humiliation.
Cruelty: n. willfully causing pain and/or suffering and/or humiliation in an animal(s) and/or seeing the pain and/or suffering and/or humiliation of an animal(s) and sensing pleasure
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