My Solution For Humane Death Penalty

BTW, I put in Great Debates, because I assume it will spark a debate. Okay :slight_smile: ?

Anyway I have already gone into this topic before, doubtless on this message board too. And although I am a humanist and a humanitarian (basically), I am more utilitarian when it comes to capital punishment. I consider it a form of euthanasia. Yes, it leads to irreversible effects if the person is innocent. And it closes the door to remorse and personal growth. But I still think it’s better than letting someone rot in prison for life. What more can I say?

Anyway, this pretty much goes into my first idea of nitrogen asphyxiation (hopefully the link will work). And I know Dr. Jack Kevorkian (aka ‘Dr. Death’ and assisted suicide activist) recommended carbon monoxide asphyxiation.

But I was recently thinking, why not just use blood deprivation. I.e., bleed them dry (to be blunt). It causes no gasses that have to be vented. And it requires minimal medical knowledge (medical personnel often refuse to take part in executions on ethical grounds).

Yeah, it’s kind of gross. But name a method that ultimately isn’t :slight_smile: .



That seems to me to be a far from humane method of executing someone, as well as very messy.


1.) Blood drawing does not have to be messy. Think of blood donation.

2.) Loss of blood is one of the nicest ways to go. CO poisoning causes headaches potentially. With blood loss, you just drift off into sleep…

But, notwithstanding one’s thoughts about capital punishment, would it have to be any messier than a blood donation?

@velomont Sorry! Double posts :slight_smile: .

Plus, if you collect the blood properly, that’s 8 or so pints for someone else to use! Win-win!

"Dear [executed person],

Thank you for your generous donation. Here is your blood donor card for use in future donations. We hope to see you again!"

Ooh. Dark.


I don’t know why it is not used but nitrogen hypoxia seems by far the most humane method of execution.

For this thread I am not commenting on whether we should have a death penalty. The OP is about a “humane” method. Nitrogen hypoxia seems the closest to that.

For a start, air is 78% nitrogen anyway, so it’s easy to get hold of. The method is also a surprisingly quick demise. One study from the 1960s found that volunteers breathing pure nitrogen lost consciousness in around 17-20 seconds. Based on animal studies, it’s thought that they would have stopped breathing after three seconds.

And due to a quirk of biology it’s apparently painless. That’s because the body can’t actually detect a lack of oxygen – just an excess of carbon dioxide, which acidifies the blood and causes that aching feeling in your legs after exercise. This means it doesn’t feel like suffocation. SOURCE

PS - Here’s your 1 gallon donor pin!

“Let him pay for his crime, a piece at a time.” It took me forever to realize that Niven wasn’t advocating capital punishment in stories like, The Jigsaw Man

Nitrogen asphyxiation, if we’re not going to try and vivisect the condemned, a la the People’s Republic of China. Strap mask to face, crank the N2, zap the condemned so they take a breath, and out go the lights. None of this messing around with veins, phenobarbital, or whatever.

Best of all they don’t have to give the donor a doughnut on the way out. Savings all around.

is that still a thing? I mean snacks during / after donation?

Serious response to the OP.

Exsanguination to use the medical / trauma term is a poor choice on several fronts.

  1. We generally value quick results once the deed is begun. Having them linger while dying is having them suffer. Having them suffer is “cruel”. Cruel is unconstitutional.

  2. A medical exsanguination a la a blood donation run wild involves trained medical people and equipment normally produced for use in legit medical settings. Which will run into the same snags as does lethal injection: everybody with the skills has a license and nobody with the license will do the deed and nobody who makes the equipment will knowingly sell it to the state for the purpose of doing the deed.

  3. It isn’t hard with a sword or similar big blade to create a very large wound that quickly bleeds out the victim. Whether you want slit their throat or their femoral arteries this just takes a martial artist, not a medical pro. But it fails the “we don’t want a mess” criteria.

The nitrogen or maybe CO asphyxiation is the way to go. Very quick, no physical pain, no mess, no great skill required to administer. No bystander risk.

[Climbing on high horse] “There is no humane method of execution.”

[Climbing back down] Nice post LSL. I think we need to think critically about the, “We don’t want a mess,” criteria. Because that has nothing to do with being humane to the person being killed, and much to do with putting a pretty bow on an ugly practice. Much cowardice involved, IMHO.

Firing squads violate the mess criteria, but provide a quick death.

Before reaching that conclusion, I would think some interviews with the inmates that the state is planning to kill would be in order.

All that said, I like distinguishing between gradients of bad. I’m highly dubious about lethal injection and favor alternative methods.

You want a quick and painless death, try dropping a few hundred pound lead weight on their head from 150 feet.

Definitely messy, but pretty guaranteed to be over before they know what hits them.

Personally, I think that the convict should have a menu of options, and they should be the one to decide.

Of course, I’m against the death penalty except in the specific circumstance that a convicted murderer escapes and commits murder while escaped.

You beat me to it… If you destroy the brain, faster than the speed at which nerve impulses travel in the brain, you pretty much have someone who’s “dead before they know it.”

(Why did they shoot Gary Gilmore in the heart? Please, shoot me in the head!)

Agreed. I’m no fan of the DP, as I’ve made clear in umpteen posts in umpteen threads. I left that disclaimer out of my post here, thinking it didn’t need reiterating.

If we view it strictly as an engineering / combat problem my thoughts stand, and I agree with @Trinopus’ point that the real desideratum is to get cessation of consciousness quickly and reliably. How long it takes after that for death to set in is relatively unimportant.

Clearly the complete situation with the DP is an unholy mess of conflicting base and high desires on the part of the state and the citizens. Plus all the practical problems of unequal access to justice, the low case clearance rate, and the whole constitutional muddle about their half-assed vague 18th century writing and whether and how to update the interpretation of that writing almost 300 years later.

I’ve pointed out repeatedly that focusing on the physical pain of the last minute(s) of life is silly while we happily subject the condemned to umpteen years of psychological pain knowing what is (or maybe isn’t) coming.

Heads are hard to hit, center mass is much easier (and less ‘messy’ and grotesque). Of course walking up behind them and shooting point blank in the brain stem-Nazi style would be instant and relatively fool-proof but I don’t want to live in a country where people can be hired to that and then go home and sleep at night. [soldiers in combat are a whole different story-please don’t muddy the waters]

Great minds think alike😁

Well, if I had to go via DP, how about a great meal & drink, a massive hit of melatonin and followed by the big blood donation?

I don’t know if this is why they shot him in the heart, but he had requested that his organs be donated. His two corneas were donated after his execution. It’s unlikely a shot to the head would’ve left them unscathed and usable for this purpose.