Monday, February 16, 2015

That Word You Keep Using...

I do not think it means what you think it means...

This, quite simply, is idiotic (the headline, not the actual story)...

Utah May Bring Back the Most Inhumane Capital Punishment Ever
The United States has more than 3,000 people on death row and a federal government that's increasingly uncomfortable with the unreliability of lethal injection as a method of capital punishment.

Utah's solution? Bring back the firing squad.
The FIRING SQUAD is the "most inhumane capital punishment ever"? Really? I would wager a whole bunch of crucified Christians would disagree. Or the folks impaled in Eastern Europe. Or, if you want more recent, how about the gay men thrown off buildings in Syria?

The problem is, with such a wide-open title, and no clarification like "modern" or "American", he makes a mockery of the article with the title. There have been plenty of worse methods of execution: drawing and quartering, the iron maiden, stoning; the list of gruesome ways that man has used to kill his fellow man - even in an official capacity - is long, and quite frankly drilling five .30-caliber projectiles through someone doesn't even crack the top 20.

 Now, if you want to argue that it's the most inhumane punishment used in the US, that's a (slightly) different story. There's been a fair amount of concern over the lethal injection cocktail; the electric chair is pretty damned gruesome; and while hanging is pretty effective if done right - it's not always done right.

It's also a road you don't want to go down, bunky. You know what's one of the most effective methods? Guillotine. Separating the head from the body is 100% effective and damn near instantaneous. It also happens to be rather messy, unphotogenic, and brings with it the baggage of decapitation.

We often confuse "bloodless" with "painless" or "humane" and it often ain't so...

That is all.

27 comments:

greg said...

And I'm willing to be that the state can probably come up with a list of volunteers willing to provide their own guns and ammo if it will clear up the log-jam and actually get the justice moving.

Angus McThag said...

Being the morbid sort I am...

Electrocution LOOKS gruesome to the witnesses. From a couple of retired line workers I know, being electrocuted isn't painful until you survive it.

The gas chamber is another effective method that freaks the witnesses right the heck out.

Lethal injection, while it looks peaceful, might be the most tortuous we've ever applied to convicts, it's just the initial muscle relaxer keeps the condemned from responding to the agony of the other two drugs in the cocktail.

I have a modest proposal. IV Heroin. It's effective, nearly free from seizure and not painful at all. Just keep dripping it in until their heart stops.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

I'm with Angus (though I favour morphine). A narcotic overdose is painless and peaceful - the condemned just goes to sleep and eventually stops breathing. It's most likely cheaper than the cocktail they use now, and it's much harder to screw up.

Of course, I have very little trust remaining in the .gov's ability to execute the right person, but that's a whole other issue.

Anonymous said...

I'll take a firing squad of NYPD street officers. 50/50 they never hit me.

Gerry

Bubblehead Les. said...

From what I read in the Constitution, Capital Punishment is Legal so long as it is Not "Cruel AND Unusual."

So, if you want to set up the Guillotine, just so long as you run the 3,000 on Death Row through it so as not to be "Unusual..."

3boxesofbs said...

Genghis Khan was rumored to have poured molten gold or silver down the throat of his captives.

Look up the execution method known as 'drawn and quartered' -


Sorry firing squad doesn't even come close to 'most" anything.

Bob S.

Heath J said...

Technically, A firing squad IS a lethal injection..

libertyman said...

Not sure what veterinarians use to euthanize animals, but why not use that stuff?

Give anesthesia just like they do for an operation, then get the stuff vets use.

Glad to help.

Matt W said...

"We often confuse 'bloodless' with 'painless' or "humane" and it often ain't so..."

So true, yet I think what they mean to say is that it is the most "inhumane" for the people that witness it or have to hear about it. The other guy is ultimately dead, after all. They care much more about their fragile sensibilities than the criminal who gets put down.

ProudHillbilly said...

I've been saying for some time that if you have the death penalty then the guillotine is the quickest and most humane way to go. And it has the advantage of a horror quotiant that might discourage some from activities that it is the penalty for IF it is actually applied.

That said, it would be hard on those who carry it out. As is hanging on the occasion where the head is ripped of.

ProudHillbilly said...

I've been saying for some time that if you have the death penalty then the guillotine is the quickest and most humane way to go. And it has the advantage of a horror quotiant that might discourage some from activities that it is the penalty for IF it is actually applied.

That said, it would be hard on those who carry it out. As is hanging on the occasion where the head is ripped of.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"So true, yet I think what they mean to say is that it is the most "inhumane" for the people that witness it or have to hear about it."

I always figured that it was more humane to the witnesses and the executioners to just do it and be done with it than the extended, drawn out, ritualistic methods we usually use for .gov-sanctioned executions.

Stingray said...

I don't know why they keep shooting down my proposal for "Give the victim's family a ball-peen hammer and lock the door for 20 minutes."

Stretch said...

While a Deputy with the Richmond City (VA) Sheriff's Dept. I worked in the jail. Executions were performed across town at the State Penitentiary. Old Sparky (every electric chair seems to be called "Old Sparky") was still in use.
The inmates were unusually quiet the nights of an execution. I'm not sure a firing squad would evoke the same dread as Old Sparky as many inmates had been shot.

Cargosquid said...

Gas replacement.

Gas mask.
Nitrogen.
30 minutes.


Same principle as what happens when you enter a sealed space that lacks oxygen.
You pass out suddenly and die.
No pain.

Old NFO said...

I agree with PH... They ARE deterrents... Shooting is damn quick. TOO quick in some cases, in my opinion.

Will said...

You miss one of the interesting points of the guillotine. The brain still functions, along with the eyes and ears, until lack of oxy shuts it down. Maybe 10 seconds?

PJS said...

Not to mention being beheaded with a knife. But who really does that nowadays? ;)

Anonymous said...

I nominate "the boats".

Anonymous said...

If a firing squad is so darned cruel, does that mean that any murder with a gun should be classified as a heinous murder with special circumstances? I'd like to see a DA charging all the thugs with that, and make the ACLU types backtrack and argue that no really, being shot to death isn't cruel.

Then again, I've never seen or heard any modern liberal that could be logically consistent.

Ted said...

I doubt the brain functions after being separated due to guillotine. The instant lost of blood pressure and rapid loss of blood would shutdown any brain activity pretty rapidly.

Anonymous said...

Most inhumane method ever?

I thought maybe they were bringing back the oubliette.

Or burying them neck deep in a fire ant hill.

Although Stingray's idea has a certain charm to it.

Joseph in IL

lelnet said...

Yeah, I'd argue that it's not merely not the _most_ inhumane method _ever_, it's _more_ humane than any method we presently use.

Indeed, on the pain scale, it ranks better than quite a few of the things that ordinary _non-criminals_ commonly die of.

Tirno said...

I think cargosquid's onto something, but I'd make it a surprise.

First, I'd have the entire death row rebuilt as a set of single occupancy cells with a pair of airtight doors on opposite sides and a silently switchable air handling system. I'd build into the ceiling a microphone sensitive enough to hear respiration and heartbeat inside the cell.

The condemned enter through one set of doors. Let's say it's transparent with a speaker system on it in case the condemned want to talk to someone.

At some point during their short stay, while the condemned sleeps, a call is made to the governor for a final reprieve.

If the governor commutes the sentence, the next morning the prisoner is taken out the egress door and away to SuperMax.

If not, the air handling system switches over and carbon monoxide is silently introduced. After sixty minutes of hearing no breathing or heartbeat, the air system flushes out the carbon monoxide atmosphere, then deceased is removed through the egress door and the room is cleaned.

Benefits? No unusual chemicals being used. No complicated and stressful lead up procedures for the condemned. No bloody gore to make observers squeamish. No suffering for the condemned as a result of the "silent killer".

Downside? There may be a lack of understanding that the State is killing someone.

Daniel in Brookline said...

Ted: I read once about a physician who was executed by guillotine, at the time that the French were having altogether too much fun with the device. He asked a colleague to watch his execution, and promised that, after his beheading, he would blink his eyes rapidly for as long as he could. Supposedly he did so, for about ten seconds.

Aren't human beings amazing?

Sigivald said...

I would waay rather be shot than sparked or injected (as it's currently done, at least).

I like the compromise of "the giant, fast hydraulic press", myself.

It'd destroy the brain almost instantly, ensuring no suffering.

And it's grisly enough to not insulate us from the fact that someone is being killed deliberately; that's powerful juju and shouldn't be sanitized or treated lightly.

0007 said...

It has nothing to do with the "inhumane" and everything to do with the fact that those people(AIUTTL)don't approve of the idea of killing anyone at all. Unless they happen to vote republican