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posted by n1 on Monday March 16 2015, @05:36PM   Printer-friendly
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: 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.

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  • (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