Monday, November 05, 2007

Towards A Merciful Death

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court will be debating the merits of Baze v. Rees; specifically, whether the "three drug cocktail" used in about a dozen states to execute death row prisoners "adequately protects the condemned from undue pain and suffering". Under this regime, you get one drug (sodium pentothal) to knock you out, a muscle relaxant so you can't breath, and a third drug that stops your heart. Sometimes, though, the procedure is botched and the condemned prisoner dies howling, moaning, foaming at the mouth and etc. And even when they just lay there and it looks like they're falling asleep, this may be due to the paralytic effect of the muscle relaxant. The prisoner may in reality be suffering excruciating pain.

Sunday's New York Times has a wonderfully lurid backgrounder by Elizabeth Weil on this case and, more generally, America's hunt for a painless and non-messy method of killing off its death row inmates. In probably one of the best bits of writing I've come across in awhile, she argues that:

The history of capital punishment in the United States has been filled with a peripatetic search for a method of killing that doesn’t offend a blood-thirsty, yet tough-on-crime, yet squeamish public. Nooses, if the drop is too short, leave bodies twitching; if the drop is too long, heads pop off. Electric chairs result in horrible odors and burns. Firing squads are too violent. Gas chambers take too long and are too grotesque.

Considered logically, of course, the choice is obvious. The quickest and most painless way to extinguish the seat of human consciousness is to do like they do in zombie movies. Destroy the brain! This, incidentally, is why your supposed to stick a lobster head first into the pot. Unfortunately, the human brain takes much longer to reach a boil, but surely there are other methods that effect the same end. One I've thought alot about (but not yet attempted to patent) is to strap your condemned prisoner into a chair, jam a .12 gauge shell up each nostril, and start chopping up onions in the immediate vicinity. One sneeze and ker-fuckin'-blooey! They won't feel a thing.

This makes the coroner's job easy ("Death was instantaneous!" "No shit!!") but it is damned messy and hard on the delicate sensibilities of the witnesses who, given that they work in the U.S. prison system, probably have socialization or drug issues already.

But do less splatty versions of the same basic operation exist? Antiquity gives us the case of Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, the early Christian thinker best known for his Consolation of Philosophy. When the ancient Ostrogoth's decided to off Boethius, they stuck his head in a vise and turned the screws until his brains popped out. Surely, the turning action could mechanized and witnesses to the execution would know when the job was done when they heard that characteristic "popping" sound.

...or when the shrieking ceased. According to history, Boethius screamed like a girl while his big Turkish executioner applied the screws. Later, the Turk wept, and was permanently traumatized.

So maybe we're back to square.

Maybe the best bet is simply to lock them up in a small cell somewhere with a television that doesn't get cable, feed them decently, and tell them that there they shall remain for the span of their natural life. Takes longer, but the clean-up afterwards is quite a bit easier.

49 comments:

Reality Bites said...

They manage to euthanize animals quite humanely by simply using the fast-acting barbitute in a massive overdose.

Given the current compositionn of the Supreme Court, I doubt they will care about the condemned's suffering under the current method, while Thomas and Scalia will likely offer a stinging dissent lamenting the fact that a barbituate is used at all and that some prisoners may in fact be dying painlessly.

Ti-Guy said...

I still maintain that those who support the death penalty should be chosen, by lottery, to be the executioners.

The inherent conundrum here is that possibly, the most painless and quickest methods of execution are also the ones that offend the death-penalty supporter/barbarian's "delicate sensibilities;" the guillotine has always seemed to me to be the best method. When the righties start rounding the rest of us up in death camps, I hope they'll go with that method.

Mr Guillotene said...

I have always been partial to the firing squad.

British military style, 9 shooters 3 with blanks, 6 with lead.


Fast & cheap. The Cubans use the firing squad to do their clean up work

The Chinese arr even cheaper - just one shooter, one pistol & one bullet.

Must be careful to just blow out the brains. Those organs are worth a lot of money.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the "paralyzed but in excruciating pain" is the best of all possible choices!

Death camps are usually a SOCIALIST malady, ti-guy. Read some history instead of your porno comics.

Mushroom said...

If you reject the concept of "cruel and unusuable punishment", then might as well support the firing squad.

No guarantees it would be shot through the heart, because there is none.

They are trying to get volunteers for the Utah firing squad. I may offer to send Stockwell Day in as a potential candidate.

Ti-Guy said...

Anonymous hentai-addict said:

Death camps are usually a SOCIALIST malady, ti-guy. Read some history instead of your porno comics.

What history should I be reading, anony-tard? Michelle Malkin's A Case for Internment?

I think the the totalitarians/authoritarians are getting a little sensitive about allegations of pending death camps. Why is that, I wonder?

Oldschool said...

Anyone ever wonder about the victims of these convicted "murderers" . . . wonder how they died? Were they killed in a humane manner?
I am amazed how the "left" is always so concerned with the "criminal" and seems to not remember the "victim" or their families.
Of course this is another example of how they only think with their "emotions"!!!
We could administer "justice" just like your friend Chee did in Cuba . . . a firing squad.

All Heil Che . . . said...

"We could administer "justice" just like your friend Chee did in Cuba . . . a firing squad."


Actually Che personally preferred to blow out the brains of thousands of innocents using his Makarov 9mm pistol. That way he could look the victims in the eye, smell their fear, hear them breathing.

He enjoyed murdering thousands this way.

Che Guevera, hero to socialists everywhere.

Ti-Guy said...

I am amazed how the "left" is always so concerned with the "criminal" and seems to not remember the "victim" or their families.

Well, go out and kill the murderers then, Noschool. You know you wanna...

Or do you think you somehow have the right, on the behalf of people you don't know, to force me to allow the state to kill in my name?

I personally see a life wallowing in prison to be a fate worse than death.

Ti-Guy said...

Actually Che personally preferred to blow out the brains of thousands of innocents using his Makarov 9mm pistol. That way he could look the victims in the eye, smell their fear, hear them breathing.

You sound like you have an intimate understanding of what murdering would be like. Fantasise a lot about it, don't you?

Of course you do. Righties love murder for murder's sake alone. That's why they love the death penalty.

Gayle said...

"I am amazed how the "left" is always so concerned with the "criminal" and seems to not remember the "victim" or their families.

Of course this is another example of how they only think with their "emotions"!!!"

And you, of course, are thinking only rationally.

Ours is a system of JUSTICE, not retribution. Neither the victims nor their families get to determine the punishment.

The closest thing we have to that in our society are community conferences, which are based on restorative justice principles and Aboriginal Sentencing Circles.

Here the victims and their families are able to confront the offenders, and participate in making sentencing recommendations to the court (which the court may accept or reject).

Of course, incorporating these principles into our justice system was a liberal measure.

Another liberal measure was to permit victims and their families to give Victim Impact Statements in court during the sentencing phase.

These are measures that allow the victims to participate in the process, and from my experience, are much more meaningful than simply increasing sentences (which does nothing to repair the harm).

Reality Bites said...

ti-guy, my opinion is that if the death penalty is to be applied, in the cases of wrongful convictions the prosecutor, judge and jury all forfeit their lives - no trial, no appeal.

Your idea, while it has merit, has the problem that many supporters of capital punishment are quite obviously champing at the bit in their desire to kill without legal consequence. There'd be no need for a lottery. Volunteers would be plentiful.

Anonymous said...

Put a dozen in one room together. Last one alive gets Life instead. Let the murderers take care of it themselves.

Anonymous said...

Only Liberals wish to preserve the lives of murderers, rapists, and pedophiles, while promoting the deaths of over 100,000 unborn babies every year.

LIFE is a precious gift from God. If you choose to use yours for evil, then you don't deserve this precious gift.

Ti-Guy said...

Your idea, while it has merit, has the problem that many supporters of capital punishment are quite obviously champing at the bit in their desire to kill without legal consequence. There'd be no need for a lottery. Volunteers would be plentiful.

Yeah, but who'd want to have anything to do with them afterwards? Their families would disown them, no one would employ them, their neighbours would shun them...Frankly, it would be a whole new way of singling out the killers in our society.

Gosh, I'm liking my crazy suggestion even more now.

Ti-Guy said...

Only Liberals wish to preserve the lives of murderers, rapists, and pedophiles, while promoting the deaths of over 100,000 unborn babies every year.

So Godly. When you Christians talk like that, places like this become like a little chapel.

...rot in Hell, you lying, murder-loving Christo-freak.

dirk buchholz said...

I believe Capital punishment should be done in public for all to see.And the person(s) doing the execution should be one of the victim(s) of the person(s) who are being executed.Lets face it justice is between the victims and perpetrators.
Nothing like blood,shit,piss and in fact all the sights,sounds and smells associated with capital punishment, to remind the public what killing is all about.Watching some one being dragged to their death(at times kicking,screaming,sobbing and shitting themselves) would definitely do more ,in getting those people that support such barbarism to re-think capital punishment or the absurd notion the state has some supposed right to to take life.
Executing people "humanly" or clinically is pure hypocrisy.There is nothing human about capital punishment

Anonymous said...

I still maintain that those who oppose the death penalty should be chosen, by lottery, to house the murderer/rapist/pedophile when they're released from prison.

Anonymous said...

So the firing squad is violent - big deal. Stand him up behind a paper screen with a nice BullsEye in line with his chest. Firing squad doesn't see anything; to them it was just target practise.

Ti-Guy said...

I still maintain that those who oppose the death penalty should be chosen, by lottery, to house the murderer/rapist/pedophile when they're released from prison.

Sure. I'll agree to that.

...brilliant come-back, murder-loving anony-tard.

Must be one of KKKate's minions.

Ti-Guy said...

Conservatives find slim support for death penalty

The Conservative government found that just one in five Canadians supported the death penalty as a criminal deterrent in a survey it commissioned this summer in support of its justice policies.

Support for the death penalty was highest in Alberta, where almost one-third supported the idea of capital punishment, and lowest in Newfoundland with 17 per cent support. In Ontario, 21 per cent thought some convicted prisoners should be put to death, according to the poll of 4,005 people.


Highest support in Alberta and two out of three Albertans oppose the death penalty.

I don't how some wingnuts can marginalise themselves even further, but I'm sure they'll find a way.

Anonymous said...

"I believe Capital punishment should be done in public for all to see."

How about we do the same thing with abortion?

Reality Bites said...

I think the important question here is what the FUCK were they doing polling about this issue that was settled once and for all by a free vote under Mulroney 20 years ago, with the last execution almost half a century ago?

I guess this tells us just how much a Conservative free vote counts for, and how much Harper's word on the marriage issue is worth.

What absolute scum Harper and his gang of thugs are.

Ti-Guy said...

How about we do the same thing with abortion?

Fuck, the trolls are idiots.

Lobster? said...

Moron

Raging Ranter said...

Ti-Guy, why don't you shut the fuck up and quit poisoning every conversation you get involved in? Think you could do that? Go back to spewing hate on My Blahg if you must. Maybe you could compliment McClelland on his latest crayon graph in which he "proves" that high taxes are actually good for us. Just quit fouling the comment sections of blogs I actually enjoy reading.

This could have turned into an interesting discussion about the death penalty. At very least, it could have continued along the same lines as BCL's post, and resulted in some humourous exchanges about execution methods. Instead, we get to read your verbal incontinence in every second comment. I swear, your presence in any comment section is the Web equivalent of vandalism. Now fuck off and drink some methyl hydrate. Please.

Ti-Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ti-Guy said...

Still not getting laid, eh?

Stop drinking, Raging Panties. You're an ugly, hissy drunk.

Anonymous said...

My numbers are slightly off as my memory sucks, but something like 43 people have been murdered over the last 8 years by people previously convicted of murder and released. This was revealed by the Dept of Justice.

In other words, by NOT sentencing those 43 convicted murderers to death, 43 OTHER INNOCENT people were instead sentenced to death.

Does that sound like 'social justice' to you? When those being murdered are primarily poor and aborginal? Or is Canadian justice racist because it releases murderers knowing that they only people at risk are poor natives?

Maybe in order to show how compassionate we are, how much we value the lives of innocent, underpriveleged aboriginals in this country, we should begin eliminating the most serious threats to them.

Ti-Guy said...

My numbers are slightly off as my memory sucks, but something like 43 people have been murdered over the last 8 years by people previously convicted of murder and released. This was revealed by the Dept of Justice.

*sigh*...Link?

Anonymous said...

These are the rules of our society. If you don't like them, you can start your own society. It exists six feet underground.

Ti-Guy said...

These are the rules of our society.

The rules of our society are our laws. Commit murder, be charged, found guilty, go to jail.

If you don't like that, well that's just too bad. Scream some more...I'm sure that'll help.

Gayle said...

"My numbers are slightly off as my memory sucks, but something like 43 people have been murdered over the last 8 years by people previously convicted of murder and released. This was revealed by the Dept of Justice."

Umm, no.

I believe you are referring to stats released last year that showed how many people were currently at large in Canada in violation of their parole. The numbers released by the government dated back several decades, thereby giving the appearance the problem was greater than it actually was.

In fact, the actual recidivism rate for murderers who were released on parole is quite low - lower than the average of all recidivism rates (and sorry, I do not have a link because I had those stats given to me on paper and not through the internet - take them or leave them as you see fit).

In Alberta I can think of two murderers who re-offended in the past 30 years.

Raging Ranter said...

Ti-Guy said: Still not getting laid, eh?

Stop drinking, Raging Panties. You're an ugly, hissy drunk.


If by 'laid' you mean taken from behind by a fellow inmate, then you are correct, I'm still not getting "laid". In fact, my virginal ass will probably never experience the love of another man. And I rather prefer to keep it that way.

It stands to reason you prefer jail over the death penalty. More fresh meat for you that way. Break in any rookies lately?

Ti-Guy said...

It stands to reason you prefer jail over the death penalty. More fresh meat for you that way. Break in any rookies lately?

*snick*...You know, Flaming Panties..I often found, in the past, your lameness amusing, but now I just think you're a big old psycho who can't score.

You're also a drunk. Sober up, drop dead and fuck off, you Manitoba Moron.

Raging Ranter said...

You're also a drunk. Sober up, drop dead and fuck off, you Manitoba Moron.

You actually made me laugh with that last one. Still, I wish you'd just fuck off. Really. Just disappear. Take up knitting or something. Stay off the fucking Internet so the rest of us don't have to endure your mindless spittle. You abuse the English language in much the same way the other prisoners abuse your rectum. As horrible as that must be, you have no right to take it out those of us unfortunate enough to stumble across your putrid prose.

Despite my admitted amusement over your last post, it's seldom fun anymore. Poking the snarly little dog with a stick through the fence is only fun for a few minutes. After that, the little fucker starts to grate on you, and you just want him to shut up. Please go away.

Anonymous said...

Ti-Guy,

I know you must be devastated by Raging Ranter's remonstration and at a complete loss as to why you're being so harshly dealt with.

Raging Ranter is vehemently against free speech unless it's things that Ranging Ranter agrees with and Raging Ranter doesn't like salty language, and Raging Ranter would prefer that BCL be visited by intulechuls like hisself, and all others should just stay away.

Ti-Guy, I been wandering the Canadian blogs for years now and whenever I see your handle I know it's going to be good fun and lots of traffic. Tory heads exploding and vile outbursts such as Raging Ranter who's totally blown his cover. Poor simp.

will fudger
Sedum

Ti-Guy said...

Well, it's his lameness that I find..well, really boring. He bitched about this not being the discussion he wanted while seemingly completely unaware of the fact that he had added nothing to it to steer it in the direction he wanted.

I mean, it just doesn't get any dumber than that. And Flaming Panties should be close to 30 by now, if I'm not mistaken, so he strikes me as hideously poor-socialised.

Anonymous said...

Capital punishment saves lives, that's been proven. Murder rates go down when death-row prisoners are executed in a TIMELY fasion. Waiting 20 years for a death sentence has no impact on criminal mentality - they don't expect to live another 20 years anyway. But send them for a dirt nap in 1 year and the outside criminals take notice. Proven fact.

What empty rhetoric and ideological bs do you have to support your argument, without using the words 'progressive', 'social justice', or 'civilized'? None, I bet.

Anonymous said...

Capital punishment saves lives, that's been proven. Murder rates go down when death-row prisoners are executed in a TIMELY fasion. Waiting 20 years for a death sentence has no impact on criminal mentality - they don't expect to live another 20 years anyway. But send them for a dirt nap in 1 year and the outside criminals take notice. Proven fact..

Proven fact? What. A. Moron.

Wow...when you don't know what the hell you're talking about, lie.

Where's your data on that, wingnut?

Anonymous said...

"Towards a Merciful Death"?

I thought you were talking about the Liberal Party of Canada!

HA HA HA HA!!!!

Anonymous said...

ti-guy, don't you know what a Manitoba flag looks like? You make yourself look like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Good one . . . if ti-guy wants death penalty supporters to throw the switch, then he's gotta be on the list for doing abortions.

He probably get's squeamish looking at roadkill, or a steak not well done.

Anonymous said...

Since AMERICA allows abortions, then Canada SHOULDN'T allow abortions, according to Liberal anti-American ideology. Correct?

Man your liberal arguments are lame.

Anonymous said...

"Actually Che personally preferred to blow out the brains of thousands of innocents using his Makarov 9mm pistol. That way he could look the victims in the eye, smell their fear, hear them breathing.

You sound like you have an intimate understanding of what murdering would be like. Fantasise a lot about it, don't you?

Of course you do. Righties love murder for murder's sake alone. That's why they love the death penalty."

ti-guy, you have a knack for twisting the logic out of an entire sentence. Che was a communist. Not right wing, not extreme right wing, not a Red tory. A communist. Communism kills. If you'd stop admiring it so blindly you'd see that the greatest threat to any individual person is their own communist government. 100 million dead can't be wrong.

Ti-Guy said...

ti-guy, don't you know what a Manitoba flag looks like? You make yourself look like an idiot.

Raging Ranter is from Manitoba...I know that from his obsessive stalking of me.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that when we turn around use your own "argument" against you, you claim that we're being ridiculous.

You want DP supporters to throw the switch, then you should be prepared to be on hand during an abortion.


What you're saying is that you don't have any comprehension about why you oppose the DP, only that you do because of your ideological leftwing dogma. You think you're being compassionate by keeping a murderer alive, that somehow killing a dysfunctional member of society is barbaric, or that you're afraid we'll start killing people for jaywalking. In each instance, you grasp at a ridiculous premise and think that you're clever; you're not by half. Have you ever heard the pro-life side argue that the slippery slope of abortion will lead to post-birth abortions, or pre-teen abortions? Of course not, because we realize that a ridiculous example such as that doesn't help anything. However, that's the primary tool used by the left. Make up an absurd extreme example and try to make people argue for that instead.

So, I'll add some of my own examples for you.

Gun controllers only want police and military to have guns to better initiate the socialist police state they dream of.

Abortion supporters also want the right to abort the baby a few weeks after birth, in case it's too inconvenient, or the hair colour is wrong, or it's born female, or it interferes with momma's ability to attract other boyfriends into her bedroom.

Work those ones out, dipsticks.

Anonymous said...

That's an Ontario flag, ti-guy, and he's a FORMER Manitoba LIVING in Ontario, so he's an Ontarian. If you want to call him a Former Manitoban moron, that would be correct. So learn to use the English language properly. I'd have thought an English major like yourself would know better. But I guess Hentai doesn't really care about grammatical structure, does it?

bigcitylib said...

Anon 5:27,

How bout we just help out at a witch-burning?