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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: 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.

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  • (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