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  #1  
Old 12-13-2007, 05:59 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Why are all the methods of capital punishment so.......weird?

I've always thought that many the common modes of carrying out the death penalty were very convoluted and downright bizarre, as if someone had been trying to think of an imaginative and krazy way to kill someone.

Let's see...we'll make a CHAIR with restraints all over it, and then make them sit in it and put electrodes all over their body, and put a little hat on their head, and then we'll ELECTROCUTE THEM!!!

Or...we'll wrap a rope around his neck, and then drop him through a trapdoor!

Or...restrain him in a chair inside of a locked room and then fill the room with poison gas!

The only execution methods that seem rational to me are lethal injection and firing squad. Lethal injection is just a simple medical procedure, and firing squad is likewise a simple military-esque procedure, although I've always found the whole ceremonious "squad" part of it with the blanks and everything to be very convoluted.

If I were in charge of the country, I'd just make execution by bullet the default capital punishment. Our soldiers do it in war, why can't we do it as an execution? One man, not a squad.

How did these other methods (specifically the electric chair, which seems like something a fictional mad scientist would come up with) get established? And why was hanging ever a widespread method when it was just as easy to cut off someone's head?
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  #2  
Old 12-13-2007, 06:04 PM
WoodenTaco WoodenTaco is offline
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My WAG on hanging is that it's publicly viewable, so rulers can make an example of somebody. Public executions were quite the social event for much of western history, and they served to strengthen the authority's perceived power.

The others are maybe because of cost? That's my guess.
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  #3  
Old 12-13-2007, 06:05 PM
friedo friedo is online now
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You forgot:

Let's put him in a chair in an air-tight room and press a button that causes two chemicals to mix together and release DEADLY POISON!

(ETA: Oops, you didn't forget that, somehow I missed it in your OP.)

Most methods of execution are designed to appease the conscience of the society carrying it out -- firing squads are messy and not guaranteed to be painless; hanging often fails to kill immediately, etc. It was expected that proper electrocution would provide a quick and painless death (as opposed to the then common method of hanging) but that proved to not always be the case. And the smoking corpse is kind of gruesome.

Last edited by friedo; 12-13-2007 at 06:06 PM..
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  #4  
Old 12-13-2007, 06:14 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers
I've always thought that many the common modes of carrying out the death penalty were very convoluted and downright bizarre, as if someone had been trying to think of an imaginative and krazy way to kill someone.

Let's see...we'll make a CHAIR with restraints all over it, and then make them sit in it and put electrodes all over their body, and put a little hat on their head, and then we'll ELECTROCUTE THEM!!!

Or...we'll wrap a rope around his neck, and then drop him through a trapdoor!

Or...restrain him in a chair inside of a locked room and then fill the room with poison gas!

The only execution methods that seem rational to me are lethal injection and firing squad. Lethal injection is just a simple medical procedure, and firing squad is likewise a simple military-esque procedure, although I've always found the whole ceremonious "squad" part of it with the blanks and everything to be very convoluted.

If I were in charge of the country, I'd just make execution by bullet the default capital punishment. Our soldiers do it in war, why can't we do it as an execution? One man, not a squad.

How did these other methods (specifically the electric chair, which seems like something a fictional mad scientist would come up with) get established? And why was hanging ever a widespread method when it was just as easy to cut off someone's head?
I'm assuming that we are talking modern day (last 200 years) where we are trying to establish a quick and painless method of execution and not just a creative torture device. Hanging was used for years, but required complex calculations that could leave a man to strangle to death if it wasn't done properly.

I'm not an expert, but the electric chair and the gas chamber were designed to be more humane than hanging, as both of these were considered "modern" and cause instant death (which didn't always happen).

Then, when horror stories came from botched gas chambers and electric chairs, states moved to lethal injection as the humane execution (which is currently under attack)

I guess the original objection to beheading was that it was very messy and not always humane (miss that swing a couple of inches and have the prisoner flopping around). Same thing with a firing squad; you get a situation where the squad doesn't get a kill shot on the first try and it is tremendous suffering.
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  #5  
Old 12-13-2007, 07:17 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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I recommend to the o.p. that he watch the Errol Morris documentary Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.. It's not a comprehensive documentary on execution methods, but it is a very interesting exploration of how my Leucher became an established expert and authority in the field of execution, despite any medical or physiology training...that is, before his complete crazy about supporting Holocaust Denial came out and state officials started dropping him like a bad penny. It's one of the creepiest movies I've ever seen (Leuchter objected to existing electrocution equipment because "it cooks the meat too much"), but very much worth watching.

It's really pretty hard to kill someone completelly painlessly and in a way that isn't gory or otherwise esthetically unappealing, and the fact that the medical profession won't (or rather, ethically can't) cooperate means that amateurs tend to crowd the field. Plus, it is still the nominal position of most death penalty advocates that it is supposesd to be a deterrent to crime (even though it demonstratably is not) and so one doesn't want to make it too painless, and yet paradoxically not too brutal for civilized use, which is sort of like asking for your hard-boiled egg easy over. No wonder incompetents and blunderers crowd the field.

FWIW, I suspect the guillotine is probably the most painless (claims about the continued consciousness of severed heads aside) but of course can be quite messy, and then there's the whole association with the brutality of the French Revolution, though that seems to have been overshadowed in public consciousness by the mass genocides of the 20th Century.

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  #6  
Old 12-13-2007, 07:41 PM
Santo Rugger Santo Rugger is offline
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IIRC, Thomas Edison promoted the electric chair in order to show how dangerous alternating current was, compared to DC. Unfortunately for him, people were actually impressed with how well it worked, and decided to use AC for the transmission of electricity into every home on the power grid (in the US). This is kind of unfortunate, because DC transmits much better over longer distances than AC. It seems like it would have been easier to design electronics, too, since most American electronics have an AC to DC converter as part of the plug.

ETA: Ahh, here's the wiki page. It's a pretty good read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_Currents

Last edited by Santo Rugger; 12-13-2007 at 07:46 PM..
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  #7  
Old 12-13-2007, 08:15 PM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santo Rugger
IIRC, Thomas Edison promoted the electric chair in order to show how dangerous alternating current was, compared to DC. Unfortunately for him, people were actually impressed with how well it worked, and decided to use AC for the transmission of electricity into every home on the power grid (in the US). This is kind of unfortunate, because DC transmits much better over longer distances than AC. It seems like it would have been easier to design electronics, too, since most American electronics have an AC to DC converter as part of the plug.

ETA: Ahh, here's the wiki page. It's a pretty good read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_Currents
I was under the impression that AC was much more efficient for transmission over long distances. From your cite:
Quote:
Alternating current could be transmitted over long distances at high voltages, at lower current for lower voltage drops (thus with greater transmission efficiency), and then conveniently stepped down to low voltages for use in homes and factories.
I always thought a humongous shot of super pure heroin would be a very humane way of execution. Even if you screw up, the victim is just in for a very euphoric couple of hours. I don't think it would take much expertise to administer it, indeed you could just hire a couple of junkies to be executioners. I kept on reading about people dying with a needle in their arms when some form of super pure heroin started showing up in New York City.
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  #8  
Old 12-13-2007, 08:23 PM
Rick Rick is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santo Rugger
since most American electronics have an AC to DC converter as part of the plug.
What? No they don't.

Getting back to the OP, I have often wondered why they don't use carbon monoxide I am told it is quick and painless. Person goes to sleep and never wakes up.
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  #9  
Old 12-13-2007, 08:35 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers
Lethal injection is just a simple medical procedure,
Simple?

I think not.

Reliably inducing quick, painless death via IV drugs is rather complex, actually.

And since no bona fide licensed health professional will involve him/herself in carrying out this procedure for ethical reasons/fear of losing the license to practice, that complicates it even more.
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  #10  
Old 12-13-2007, 08:42 PM
Randy Seltzer Randy Seltzer is offline
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You must admit though, we no longer indulge in some the wackier execution methods....
...a quick but interesting read...
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  #11  
Old 12-13-2007, 08:54 PM
Santo Rugger Santo Rugger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict
I was under the impression that AC was much more efficient for transmission over long distances. <snip>
Thanks, Darryl, you're right. I think I was conflating the UK's electrical distribution system, that uses twice the voltage and a slightly slower frequency.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
What? No they don't.
Don't most that don't have motors, though? My laptop, video game systems, etc., and don't TVs and such have them on the inside?
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  #12  
Old 12-13-2007, 09:10 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict
I was under the impression that AC was much more efficient for transmission over long distances.
Only at extremely high voltages, which then require step-down transformers. At the time of Edison and his promotion of AC power transmission (which was on a very localized grid) high voltage transmission simply wasn't an option, and DC transmission at somewhere around 12-60 volts was very inefficient. The other problem with long-distance or distributed grid transmission is synchronizing the frequency; an out of synch frequency will cause energy waste. Future transmission grids will almost certianly be HVDC with local conversion to AC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict
I always thought a humongous shot of super pure heroin would be a very humane way of execution. Even if you screw up, the victim is just in for a very euphoric couple of hours. I don't think it would take much expertise to administer it, indeed you could just hire a couple of junkies to be executioners. I kept on reading about people dying with a needle in their arms when some form of super pure heroin started showing up in New York City.
*sigh* I've seen someone dead of a heroin overdose, and it's neither easy nor humane. As Qadgop the Mercotan notes, physicians or other licensed medical personnel cannot attend to this operation, and so even supposedly simple things are often botched.

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  #13  
Old 12-13-2007, 09:34 PM
Spavined Gelding Spavined Gelding is offline
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It makes a little sense when you realize that executions (really the execution of a death warrant, like the execution of a writ of injunction or the execution of a writ of attachment) was designed to be a spectator sport for the edification of the great unwashed and to intimidate people of similar inclination. Thus, the bodies of pirates were coated with tar and hung up for display at the mouth of the Thames where they could be seen by passing ships to remind the possibly disaffected members of the crew that taking over the ship and going raiding might just have some unpleasant consequences. The hanging, drawing and quartering of convicted traitors and the later display of severed heads and select hunks of the body at city gates served as a reminder that disloyalty was frowned on. In the old days military death sentences were administered with the condemnedís regiment in attendance, all drawn up in formation so that everyone had a good view (see Kiplingís The Hanging of Danny Deever).

I have seen an admission ticket to the last public hanging in my home county. It took place in the 1920s in the space between the court house and the jail. The condemned was brought back to the county where he was convicted for the event and the sheriff issued attendance tickets to public officials and interested citizens. The presiding judge, the county attorney and ( for the love of Pete) the defense counsel were all expected to attend the festivities.

All of this was done, not because it was quick and efficient, but rather to serve as an example, to scare the bejesus out of souls who might follow a similar path. In those simpler times it was seen as a first class deterrent. The more attention catching the condemnedís dispatch into oblivion, the bigger the spectacle and the better the deterrence. Historically it is only recently that Western sensitivities have encouraged the doing to death of criminals in private in a mock science fair demonstration or medical procedure.

In the supposedly barbarous East the favored method is a public beheading or a public bullet in the back of the head. I suppose that is marginally more palatable that having the culpritís brains beaten out with a large dull ax. I read somewhere that it took three blows to separate Charles Iís head from his torso. The Scottish lords who followed his lineal descendent in the Ď45 did not do much better.
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  #14  
Old 12-13-2007, 10:26 PM
Chief Pedant Chief Pedant is offline
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Historic means of execution were deliberately brutal to demonstrate the significance of the transgression's consequence.

Modern efforts have attempted to bring civility to the process of execution.

But death--particularly a scheduled death--is itself weird, and it does not seem we have been very successful in managing to create gentle and civilized modes of exit. Let us hope for a day when the condemned can quietly self-administer an effective potion at a time chosen by them, and drift softly away unemcumbered by complicated and messy machinations.
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  #15  
Old 12-13-2007, 11:17 PM
gazpacho gazpacho is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict
I was under the impression that AC was much more efficient for transmission over long distances.
DC is most efficient for transmission over any distance. The thing is that the way you are efficient is to transmit at very high voltages with low current. This is true for both DC and AC. However most uses of electricity need relatively low voltages around 1 to 250V depending on what you are doing. The reason we have AC power distribution is that it is cheap and easy to convert AC voltages from high to low. Until recently there were no good ways to do this with DC.
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  #16  
Old 12-13-2007, 11:23 PM
askeptic askeptic is offline
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Quote:
and firing squad is likewise a simple military-esque procedure, although I've always found the whole ceremonious "squad" part of it with the blanks and everything to be very convoluted.
I am pretty sure the idea that one or some members of a firing squad have blanks is a myth. To my knowledge it is straight forward, they point the guns and pull the triggers.
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Old 12-14-2007, 12:26 AM
Stealth Potato Stealth Potato is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by askeptic
I am pretty sure the idea that one or some members of a firing squad have blanks is a myth. To my knowledge it is straight forward, they point the guns and pull the triggers.
Yeah; the notion that this would leave the members of the squad unsure of who fired the killing shot is absurd - there's practically no recoil from shooting a blank cartridge.


Wikipedia says:

Quote:
In some cases, one member of the firing squad is issued a weapon containing a blank cartridge instead of one with a bullet, without telling any of them to whom it has been given. This is believed to reduce flinching by individual members of the firing squad, making the execution process more reliable. It also allows each member of the firing squad a chance to believe afterward that he did not personally fire a fatal shot. This reinforces the sense of diffusion of responsibility. While an experienced marksman can tell the difference between a blank and a live cartridge based on the recoil (the blank will have much lower recoil), there is a significant psychological incentive not to pay attention and, over time, to remember the recoil as soft.
But it doesn't seem to cite any sources for that. The psychological angle is interesting, but still I think the difference between a real rifle round and a blank would be so remarkable as to leave no doubt.
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Old 12-14-2007, 12:52 AM
Hail Ants Hail Ants is offline
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Quote:
But it doesn't seem to cite any sources for that. The psychological angle is interesting, but still I think the difference between a real rifle round and a blank would be so remarkable as to leave no doubt.
The cold, calculated execution of a fellow soldier, particularly if its not an enemy but a comrade convicted of a capital crime, is not something that even battle-hardened men would be the least bit comfortable with. Its totally different from killing in combat. I wouldn't doubt that, when the moment finally came to actually pull the trigger, the amount of recoil felt would be the last thing they'd be aware of.

As far as a humane method of execution, they should just use a gaseous form of general anesthetic instead of the intravenous one they use in lethal injection. That's where all the problems always occur. They can't find a vein (cons are often long time IV drug users), they don't administer the anesthetic correctly or for long enough before the IV switches to the "kill juice", which supposedly is incredibly painful when conscience.

Instead, once they're strapped to the gurney you ask, "Any last words?", the con says, "Go f*** yourself" and you gently strap on the mask and after a few painless seconds they're in dreamy land, guaranteed (cases of anesthetic awareness are very rare). Then you just switch to "kill gas" of somekind instead. Nothing like being strapped into a chair in a big echoing gas chamber, hearing the pellets drop, and trying to hold your breath. Not to mention that there are reports that even cyanide poisoning (while awake) can be extremely painful, briefly anyway.
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  #19  
Old 12-14-2007, 02:40 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hail Ants
Instead, once they're strapped to the gurney you ask, "Any last words?", the con says, "Go f*** yourself" and you gently strap on the mask and after a few painless seconds they're in dreamy land, guaranteed (cases of anesthetic awareness are very rare). Then you just switch to "kill gas" of somekind instead.
Even this is more elaborate than it needs to be. Assuming capital punishment must be done, pure nitrogen (or some other inert gas) will render a person painlessly unconscious, then kill them.
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  #20  
Old 12-14-2007, 03:05 AM
Cicero Cicero is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
Simple?

I think not.

Reliably inducing quick, painless death via IV drugs is rather complex, actually.

And since no bona fide licensed health professional will involve him/herself in carrying out this procedure for ethical reasons/fear of losing the license to practice, that complicates it even more.
I would have to disagree here. The Dr Death's- we have one in Australia seem to be able to devise simple procedures where the patient only has to flick a switch or such and gets a lethal injection. Surely that could be applied to execution as well- where another person flicks the switch?
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  #21  
Old 12-14-2007, 05:20 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan
Simple?

I think not.

Reliably inducing quick, painless death via IV drugs is rather complex, actually.

And since no bona fide licensed health professional will involve him/herself in carrying out this procedure for ethical reasons/fear of losing the license to practice, that complicates it even more.
Sorry, it can be fast and painless. Super OD of morphine. Supresses the breathing and since the first effect is tranqing the person, painless for person and observers.. Guy gets shot up, goes to sleep, stops breathing. Bobs your uncle.

Besides, it could give all those Dr Death and Nurse Deaths a job ... they seem to have practice putting reasonably healthy people down fast and painless...

Last edited by aruvqan; 12-14-2007 at 05:21 AM..
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  #22  
Old 12-14-2007, 07:47 AM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan
Sorry, it can be fast and painless. Super OD of morphine. Supresses the breathing and since the first effect is tranqing the person, painless for person and observers.. Guy gets shot up, goes to sleep, stops breathing. Bobs your uncle.

Besides, it could give all those Dr Death and Nurse Deaths a job ... they seem to have practice putting reasonably healthy people down fast and painless...
90% of the time, that's how it plays out. The other 10%, the patient vomits, aspirates, spends a few minutes choking slowly on their own secretions, turns blue, ruptures blood vessels in their eyeballs, etc. Public outrage, courts step in, saying this is cruel and unusual, and there you go.

Most of Kevorkian's measures may have worked nicely most of the time. But it seems the legal requirement will be for something that works nicely 99.9999% of the time.
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  #23  
Old 12-14-2007, 08:21 AM
Spoons Spoons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by askeptic
I am pretty sure the idea that one or some members of a firing squad have blanks is a myth.
No, it's been done with blanks in at least one case: Gary Gilmore. From the Court TV Crime Library:

Quote:
At 8:00 a.m. on January 17, 1977, the volunteer firing squad got into place. Four of the five weapons were loaded and one would fire a blank. That way, each man would have some idea that perhaps he was not the one who had ended another man's life. They placed the barrels of their rifles through small square holes in a wall as Gilmore was strapped into a chair.... A paper target was placed over his heart and a black corduroy hood over his head. He was strapped into the chair. The least movement could make the bullets miss their mark.
Still with the execution of Gary Gilmore, but from the BBC:

Quote:
So that none of his executioners could be sure they had fired a mortal round, one of the rifles was loaded with a blank.
I remember this at the time, because it was fairly contentious. The US had had a moratorium on capital punishment for a few years at this point, and Gilmore's execution was seen by many as not the way to end it. A firing squad? But Utah allowed the condemned to elect the method, apparently, and "firing squad" was on the list of methods, and Gilmore chose that one. He also refused his appeals. But the papers and news reports were full of "how a firing squad works" items and the use of a blank was in every one.
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Old 12-14-2007, 09:14 AM
WILLASS WILLASS is offline
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Do any of the methods work 100% of the time? I disagree that a heroin overdose is painful to the victim or particularly difficult to administer - I have 'died' from a heroin overdose twice (I haven't used drugs for a long time now btw) and both times it was pleasant if anything. Surely if a junky with next to no veins can administer a lethal shot of 'street' heroin surely someone reasonably medically trained could find a vein and administer a massive does no problems - it's got to be at least as reliable a way as the chair and far less 'aggresive' as the electric chair. I don't know anyone who's had too much smack and been in pain or distress - it seems you are either high or unconscious in my experience.
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Old 12-14-2007, 10:18 AM
askeptic askeptic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoons
No, it's been done with blanks in at least one case: Gary Gilmore. From the Court TV Crime Library:
Now that you mention it, I do remember that from The Executioner's Song. When I posted earlier I was thinking about military executions for some reason. I think the point is still valid and that Gilmore's execution was unique.

ETA: I take that back. Using a blank does seem like just the sort of innefective guilt avoidance a civilian administration would come up with. I seriously doubt it has ever been common practice in the military. ICBW.

Last edited by askeptic; 12-14-2007 at 10:21 AM..
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  #26  
Old 12-14-2007, 10:21 AM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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Today, we have a variety of devices which instantly end the lives of people we have decided are our enemies in Iraq and Afganistan. When there is time to aim, the target is dead before he knows he's been hit. What would be cruel or unusual about telling a murderer's family there may not be much left to bury? You could even offer the condemned the chance to remotely trigger his own death.
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  #27  
Old 12-14-2007, 10:25 AM
FriarTed FriarTed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cicero
I would have to disagree here. The Dr Death's- we have one in Australia seem to be able to devise simple procedures where the patient only has to flick a switch or such and gets a lethal injection. Surely that could be applied to execution as well- where another person flicks the switch?
That reminds me, way back on the old Phil Donohue show, Dr. Kevorkian was on demonstrating his execution/suicide machine which worked the same way. That was before he started his new career as mercy-killer.
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  #28  
Old 12-14-2007, 10:50 AM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WILLASS
Do any of the methods work 100% of the time? I disagree that a heroin overdose is painful to the victim or particularly difficult to administer - I have 'died' from a heroin overdose twice (I haven't used drugs for a long time now btw) and both times it was pleasant if anything. Surely if a junky with next to no veins can administer a lethal shot of 'street' heroin surely someone reasonably medically trained could find a vein and administer a massive does no problems - it's got to be at least as reliable a way as the chair and far less 'aggresive' as the electric chair. I don't know anyone who's had too much smack and been in pain or distress - it seems you are either high or unconscious in my experience.
Lethal injection works 100% of the time so long as the technician can find and enter a vein, but in lifelong IV drug users that can be extremely difficult. If you have experience with heroin, you've probably seen someone who can't find a vein anywhere despite an unnervingly long time poking around. It can be a bloody, grisly experience. The technicians carrying out the execution have the same problem (and possibly less experience than the user), so finding a vein to perform the execution take quite a long time. Some states have resorted to the use of the "cut-down method," in which a vein is laid open with a scalpel to allow the insertion of the needle. When I met the warden of the Walls unit in Huntsville where Texas executions are performed he was adamant that Texas has never used the cut-down method.
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  #29  
Old 12-14-2007, 10:56 AM
Rube E. Tewesday Rube E. Tewesday is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by askeptic
Now that you mention it, I do remember that from The Executioner's Song. When I posted earlier I was thinking about military executions for some reason. I think the point is still valid and that Gilmore's execution was unique.

ETA: I take that back. Using a blank does seem like just the sort of innefective guilt avoidance a civilian administration would come up with. I seriously doubt it has ever been common practice in the military. ICBW.
I dunno. Many years ago I read a book about Private Slovik's (sp?) execution in WWII, and it specifically mentioned that use of the blank was SOP. It further mentioned that the SOP dated from the Civil War, and that while a soldier might not have been able to tell if there was a blank round in his musket, he could certainly tell with an M-1 Garand. Nonetheless, a blank was used because it was the Army, and that was the drill.
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  #30  
Old 12-14-2007, 11:41 AM
Sitnam Sitnam is offline
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Why are all the methods of capital punishment so.......weird?

They're attempts to make an uncomfortable event more comfortable.
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:53 AM
askeptic askeptic is offline
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Originally Posted by Rube E. Tewesday
I dunno. Many years ago I read a book about Private Slovik's (sp?) execution in WWII, and it specifically mentioned that use of the blank was SOP. It further mentioned that the SOP dated from the Civil War, and that while a soldier might not have been able to tell if there was a blank round in his musket, he could certainly tell with an M-1 Garand. Nonetheless, a blank was used because it was the Army, and that was the drill.

I guess I stand corrected.
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  #32  
Old 12-14-2007, 12:00 PM
Cluricaun Cluricaun is offline
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Bring back drawing and quartering, it's the only way to be sure.
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  #33  
Old 12-14-2007, 01:58 PM
Eonwe Eonwe is offline
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Maybe this is a silly question, but why couldn't we just drop a very very heavy object on a person's head after admineristing anesthetic?
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  #34  
Old 12-14-2007, 02:21 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eonwe
Maybe this is a silly question, but why couldn't we just drop a very very heavy object on a person's head after admineristing anesthetic?
Only if he attacks you with a banana.

Stranger
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  #35  
Old 12-14-2007, 09:15 PM
Darth Nader Darth Nader is offline
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What about pointed sticks?
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  #36  
Old 12-15-2007, 06:13 AM
ianzin ianzin is offline
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My solution is one that no-one ever agrees with or supports, but it still makes sense to me.

Let me introduce a few conditions. Let's suppose the criminal that has been sentenced to death is someone who has committed rape or murder, there is no doubt as to his guilt (he has been tried and sentenced, and he admits it), and we know the community or neighbourhood in which he perpetrated his offences, and in which he caused untold amounts of pain, grief, anger, anxiety and fear.

On the day for this criminal's demise, as appointed by the court, you hire an empty room and you invite anyone from that terrorised community to come to the room. You make it clear that it's okay to bring things like baseball bats, iron bars and knives. The first 20 people who show up are allowed in. You then throw the criminal in there among them, with his hands securely cuffed behind his back, and you close the door. It is understood by all that there will be no questions asked about what happens, and if the 20 guys happen to walk out an hour later, and the criminal happens to be dead by that time, that that's okay and the authorities will see to the disposal of the body.

The criminal opted to terrorise the neighbourhood and inflict pain on defenceless victims. It's only fair to give the 'neighbourhood' a chance to return the favour. This way, the criminal may finally understand why it's not a nice thing to do.

"It's inhumane!"
"It's encouraging mob violence!"
"It's barbaric!"
"It's Old Testament eye-for-an-eye rubbish!"
"It's just not civilised!"


Sure, shoot me down. I really couldn't care less. I have seen some of the pain and fear that violent criminals can inflict on an entire community. I really don't worry too much about making the perpetrator's last moments 'comfortable'. He deserves to suffer as painfully as possible. Just my opinon.
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Old 12-15-2007, 06:57 AM
flight flight is offline
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Everybody has someone who cares about what happens to them, even murderers and rapists. People who would likely wait in line a long time for that person in order to be sure to get a chance to help them.

There would be more than one body coming out of that room, and I am not sure any of them would be the felon.
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  #38  
Old 12-15-2007, 07:20 AM
casdave casdave is offline
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Contrary to the OP, death by hanging can be very fast.

The standard and long drops were both intended to work by breaking the neck and severing the spinal cord.

This was the method used in the UK for the last coupole hundred years until capital punishment was abolished.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging

The next fast method was the Halifax Gibbet, which was also about as quick as death can be made.

http://www.metaphor.dk/guillotine/Pages/gibbet.html
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  #39  
Old 12-15-2007, 08:34 AM
LSLGuy LSLGuy is offline
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I'm sure those of us of a certain age remember this photo (the one at the top)
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...3D10%26hl%3Den

(sorry, that was the best link I could come up with)

Quick, efficient, few ways to fail, & those few are easily correctible in just seconds.

The entire issue is that modern sensibilities require a no-mess solution. Seems to me that if we lack the stomach for messy solutions, we really ought to be out of the business.

It's GD whether we'd do better to grow a stomach or quit killing cons, so I'll leave my opinon on that issue out of this.
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  #40  
Old 12-15-2007, 07:11 PM
Imasquare Imasquare is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl Lict
I always thought a humongous shot of super pure heroin would be a very humane way of execution.
Or even an overdose of general anaesthetic as used in surgery. The only problem would be that few if any doctor would agree to administer it to cause death.
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  #41  
Old 12-16-2007, 12:20 AM
chorpler chorpler is offline
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In another thread a year or two ago, it was discussed that having a person walk into a big room (or chamber or whatever) filled with nitrogen or helium or some other inert gas would quickly cause lightheadedness, then unconsciousness, and then death, all without the feeling of dyspnea or "air hunger" that you get when suffocating, because that's caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide rather than a lack of oxygen.

I wonder how suffering-free an execution method that (or just administration via tank and mask) would be.
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  #42  
Old 12-16-2007, 12:54 AM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianzin

Sure, shoot me down. I really couldn't care less. I have seen some of the pain and fear that violent criminals can inflict on an entire community. I really don't worry too much about making the perpetrator's last moments 'comfortable'. He deserves to suffer as painfully as possible. Just my opinon.
How about, we're supposed to be the better persons? It makes us no better than the criminal.

I've also seen much of the pain that violent criminals have inflicted. Does that make up for it? Does that take away the pain that has been caused? No, it just adds even more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalf
Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.


Back to the OP: what about beheading?
__________________
If the shoe fits, buy it in every color.
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  #43  
Old 12-16-2007, 02:17 AM
chowder chowder is offline
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Anyone who has had major surgery will have had an injection to knock you out. after a matter of second you're out cold.

So why not inject the condemned with that drug and while he/she is out then inject the killer drug/s.

Easy?
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  #44  
Old 12-16-2007, 02:32 AM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
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Suggested alternatives to the conventional death penalty:

Lock him in a room filled with poisonous snakes.

Order him and another condemned prisoner to fight to the death - the winner gets life imprisonment instead of death.

Tie him in a sack with a pig, a dog, a viper, a cock and an ape, and toss sack into a river.

Take 10 death-row prisoners and have them race in specially-built cars equipped with blades, rotating saws, and cannons. Winner of the race gets life imprisonment.
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  #45  
Old 12-16-2007, 02:50 AM
DiosaBellissima DiosaBellissima is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers


Order him and another condemned prisoner to fight to the death - the winner gets life imprisonment instead of death.
Sponsored by Pepsi Cola, Inc. and presented to you without commercial interruption thanks to NBC- check out our new fall lineup!
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  #46  
Old 12-16-2007, 03:06 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chowder
Anyone who has had major surgery will have had an injection to knock you out. after a matter of second you're out cold.

So why not inject the condemned with that drug and while he/she is out then inject the killer drug/s.
You just described lethal injection. Except that the killer drugs are, arguably, horribly painful even to someone who is unconscious.
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  #47  
Old 12-16-2007, 03:26 AM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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What about a bullet to the back of the head, followed by a second just to be sure?

I believe this is the method used in China (one bullet anyway, I don't know about the second) and so far I haven't heard of anyone suffering or lingering as a result.
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  #48  
Old 12-16-2007, 04:24 AM
BarnOwl BarnOwl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starving Artist
What about a bullet to the back of the head, followed by a second just to be sure?

I believe this is the method used in China (one bullet anyway, I don't know about the second) and so far I haven't heard of anyone suffering or lingering as a result.
I read somewhere that this mode of execution was used, not so long ago, by the Russians. No date for the affair was set. Then, one day, the prisoner would be taken from his cell, handcuffed (in at least one prison) to a structure of some sort, and a bullet was fired into the man's head.

And if you want that documentary, Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. recommended by Stranger on a Train, you can get it at Netflix. Roger Ebert gave it 5 stars.
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  #49  
Old 12-16-2007, 05:21 AM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imasquare
Or even an overdose of general anaesthetic as used in surgery. The only problem would be that few if any doctor would agree to administer it to cause death.
Yes, because general anesthesia never fails to render the patient unconscious.

Stranger
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  #50  
Old 12-16-2007, 05:48 AM
BarnOwl BarnOwl is offline
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Who needs an MD to administer general anesthesia? If techies can inject poison into a felon's vein, who will quibble about some asshole willing to kill with an anesthetic?

Last edited by BarnOwl; 12-16-2007 at 05:48 AM..
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