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posted by n1 on Monday March 16 2015, @05:36PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the killing-me-softly dept.

Matt Ford writes in The Atlantic that thanks to a European Union embargo on the export of key drugs, and the refusal of major pharmaceutical companies to sell them the nation’s predominant method of execution is increasingly hard to perform. With lethal injection’s future uncertain, some states are turning to previously discarded methods. The Utah legislature just approved a bill to reintroduce firing squads for executions, Alabama’s House of Representatives voted to authorize the electric chair if new drugs couldn’t be found, and after last years botched injection, Oklahoma legislators are mulling the gas chamber.

The driving force behind the creation and abandonment of execution methods is the constant search for a humane means of taking a human life. Arizona, for example, abandoned hangings after a noose accidentally decapitated a condemned woman in 1930. Execution is prone to problems as witnesses routinely report that, when the switch is thrown, the condemned prisoner "cringes," "leaps," and "fights the straps with amazing strength." The hands turn red, then white, and the cords of the neck stand out like steel bands. The prisoner's limbs, fingers, toes, and face are severely contorted. The force of the electrical current is so powerful that the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out and "rest on [his] cheeks." The physical effects of the deadly hydrogen cyanide in the gas chamber are coma, seizures and cardiac arrest but the time lag has previously proved a problem. According to Ford one reason lethal injection enjoyed such tremendous popularity was that it strongly resembled a medical procedure, thereby projecting our preconceived notions about modern medicine—its competence, its efficacy, and its reliability—onto the capital-punishment system. "As states revert to earlier methods of execution—techniques once abandoned as backward and flawed—they run the risk that the death penalty itself will be seen in the same terms."

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  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:37PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:37PM (#158472)

    Take this shit elsewhere

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by physicsmajor on Monday March 16 2015, @05:44PM

    by physicsmajor (1471) on Monday March 16 2015, @05:44PM (#158474)

    This is a solved problem. The only reason we aren't using it right now is concerns that it was too gentle. Readily available and cheap, too.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by gallondr00nk on Monday March 16 2015, @06:38PM

      by gallondr00nk (392) on Monday March 16 2015, @06:38PM (#158506)

      Carbon Monoxide too. Or a lethal dose of heroin/opiates, which is supposed to be an extremely blissful way of kicking the bucket.

      Humane execution isn't the issue, there are methods of killing someone painlessly. The fault seems to lie with pig headed legislators who want to "make an example" and thus introduce their own barbarity into the equation.

      I can't imagine the logic of people who want to wilfully inflict further suffering to people who are already condemned to death. Kill them painlessly and move the fuck on.

      • (Score: 3, Flamebait) by VLM on Monday March 16 2015, @07:06PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 16 2015, @07:06PM (#158522)

        The fault seems to lie with pig headed legislators

        And the folks trying to get rid of the death penalty want it to be a horrific spectacle of torture, so we'll be sickened into banning the whole thing.

        You end up with both sides wanting some kind of horrific torture, for totally different reasons.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @07:26PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @07:26PM (#158534)

          And the folks trying to get rid of the death penalty want it to be a horrific spectacle of torture, so we'll be sickened into banning the whole thing.

          Are you listening to yourself? The people who want to get rid of the thing want to get rid of the thing.
          *I* want to get rid of the thing and I *don't* want it to be a horrific spectacle of torture. I am against that kind of shit.

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by NotSanguine on Tuesday March 17 2015, @02:25AM

            And the folks trying to get rid of the death penalty want it to be a horrific spectacle of torture, so we'll be sickened into banning the whole thing.

            Are you listening to yourself? The people who want to get rid of the thing want to get rid of the thing.
            *I* want to get rid of the thing and I *don't* want it to be a horrific spectacle of torture. I am against that kind of shit.

            I used to be of two minds about the death penalty. It is a fact that no convicted killer who has been sentenced to death and executed for their crime has ever killed anyone else.

            At the same time, if you wrongly convict someone and put them to death, you can't bring them back. Blackstone's Formulation [wikipedia.org] applies in spades here, IMHO.

            What is more, I can't speak for others but I think a lifetime spent mostly in an 8x10 cell, with every move regimented and controlled would be a much worse punishment than death.

            As such, I think that the death penalty should be abolished. I also don't think we should make a horrible spectacle of torture and death, either. Another murder, whether painless or agonizing (and the death penalty is murder -- state-sanctioned, but murder nonetheless) won't balance the scales of justice, and it make barbarians of those who engage in it.

            --
            No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 4, Informative) by Kromagv0 on Monday March 16 2015, @07:27PM

        by Kromagv0 (1825) on Monday March 16 2015, @07:27PM (#158535) Homepage

        Or a lethal dose of heroin/opiates, which is supposed to be an extremely blissful way of kicking the bucket.

        This does remind me of one of the things I learned when my grandfather was dying. When a nurse or doctor asks "More morphine won't help, should I give them more morphine?" they are trying to provide a method to end someone's suffering in the least painful way. Often it is illegal for a doctor to suggest ending a patients life so it needs to be done in a coded manner. My father and one of my aunts who work in the medical field explained this to the rest of the family. My father has made it clear that if my sister and I are faced with a similar question from a doctor about him the answer is to be yes.

        --
        T-Shirts and bumper stickers [zazzle.com] to offend someone
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday March 17 2015, @01:55AM

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @01:55AM (#158693)

        We could just wait. The condemned person will die. Problem solved.

      • (Score: 2) by mojo chan on Tuesday March 17 2015, @08:26AM

        by mojo chan (266) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @08:26AM (#158786)

        Gas is dangerous though. Remember that no doctor will participate in an execution, so it has to be carried out by "technicians" who are basically idiots. They can cope with throwing a switch but ask them to handle a gas chamber safely... Chances are more than just the intended victim will be dying.

        --
        const int one = 65536; (Silvermoon, Texture.cs)
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @07:32PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @07:32PM (#159026)

          Not all gas is dangerous. Nitrogen in itself isn't harmful, remember that the air you breath is ~78% Nitrogen. It only becomes dangerous by displacing too much of the Oxygen that we actually need to breath, therefore doing it safely is just a matter of the operator following procedure to ensure the Nitrogen asphyxiation system is only activated when only the condemned person in the execution chamber, and also ensuring there is no way the Nitrogen can leek into other areas at dangerously high levels, and that is a solvable engineering problem (you could simply do this by building the execution chamber as a single room building so if any gas leeks it will leek into the outside air where it will harmlessly dissipate).

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by zeigerpuppy on Tuesday March 17 2015, @12:58AM

      by zeigerpuppy (1298) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @12:58AM (#158669)

      The only unsolved problem may be why there's a perceived need to kill people in the first place...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @07:40PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @07:40PM (#159029)

        If someone is a proven danger to society and there is no hope of rehabilitating them then it is wasteful keeping them alive. Although I'm generally opposed to it as it is all too frequently misapplied.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19 2015, @09:00AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19 2015, @09:00AM (#159823)

          [..] it is wasteful keeping them alive

          Careful with that line of thinking: just one step more and you end applying the same reasoning to handicapped people, vagrants or even small minorities.

          A human life is a human life no matter how useful it is for you.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:46AM (#158720)

      Plug IV into suction. They'll be gone before you can say 'Bela Lugosi'.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:28AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:28AM (#158733)

      How to execute people in the 21st century? Answer: You don't.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:47PM (#158477)

    : doIts like the current methods have some sort why an overdose on anesthetics isn't sufficient
    Propofol
    Sevoflurane
    Etc
    its like the current methods are meant to be mean.
    If you are going to be mean then make it a pit fight against deathrow inmates, winner lives another year.
    What? Yeah that's fucked up. Let's go with propofol isoflurane in a freezer room.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @08:03AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @08:03AM (#158781)

      For one thing, you need to find something that the US has its own production of - not just for the executions, but for hospital use for the entire countries.

      That's what happened with the old injections. In Europe, capital punishment is considered a violation of the right to life, and medical companies supplying the drugs used will thus be considered complicit in the violation of human rights. Kinda almost like supporting Al Qaeda.

      When legislators start threatening fines and possible jail time, these companies stop all shipments for the US, and US hospitals are suddenly without these drugs.

      With the old drugs, it took years before the companies in question gave in, but don't expect it to take that long next time.

  • (Score: -1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:47PM (#158478)

    Can we have more articles about tech, and less about controversial topics and famous people just because they get a lot of clicks and comments?

    • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:52PM (#158482)

      Feel free to submit more articles Asnob

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:55PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:55PM (#158484)

      Yeah and there already was a story here about this did they remove the comments and change the publish date and try to pass it as a new story?

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by janrinok on Monday March 16 2015, @07:12PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 16 2015, @07:12PM (#158526) Journal
        Can you link to it please? This is a new story. The fact that the EU is refusing to export the drugs needed to enable the US to conduct executions is, indeed, old hat. However, that some states are now looking at reviving older methods which have themselves been classed as brutal or barbaric is quite a new story. And as some have already mentioned, there are existing (technical and/or scientific) methods that would meet the need but are not being used. Why?
        --
        It's always my fault...
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:59PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:59PM (#158487)

      i wasn't aware this site had to publish only tech stories...

      • (Score: 2) by looorg on Monday March 16 2015, @07:22PM

        by looorg (578) on Monday March 16 2015, @07:22PM (#158529)

        Think further. What if they invent some kind of execution machine ...

        • (Score: 4, Interesting) by fritsd on Monday March 16 2015, @09:59PM

          by fritsd (4586) on Monday March 16 2015, @09:59PM (#158596) Journal

          What? Like dr. Kevorkian [wikipedia.org] invented? The Kevorkian machine? I read it was not very appreciated..

          What a morbid subject btw.

          The State killing a person *is* brutal. Why not just use a guillotine, which has as side effects:

          - It's really quick, the condemned doesn't suffer long

          - His/her head is off, which can't easily be faked for witnesses and bystanders, so you're really really certain they're really dead.

          Or you could, you know, just stop sentencing people to death, like in the countries that signed the ECHR [wikipedia.org] from 1953, and the later amendment Protocol 13.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by Soybean on Monday March 16 2015, @06:21PM

      by Soybean (5020) on Monday March 16 2015, @06:21PM (#158503)

      Can we have more articles about tech,

      Come on, now!

      SoylentNews ... is people. Dead people!

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Monday March 16 2015, @11:00PM

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 16 2015, @11:00PM (#158622) Journal

        SoylentNews ... is people. Dead people!

        I see them.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday March 16 2015, @09:09PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Monday March 16 2015, @09:09PM (#158580)

      No.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:49PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:49PM (#158480)

    I'd like an edit button sometimes. Thumb over mousepad moves cursor. Guess I should have used the preview

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @05:56PM (#158486)

    the constant search for a humane means of taking a human life.

    If you think that there is are "humane means of taking a human life" then you are beyond help. That's a contradiction in terms, right there...

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday March 16 2015, @06:46PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday March 16 2015, @06:46PM (#158511) Journal

      If you think that there is are "humane means of taking a human life" then you are beyond help. That's a contradiction in terms, right there...

       
      Your confusion comes from intent. It doesn't need to actually be humane, it just needs to look like it.
       
      Beware though. If it looks too humane, like nitrogen, you also have a problem.

  • (Score: 2, Troll) by VLM on Monday March 16 2015, @06:01PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 16 2015, @06:01PM (#158488)

    Think outside the box:

    Haven't drone strikes recently been approved against our own citizens?

    At least for young black men, taking away any weapons and dropping them off in an area with a high concentration of police seems quite effective at getting them shot.

    Everything else in corporate america has been outsourced, even torture, so just ship them off to UAE or mexico or china or whatever and let them take care of it.

    Make sure not to screw up any DNA evidence, seems like most folks getting the death penalty in a court end up exonerated before they're dead, may as well keep research samples for later analysis. It seems moderately unusual to sentence someone to execution who actually did it.

    • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:35PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:35PM (#158504)

      -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
      Hash: SHA1

      You know, this is a very commercial idea, and it has been floated in some dystopian movies: US could let the death row criminals go free, give them 24 hours head start, and then execute them in a televised drone hunt, with footage from the drone's point of view. Better yet, they could have several drone hunters who compete with each other for kills, while sports fans are betting on the results. Instead of costing money, executions could be making money.

      ~Anonymous 0x9932FE2729B1D963
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:08PM (#158491)

    Why not use the gas chamber with H2S? Dihydrogen Monosulfide is quick acting and sure looks painless...

  • (Score: 2, Touché) by albert on Monday March 16 2015, @06:09PM

    by albert (276) on Monday March 16 2015, @06:09PM (#158492)

    The concept of "cruel and unusual" obviously is relative to the crime. A decade in prison is cruel for jaywalking. Unless we make that the standard punishment, it is also unusual.

    Recentish horrific crimes have included killing people by burning them in a house and killing somebody by burying them alive. Obviously, a decade in prison would not be cruel. As a matter of fact, nothing would be cruel in relation to these crimes. We can legitimately use crucifiction, stoning, the breaking wheel, burning at the stake, disemboweling, flaying, acid immersion, wood chippers, impalement, boiling oil, etc.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Monday March 16 2015, @06:46PM

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday March 16 2015, @06:46PM (#158512) Journal

      You can go to Hell. We're supposed to be better than the killer, that's the entire fucking POINT! I'm with the OP; nitrogen asphyxiation is the way to do this. The point of capital punishment is not revenge; it's to remove a dangerous, un-rehabilitable element from our midst. People like you make me sick.

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @07:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @07:07PM (#158524)

        When the founders wrote this they were thinking about things like this

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumbscrew_%28torture%29 [wikipedia.org]

        The bill of rights is about stripping our government the tools it used to bully its people. It is not about giving us rights. We already have them.

        They would use things like this to extract whatever confession they wanted. That is why your own confession can not be used against you in the case of torture. It is also why you have the right to remain silent.

        When executing someone there is no way to find out after the fact if it was cruel. Therefore about all we can do is make it quick.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by mhajicek on Monday March 16 2015, @09:13PM

        by mhajicek (51) on Monday March 16 2015, @09:13PM (#158581)

        I think the most humane way to kill someone, if you've decided you have to do it, would be a single large caliber hollowpoint to the back of the head. The subject wouldn't even be conscious long enough to register that they'd been shot. Sure it would be gruesome, but hey, you're killing someone. Man up to it.

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @11:28PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @11:28PM (#158637)

        You're worse than him. Going to Hell is really excessive for a SoylentNews post. That's the worst possible torture for all eternity.

        • (Score: 1) by Azuma Hazuki on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:00PM

          by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:00PM (#158893) Journal

          It's a figure of speech...though I was hoping the juxtaposition would make HIM think the same thing, and reflect on himself. As a Deist I don't believe in Hell the way the Abrahamic religions do, though based on experience I suspect we do judge ourselves and can make ourselves suffer horrible things for periods of time.

          --
          I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:04PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:04PM (#158897)

          But he said: "You can go to Hell." So he just told him about his ability to go there!

          • (Score: 1) by Azuma Hazuki on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:31PM

            by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:31PM (#158947) Journal

            I'm a woman, actually. I know I don't sound like it, with all the active voice and the swearing and whatnot, but nevertheless...

            Anyway, the point there was to say something even MORE unreasonable in the hopes that it would 1) shock him and 2) then make him do some self-reflection. As stated above, I do not believe Hell exists in the way the Christians and Muslims do; rather, it is largely self-inflicted and lasts as long as it needs to, be it hours to centuries or more, depending on what someone has done and how much pain they've caused. Something the would-be executioners may wish to think on.

            --
            I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:50PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:50PM (#158516)

      Brought to you by the Department of Injusti^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Revenge

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jmorris on Monday March 16 2015, @06:14PM

    by jmorris (4844) on Monday March 16 2015, @06:14PM (#158497)

    Really, who cares? Once we sentence somebody to death, just kill them and get it over with. If we are squeamish put em under first so the witnesses don't have to watch the condemned suffer. We have plenty of painless ways to bring on unconsciousness and after that the final end no longer matters much.

    All of these arguments are dishonest ones, the anti death penalty people have figured out that making their argument openly gets them nowhere, even in most otherwise 'blue' states so they fall back on these emotion based arguments to leave capital punishment legal but ban every possible method of carrying out the sentence and making the legal costs so high it isn't even attempted in any but the most notorious cases.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by GungnirSniper on Monday March 16 2015, @06:50PM

      by GungnirSniper (1671) on Monday March 16 2015, @06:50PM (#158514) Journal

      How long is it acceptable to abuse someone already condemned? What's the difference between your stance and say, stoning? Is two minutes of agony better than five? Or ten?

      Remember the methods used affect the inflictors, which is why executioners were traditionally drawn from the poorer classes.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by edIII on Monday March 16 2015, @08:12PM

        by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 16 2015, @08:12PM (#158554)

        Remember the methods used affect the inflictors, which is why executioners were traditionally drawn from the poorer classes.

        A very interesting point, not yet made by anyone else. IMO, all the more reason to choose something very peaceful like some of the ideas suggested. Michael Jackson's sleepy-time-juice was good enough for the King Of Pop, it might just do for the ax murderer as well. I would imagine that the easier the method; the lesser impact on the executioners.

        Don't forget, we also create methods of execution whereby it's not possible to know for certain that you delivered the execution yourself. All that exists was a probability that you executed a criminal, not a certainty. Nothing can remove one's involvement in such a horrific thing completely, but whatever can be done, should be done.

        Either that, or we accept that we will need to treat such people humanely for the rest of their lives and not bitch about those costs in our taxes.

        How long is it acceptable to abuse someone already condemned? What's the difference between your stance and say, stoning? Is two minutes of agony better than five? Or ten?

        This seems somewhat nonsensical, or unrelated to what was said by the OP. Other than the knowledge of certain and imminent death from the point of sentencing to actual execution, what other abuses exist other than the abuse of imprisonment? The facts of execution cannot be made hidden to a convicted person, so what you are suggesting seems straight out of Two Days In The Valley where the condemned get exactly 60 seconds. The abuse that may occur, is hardly abuse IMO. The condemned must be made to understand that they are going to die, and for what reasons. If they are completely incapable of understanding such a thing, then we really need to ask why we are still going through with it at all with a mentally challenged person.

        Unless you are talking about the actual method of execution itself, it's duration, the experience of the condemned, etc. You already made the point of what it does to us, and especially the executioners. As far as I am concerned, the idea of the condemned being put into a medically induced coma for the witnesses to the execution, and then removing the body for "final" execution is perfectly fine. At that point, even stoning doesn't matter anymore. Harsh words might actually be worse in a comatose state for all we know. Either way, the options for the final process are quite large. The condemned experiences nothing as far as know medically. Nothing else is actually required other than 100% nitrogen in a small chamber for 10 minutes or so. Straight from there to be cremated, or the body is returned to family for their burial customs.

        We can't get around the actual experience of the condemned including the knowledge of their death, and the actual drifting off to sleep with the knowledge that they will not wake up this time. Neither can we pull the "Chinese" method (really just what I heard, maybe not true), of the condemned not knowing the day, or even moment of the execution. Life like somewhat normal, just 100x times faster in terms of lifespan.

        For me, the point of removing freedom and putting someone in places like these is rehabilitation . Of which, we are nearly complete failures at in the US. If we feel so strongly that someone cannot be rehabilitated, or that or desires for revenge/justice are too great, the only option left is death. Australia was the last "option" we had, and it just ended up turning into a country. So if death is our choice, then it must be swift. Nothing more than a couple of days at most, as we are only wasting our time and money, and sanity.

        The only reason it cannot be "a couple of days at most", is the shocking truth that we simply don't have that level of confidence in our judicial system and chains of custody for evidence. Executing innocent people is simply intolerable, as they were innocent, and not even offered the route of rehabilitation. A man that has sodomized a small child has a better, or even certain, chance of leaving prison than an innocent man found guilty of shooting a store clerk at a 7-11. Since I'm not afforded any reasonable level of certainty that he did it, or sufficient for me to agree to death, the only options left is rehabilitation or life in a prison. Lifers should be kept separately.

        Finally, there *is* a racial problem with the death penalty, and far too many black men have been vindicated and released from death row. We simply don't have enough integrity, or an unblemished track record, to be playing around with something as serious and final as a death penalty for our citizens. This is why I support the notion of a death penalty, but wish that it is forbidden in practice till such time that we can properly reform the judicial system, and throw out all the trash and criminals in the LEOs. For those arguing for the victim's families, they only argue for revenge, hence the appeals to emotion. Justice does not exist when we execute somebody, as nothing is truly balanced or made right. Only the practicality that we made a real measurable increase in our state of security at the expense of a life.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by tftp on Monday March 16 2015, @10:12PM

          by tftp (806) on Monday March 16 2015, @10:12PM (#158603) Homepage

          Assuming that the convicted person is guilty:

          Either that, or we accept that we will need to treat such people humanely for the rest of their lives and not bitch about those costs in our taxes.

          What makes you think that a being who committed a horrible crime (to deserve death sentence) is a human? What is your criteria of being a human? Carrying human genes? Being equipped with human brain? Using the said brain to think like humans think?

          We do put animals down for a number of reasons; the most popular reason is that we want to eat them. This does not create opposition in the ranks of people who dislike death penalty. It means that they don't think cows are humans - even though an average cow is far better than an average serial killer. Perhaps the society should carefully define what a human is before it starts applying human standards to subjects that are on trial.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:35AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:35AM (#158735)

            What makes you think that a being who committed a horrible crime (to deserve death sentence) is a human?

            Ah, they must be extraterrestrial beings taking the form of humans, then. Thanks for clearing that up.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:12PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:12PM (#158903)

            What makes you think that a being who committed a horrible crime (to deserve death sentence) is a human?

            First, a correction: "… a being who is thought to have committed a horrible crime ..." After all, there's no court that cannot err.

            Second: What makes me think that being is a human? Well, that being certainly looks like a human, and unlike any other species. But when really in doubt, I think a DNA test should give a definitive answer.

        • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday March 16 2015, @11:04PM

          by bob_super (1357) on Monday March 16 2015, @11:04PM (#158623)

          > Don't forget, we also create methods of execution whereby it's not possible to know for certain that you delivered the execution yourself.
          > All that exists was a probability that you executed a criminal, not a certainty. Nothing can remove one's involvement in such a horrific thing
          > completely, but whatever can be done, should be done.

          Right, it's not like they had hundreds of applicants last time they talked about a firing squad...
          http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/06/09/utah.firing.squad/ [cnn.com]

          Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment [wikipedia.org]
          The state tells you to execute a Very Very Bad Monster, not a poor guys you just met. What are the odds?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:32AM (#158734)

      The legal costs are so high because it's necessary to at least make sure they are guilty before killing someone. Even then, innocents still die.

      Anyway, I make my arguments openly all the time. I oppose the death penalty 100%.

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:19PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:19PM (#158501)

    English Commander: I beg pardon, sire. Won't we hit our own troops?

    Longshanks: Yes... but we'll hit theirs as well. We have reserves. Attack.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:36PM (#158505)

    A box that crushes (e.g. fast moving garbage compactor).

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16 2015, @06:53PM (#158517)

      Perry the Platypus... how did you get in here?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @02:06AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @02:06AM (#158696)

        Rkrkrkrkrkrkrkrkrk!

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by RamiK on Monday March 16 2015, @07:06PM

    by RamiK (1813) on Monday March 16 2015, @07:06PM (#158523)

    The blood sacrifice of the unwanted and criminals in Ancient Greece was called Pharmakos while Pharmakon meant poison/drug (as in Pharmacology).

    One theory is that (while there is a slight pitch, vowel length and declination difference that would have helped making sure the words weren't mixed up by speakers) the connotation wasn't a coincident: The thought process behind scapegoating animals and people was that their sins have angered the Gods and have infected the community in the same way a poison infects the body. As such, the diseased and the criminals must be expelled without actually killing them since that will perpetuate the blood debt.

    Now, when natural disasters struck or when the curse have already spread beyond the original perpetrator to the entire community (physical contact with the corpse or just benefiting indirectly from the death could have been seen as enough by some), more radical steps were necessary. Some opted for the sacrifice of their children (oddly not as a last resort at times) but eventually (likely through the natural elimination of the devote ;) ) people turned towards sacrificing goats instead.

    This, of course, followed by a sense of guilt over the poor goat who had to suffer while doing no wrong. So, people started eulogizing the goats. A.k.a. Goat songs a.k.a. tragedies.

    --
    compiling...
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Ryuugami on Monday March 16 2015, @07:37PM

    by Ryuugami (2925) on Monday March 16 2015, @07:37PM (#158538)

    "As states revert to earlier methods of execution—techniques once abandoned as backward and flawed—they run the risk that the death penalty itself will be seen in the same terms."

    And we can't have something as noble and sacred as killing people seem backward and flawed, can we now?

    --
    If a shit storm's on the horizon, it's good to know far enough ahead you can at least bring along an umbrella. - D.Weber
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by looorg on Monday March 16 2015, @08:03PM

    by looorg (578) on Monday March 16 2015, @08:03PM (#158550)

    One export embargo from Europe shouldn't really stop justice. There should be a near endless amount of really toxic substances we can inject, ingest or absorb in some other fashion. A massive overdose of almost anything will end you.

    Alternatively one could go back to more simple solutions. One really shouldn't have to over-think or over-engineer something as simple as death -- KISS should apply even to this.

    * Hanging works and the science behind it seems quite solid and have been know for centuries, considering the amount of success vs botched hangings this seems like a viable option. If hangings botch it usually seems to come down to the hangman being an ass and an idiot and that he did something wrong.

    * Single gunshot to the brain stem (back of the head or neck) should result in catastrophic damage and instant death, probably somewhat messy.

    I doubt the US is ever going to run out of guns, bullets and rope so they should both work indefinitely.

    If one wants to get more technical and build a machine there is always the Guillotine. Developed to be humane, fast and effective. It is fast, nearly or as close to instant one can get. I would assume it's basically painless since death is instant and there would most likely be a massive systemic shock to the body. The drawback I guess is that it's somewhat messy as the blood blood gushes out of body. But if you build a modern machine perhaps there could be some kinda technical solution to that.

    If some state or government, for some unknown reason, wants to bring back the public spectacle of public executions I doubt you could go wrong with beheading or hanging. Not that I would personally like to witness it -- Being fine with capital punishment is not the same as I would want it to be viewed as some kinda of weekend afternoon entertainment.

    Regarding the witness reports of gruesome executions and botched attempts I just have to conclude that people, in general, these days are just not accustomed to viewing death. They are reading things into what they are seeing that are not really there, they see what they want to see and interpret it after what they believe is happening.

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday March 16 2015, @09:28PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday March 16 2015, @09:28PM (#158586) Journal

      The Guillotine while effective may not be remotely humane. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillotine#Living_heads [wikipedia.org] Who knows for sure though as you can't ask the criminal / victim anything after the fact. Decapitation is pretty final . . .

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
      • (Score: 3, Touché) by bob_super on Monday March 16 2015, @10:54PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Monday March 16 2015, @10:54PM (#158619)

        Then perform general anesthesia before you decapitate them. I'm pretty sure that if you can replace someone's heart without waking them up, you should be able to put them to sleep long enough to get their head chopped off.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by aristarchus on Monday March 16 2015, @11:17PM

          by aristarchus (2645) on Monday March 16 2015, @11:17PM (#158631) Journal

          Then perform general anesthesia before you decapitate them.

          "This is going to sting a little . . . "

          --
          Die Republikkkanische Partei isst die weissvolken partei.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:48AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17 2015, @03:48AM (#158722)

        I'm pretty sure that the point is to be final. It wouldn't be much of an execution if the victim is still around!

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Hartree on Monday March 16 2015, @08:29PM

    by Hartree (195) on Monday March 16 2015, @08:29PM (#158561)

    Or was it intentional that this be the next story after "Tim Cook Offered Part of Liver to Save Steve Jobs".

    ;)

  • (Score: 1) by MostCynical on Monday March 16 2015, @09:23PM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Monday March 16 2015, @09:23PM (#158584) Journal

    Once you accept State sanctioned killing, why be squeamish?
    Let the person choose!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLctf4o6feQ [youtube.com]

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Monday March 16 2015, @10:20PM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Monday March 16 2015, @10:20PM (#158608) Journal

    Don't.

    That was easy, next question please! Betteridge wins again.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mendax on Monday March 16 2015, @10:39PM

    by mendax (2840) on Monday March 16 2015, @10:39PM (#158614)

    In a nutshell, there should be no death penalty. If it is considered wrong for a person to kill another, what makes it morally justifiable for the state to do it? Does it have a higher morality? To quote Mahatma Gandhi, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Life in prison without parole seems more just. Ask someone who has been in prison about what life is like there and you'll find that it's a pretty awful life, especially in the high security pens. They're unpleasant and dangerous. It's no wonder they pass out psychotropic prescription drugs in these places like they're candy.

    --
    It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by stormwyrm on Tuesday March 17 2015, @01:47AM

      by stormwyrm (717) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 17 2015, @01:47AM (#158689) Journal

      The reason why I am against the death penalty is a bit simpler than that: it's irreversible. If later on you find that the fellow you just executed is actually innocent, there's no way to bring them back. On the other hand, if you've sentenced a person to prison and evidence later comes up that exonerates them you can still set them free and try to undo the mistake. The criminal justice system, run as it is by people, will never be completely perfect, and even if someone has been convicted beyond reasonable doubt that isn't always 100% certain. Capital punishment demands that level of certainty if you have a criminal justice system that is serious about its purpose. Better to sentence a hundred criminals to lighter sentences than they deserve than to execute one innocent person.

      --
      Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by mendax on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:57AM

        by mendax (2840) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @04:57AM (#158738)

        I agree with your reasoning as well. It is pretty much well established that many people have been executed in the United States who were later found to be factually innocent. But my point was if you want to punish someone, killing him rather than condemning them to a potentially long life in a very unpleasant and dangerous maximum security prison is not a better approach.

        --
        It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Eunuchswear on Tuesday March 17 2015, @10:47AM

          by Eunuchswear (525) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @10:47AM (#158810) Journal

          But my point was if you want to punish someone, killing him rather than condemning them to a potentially long life in a very unpleasant and dangerous maximum security prison is not a better approach.

          If your maximum security prison is "dangerous" then you're doing it wrong.

          --
          Watch this Heartland Institute video [youtube.com]
          • (Score: 2) by mendax on Tuesday March 17 2015, @07:42PM

            by mendax (2840) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @07:42PM (#159030)

            Dangerous only because of the dysfunctional, dangerous people in it. The problem with maximum security prisons is that officials cannot keep inmates locked in their cells indefinitely. They must be let out for exercise in the yard, meals, and library use occasionally. And then there is education, medical and psychological appointments, and so on. It's a fine balance.

            Supermax-type confinement should only be used be used on those where it's absolutely necessary. Having said that, prisons use that far too often.

            --
            It's really quite a simple choice: Life, Death, or Los Angeles.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Rich26189 on Tuesday March 17 2015, @01:53AM

    by Rich26189 (1377) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @01:53AM (#158692)

    Banishment (no, not to Australia) but some internal area or external island where there is just enough food and water to survive. There would be no communications with the outside world and no one visits, no one. No pardons, no reprieves if they are sent here it’s too late for that. They are dead to the outside world though the outside world has spared their lives.

    Some practical matters, the waters and air space around the island would be patrolled by the military but the use of deadly force is authorized for anyone trying to leave the island or enter illegally. All those convicted go to the same island. Aside from maybe an initial supply of food and water they may be given a knife (or gun with a single bullet) but no medicines; possibly a map and possible told the whereabouts of others on the island.

    Let them live there in peace, such as it will be, but never to return. They are banished from our society and must not benefit from our society. No communication. No one visits, no family, friends, lawyers or reporters.

    Cost? My guess, it would far less than the cost of all the high security prisons we have now.

    Yes, innocent people have been found guilty of crimes they didn’t commit but that it a problem with the judicial system and that’s a problem regardless of the crime.

    Let your criticisms roll.

    • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday March 17 2015, @02:44AM

      Banishment (no, not to Australia) but some internal area or external island where there is just enough food and water to survive. There would be no communications with the outside world and no one visits, no one. No pardons, no reprieves if they are sent here it’s too late for that. They are dead to the outside world though the outside world has spared their lives.

      This was explored [wikipedia.org] in fiction at least once.

      It's an interesting idea. The biggest issue with this (and there are many), is where to site such a place. Unless you're actually sentencing people to slow death, there has to be arable land and other resources which will allow these folks to survive. Where would you suggest?

      --
      No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Tuesday March 17 2015, @09:01AM

        by aristarchus (2645) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @09:01AM (#158796) Journal

        Where would you suggest?

        Not even a real question. Banishment, traditionally, is to the nether regions, some place no one would want to go to. Land of the barbarians, and whatnot. Fortuneately in America, we have solved this problem. All felons from places like Tejas and Wyoming are sent to places like California and Massacheseuts! What worse penatly for them, short of death? And criminals from California and Mass? Well, they will think better of breaking the law next time. If they survive and there is a next time> (You will notice there no mention of the "zimmerman" penalty: exile to Florida. We must stand our ground, there is a constitutional prohibition on cruel and unusual punishments, and Florida is certainly unusual. )

        --
        Die Republikkkanische Partei isst die weissvolken partei.
        • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday March 17 2015, @09:20PM

          That was my point. Assuming "banishment" isn't just a euphemism for a slow death by starvation or exposure, where are you going to banish folks to?

          There really isn't anywhere on earth that would fit the bill unless we forcibly relocate a whole bunch of people. Which isn't going to happen.

          As such, "banishment" is just a euphemism for a death sentence. But is it murder if it is the elements or starvation that claims the lives of others? In this case, yes.

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
  • (Score: 2) by gidds on Tuesday March 17 2015, @02:29PM

    by gidds (589) on Tuesday March 17 2015, @02:29PM (#158879)

    How is not the right question.  The question is why.

    And it has no answer.  Not in any humane society.

    (I'm not a US citizen, so I won't comment about that country directly.  It applies more widely than that, of course.)

    --
    [sig redacted]