Monday, May 08, 2006

Humane execution

The electric chair sometimes required a few flips of a balky switch. Injection has its own imperfections:
Merciful (but messy) alternatives to lethal injection. By Hanny Hindi

... State executions today are strictly medical procedures, complete with lab coats and white sheets. Strapped to the gurney and carefully injected with an IV, the inmate looks as though he'll recover nicely. Though recent challenges have again revealed that the lab coats are worn by amateurs and the IVs are frequently botched, executioners can rest assured that their goal will ultimately be met. Prisoners may very well suffer needlessly excruciating deaths, but the witnesses won't feel a thing.
Painless witnessing and simple clean-up. That's what led to the current lethal cocktail. Too bad about that "cruel and inhumane" problem. This Slate article mentions vets are the true masters of the gentle putdown, so maybe we should turn this over to the vets. Alas, I've a hunch vets will be even less agreeable to assisting than physicians have been.

The Chinese are the true masters of the process. A soft nosed bullet to the back of the head. Personally, I'd be okay with strapping a significant explosive charge to my occiput. If administered in an armored incineration chamber it would even allow for convenient cleanup.

Or maybe we should think again about the idea of state murder of convicts who are both stupid (or mentally ill) and poor. (Smart sane killers are rarely caught, rich killers are rarely convicted.)

PS. If it's not obvious, I'm no fan of the death penalty. Were we to keep it, I would say we ought to require random assignment of attorneys for all death penalty cases. Even the playing field a bit ... And, at, the very least, learn from China.

No comments: