Terrorist beheadings

I’ve seen some videos of beheadings in the Middle East and Chechnya. Non-judicial beheadings seem invariably to be carried out with a knife.

Is it that hard to come by a sword or a machete? Wouldn’t a strict reading of the Koran necessitate a merciful (quick) killing? Or, since they’re terrorist groups, is using a knife just to induce terror?

I’m not a scholar of islam, but I suspect their policy is that mercy is reserved for muslim brothers, not infidels.

This Time magazine article suggests that terrorists behead their victims due to Mayan ancestry.

Yes, please.

I did some googling, and the Koran appears to say ‘strike the neck’ of enemies. That sounds like it calls for a quick killing, and not sawing through with a knife.

So, which would be more efficient: a regular knife or a bread knife? :smiley: (Weird to put a laughy face for this subject, but I’m only being partly facetious).

In the ones I’ve seen, efficiency doesn’t seem to be a priority for them.

Strike the neck could also mean slash the throat – without any beheading.

The gist I’m getting is that Islamic nutcases don’t really give any more of a crap about what their holy book says than Christian nutcases or Jewish nutcases do.

Truer words were never spoken.

Probably they are quite used to cutting the throats of sheep and goats.

When Somalia starts sending video clips, they’ll probably be of beheadings with a panga (machete).

You use what you are used to using.

Wasn’t Daniel Pearl decapitated with a sword? IIRC, that was used, although they had him lie on a rug & sliced through his neck with a sawing motion, not kneeling and dispatched with one swing.

For what it’s worth some beheadings in Chechnya that made it to the net were done with axes. Horrifically gruesome to see.

The neck is full of sinew and muscles going different directions, and it is surprisingly hard to literally decapitate someone without a heavy, swinging blade and a firm anvil or block to react the blow. A sharp straight edge blade should cut through steadily, but something the size of a ka-bar type knife just isn’t going to lop right through. A scalloped edge bread knife really isn’t going to be a lot more effective; for efficient sawing, you’d really want a saw, something like a coarse-toothed hacksaw or a large dressing saw, similar to what is used for field amputation. In general, this is just a really difficult way to kill someone compared to normal stabbing of the chest, through the back of the head, kidney, shooting in the head or chest, hanging, et cetera.

What interests me is the psychology behind beheading. Certainly the brutality is manifest–save for the guillotine, beheading is a messy, error-prone, and typically inefficient method of execution which can be practiced effectively only by true sociopaths–and the resultant fear that can be induced is an effective means of cowing a subject population, hence its popularity by bloody despots throughout history. On a personal level, though, it also detaches the the cognitive apparatus, vocal equipment, and/or “windows to the soul” from the rest of the body, guaranteeing that the subject will not rise from the dead, or at least, if he does so, he’s going to have a hard time navigating. It seems to me that there is a great deal of fear behind the act of decapitation practiced by someone who is not a congenital psychopath, and that participating in a decapitation is really a way of binding the participants together in a horror pact.