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Old 03-18-2008, 11:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Appropriate methods of execution

Im not sure where this belongs... but I have been thinking about the death penalty a bit recently (because of a the serial killer in my home town recently being found guilty)

I do believe that the death penalty should exist - for the crimes which society finds most horrible. i do not believe that it is a deterrent, and I believe miscarriages of justice are possible - but I believe it is a necessary ritual which society must observe to cleanse the horror of the most unacceptable crimes (as defined by the general will of the population)

I saw a show tonight about how the lethal injection is cruel, and I never really thought about it before... but if people are to be killed by the state, does cruelty come into it?

I never really thought of any other method of execution than hanging by the neck - which is instant at least. I dont understand the rationale of gruesome things like electricution and chemical death - does anyone know how such things came to be practised?
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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They came into practice in an attempt to be less cruel, though the electric chair was also part of the AC/DC debate, with an attempt to show AC as dangerous.

Though if we want to really work the deterrent angle I'm all for burning at the stake again
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Part of it was the (American) idea that NEWER = BETTER.

Long drop hanging (as practiced by the British and all across the Empire) was a well established system and well understood - there were rules for calculating the drop and the type of rope, relating to the weight and height of the victim, and it is one of the most consistently reliable, dignified, and low tech methods of execution that humanity has ever created.

I personally am revolted by the idea of killing anyone as there are so many reasons the death penalty can be incorrectly used - mainly sumarised by "people can be wrong, corrupt and venial" - and that we ought not risk cocking it up.

That said, if it were to happen, I'd say that long drop hanging done correctly is "best".

Injections, electrocution, gas chambers and so on all require loads of technical euipment and are frequently alleged to be ineffective on the first go.
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Personal opinion of the death penalty   click to show 

I am fairly sure Strange Famous does not want this turning into a debate on whether or not we should use the death penalty, as I am sure there are plenty of threads already beating that dead horse.

I have few facts to bring to this. I have contemplated these methods of execution and here are some of my thoughts.
  • Hanging was not always an instant death. If the knot is not placed correctly, one's neck is not broken by the fall and one would be strangled by the rope.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Methods of Execution
    History: Hanging is the oldest method of execution in the United States, but fell into disfavor in the 20th century after many botched attempts, and was replaced by electrocution as the most common method.
    I guess the Brits came up with an equation based on the weight of a person to determine the length of the drop required to only break a person's neck. Otherwise:
    • Too short a drop and the person would slowly be strangled by the rope, disgusting the onlookers; or
    • Too long and the head would be broken off, again disgusting the onlookers.
    They just were ultimately going for people not to be disgusted by the hanging. @ Daniel_: you beat me to it.

  • Electrocution was considered inhumane as a means of execution (supposedly heads started on fire). So gas was implemented. I cannot remember, but I have memories of stories of people that survived the gas chambers, which is why it is no longer used (as far as I know).
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Methods of Execution
    The most common problems encountered are the obvious agony suffered by the inmate and the length of time to cause death.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ustwo
    with an attempt to show AC as dangerous.
    Damn Edison. At least AC still won, good one for Tesla.

  • Lethal injection as cruel? I thought it was painless, quick acting, and for sure. I guess if a technician missed the vein, then the process would be FUBAR'ed, but then it is a failure of the State for not hiring a more competent technician, and not a fault of the process.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Methods of Execution
    The most common problem encountered is collapsing veins and the inability to properly insert the IV. Some states allow for a Thorazine or sedative injection to facilitate IV insertion.

    History: Lethal injection had first been proposed as a means of execution in 1888 when New York considered it but ultimately opted for electrocution. In 1977, Oklahoma became the first state to adopt lethal injection. Texas performed the first execution by lethal injection in 1982 with the execution of Charlie Brooks.


Some links I came across:
The History of Execution Methods (not including modern methods)
Methods of Execution (modern methods of execution)
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My understanding is too that the executioner had an equation, or a table, and they would base the length of the "drop" on the person's weight, leading to instant death by broken neck... but I guess if it was bungled somehow I could see that it could go wrong and lead to strangulation or beheading.
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If the death penalty was carried out in public, and the victim's family was permitted to participate if they wished then there would be a deterrent to these crimes. However, that will never happen again.

As for the methods of execution being considered too cruel, I must object. I think about a recent incident in my hometown where an 18 year old girl was terrorized for the last hour of her life. The one who committed this crime has confessed. What manner of execution could possibly be considered too cruel? Perhaps we should do away with him in the same manner that he ended that young woman's life? Is that too cruel? Would that be justice for her family? I have no compassion for this monster. This will be resolved in the courts, and he will probably spend the rest of his 60 or so years in prison, at our expense.
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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There are no appropriate methods of execution. Frankly I don't see a difference between killing someone slowly and killing someone quickly. They're still dying.
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grancey
I have no compassion for this monster. This will be resolved in the courts, and he will probably spend the rest of his 60 or so years in prison, at our expense.
There will always be monsters in society. We can either become the monsters we try to stop (interesting) or we can be above those monsters (not so interesting but better in the long run) and try to ensure it doesn't happen again. Either everyone is allowed to be the monster (and lethal justice is carried out in a dog-eat-dog way) or no one is allowed to be a monster (and we grant the overlookers of society to carry out lethal justice).

I am all about getting use out of prisoners. If they are going to die, donate their body to science. It doesn't have to be living, if they want to be donated after death. Make them do the work that no one else likes doing. Is that slavery... I don't think so but this is just an argument I don't want to go down because... I don't want to Google stuff anymore for right now.


Edit 1: "Everyone or no one is allowed to be a monster..."

Last edited by Hain; 03-18-2008 at 12:48 PM..
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I do not believe in execution for any reason.

I'd say that slowly overdosing on morphine via injection would be a decent method of execution. By my understanding it's peaceful, painless, and the person has a euphoric feeling before becoming unconscious. It seems the most humane method.
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willravel
I do not believe in execution for any reason.
We know.

Quote:
I'd say that slowly overdosing on morphine via injection would be a decent method of execution. By my understanding it's peaceful, painless, and the person has a euphoric feeling before becoming unconscious. It seems the most humane method.
Interesting. I like it.
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Long drop hanging is not necessarily as humane as lethal injection. When done properly, it severs the spinal cord, causing the heart to stop beating instantly. However, there is still blood in the brain and it takes several seconds for the brain to exhaust its supply of oxygen. This means that unless the prisoner faints, he will experience his neck snapping and probably some associated pain. Since his brain is now disconnected from anything below his neck, he is unable to give any indication of pain or suffering, sparing the audience from this spectacle.

When lethal injection works properly, the prisoner loses consciousness early on, and the only pain he feels is the needle being inserted.

From my perspective, the most humane types of execution are those that cause the prisoner to lose consciousness before any signicant amount of pain is felt, or those that destroy the brain instantaneously (such as a well-placed gunshot to the head).
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:30 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I think the condemned should be able to choose his or her manner of death.
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inBOIL
such as a well-placed gunshot to the head
There's no way to know whether there's 5-10 seconds of unbearable, torturous pain when one is shot in the head. Those who have survived gunshot wounds to the head have said that the pain is the worst imaginable. Somehow I don't think a few seconds of maddening pain isn't humane.
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Not in favour of the death penalty but I'd imagine the guillotine would be the quickest, surest way to go, as long as the blade was sharp and heavy.

I understand that with lethal injection, one of the injections is a paralyzing agent - so if something were to go wrong, we'd not likely hear a lot of screams or witness any suffering.
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:11 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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The desire and the struggle of society..
to cleanse the horror of execution,
to me speaks volumes...

I can hear the horrid churning nausea of the executioner....can you?
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ring
The desire and the struggle of society..
to cleanse the horror of execution,
to me speaks volumes...

I can hear the horrid churning nausea of the executioner....can you?
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:29 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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executions... seem like a good idea until you hear about the rate of wrongful convictions

Google: David Milgard, Guy Paul Morin, Steven Truscott and more
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:02 PM   #19 (permalink)
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While I do not advocate wanton cruelty, I must say that the thought of the last few seconds of a murderer or rapists life being filled with excruciating pain doesn't cause me to lose sleep at night. Long drop hanging works great, if the head pops, then so be it. The condemed will know no difference.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:01 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace_O_Spades
executions... seem like a good idea until you hear about the rate of wrongful convictions

Google: David Milgard, Guy Paul Morin, Steven Truscott and more
Ace, I think that is going off topic.

Last edited by Hain; 03-18-2008 at 05:24 PM..
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:39 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace_O_Spades
executions... seem like a good idea until you hear about the rate of wrongful convictions

Google: David Milgard, Guy Paul Morin, Steven Truscott and more
To stray off topic even further - I think that in nations with lesser homicide rates and consequently more attention being levelled at wrongful convictions a la Milgard and Truscott, we back further away from capital punishment. In large nations with big homicide rates, such instances receive lesser attention, with more concern placed on punishing the bad guys and reducing high homicide rates.

It also seems that huge nations/empires - the US, China, Russia/USSR, Britain back in the day, Rome - have always meted out the most severe punishments more readily than other nations of lesser power.
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:18 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
It also seems that huge nations/empires - the US, China, Russia/USSR, Britain back in the day, Rome - have always meted out the most severe punishments more readily than other nations of lesser power.
I don't think I'd have to dig hard to point out this is a oversimplification.

They stone you for being a homosexual in Iran still for example.

Egypt has sentenced 400 people to death over a 10 year period but reports are the actual number is much higher.

My guess is you only hear/read/learn about the big boys, the little boys can play too, and this doesn't even address places like Cambodia.
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:09 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augi
Ace, I think that is going off topic.
Not if you see it as making the point that there are no appropriate methods of execution when there is an unknown rate of false imprisonment.

Seems pretty fundamentally tied to the question to me.
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Old 03-19-2008, 12:39 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace_O_Spades
Not if you see it as making the point that there are no appropriate methods of execution when there is an unknown rate of false imprisonment.

Seems pretty fundamentally tied to the question to me.
You'd think but:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strange Famous
I do believe that the death penalty should exist - for the crimes which society finds most horrible. i do not believe that it is a deterrent, and I believe miscarriages of justice are possible - but I believe it is a necessary ritual which society must observe to cleanse the horror of the most unacceptable crimes (as defined by the general will of the population)
Strange Famous addressed this in his original post. As I read it, he just wants the history of execution and how it was deemed more humane to kill people in such fashions.
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Old 03-19-2008, 02:18 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
I don't think I'd have to dig hard to point out this is a oversimplification.

They stone you for being a homosexual in Iran still for example.

Egypt has sentenced 400 people to death over a 10 year period but reports are the actual number is much higher.

My guess is you only hear/read/learn about the big boys, the little boys can play too, and this doesn't even address places like Cambodia.
If you're happy comparing the US to modern day Cambodia, Egypt and Iran, go ahead. I believe the more appropriate comparisons are to other nations occupying some similar economic or social strata.
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Old 03-19-2008, 04:43 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I wish it was simple execution style the person on his knees, and someone behind him fires a bullet in his head.
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Old 03-19-2008, 05:10 AM   #27 (permalink)
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..

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Old 03-19-2008, 05:29 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highthief
If you're happy comparing the US to modern day Cambodia, Egypt and Iran, go ahead. I believe the more appropriate comparisons are to other nations occupying some similar economic or social strata.
So in other words we execute and Western Europe doesn't anymore.

Just say that then instead of making a point about size and empire like status.
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Old 03-19-2008, 05:59 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace_O_Spades
executions... seem like a good idea until you hear about the rate of wrongful convictions

Google: David Milgard, Guy Paul Morin, Steven Truscott and more
People wrongfully convicted and then executed aside, I still believe killing people is wrong.
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Old 03-19-2008, 07:51 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Grant the onlookers their rights and they might change their minds; grant the over-lookers theirs and they can't.

How did capital punishment become a practise? We are vindictive.

Use a guillotine and then let them eat cake. At least the innocent will then have a sweet taste in their mouth when they expire.

Got morphine? Give me a little.

flat5 might have a point.

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Old 03-19-2008, 08:28 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:29 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
So in other words we execute and Western Europe doesn't anymore.

Just say that then instead of making a point about size and empire like status.
Unfortunately, you have again missed the point and made a false assumption.

Large, powerful countries have large, complex problems - both internally and externally - somewhat moreso than their smaller neighbours. The often have high crime rates and any individual crime is usually lost in the shuffle.

The desire to bring a sense of order to what some sometimes seems a disordered out of control society is perhaps more powerful in those large, powerful societies given the many pressures the society faces. Stronger measures are sometimes enacted - death penalty, longer prison sentences, 3 strikes - in reponse and the people may approve of such measures more readily.

Individual instances of a miscarriage of justice seem to pale in comparison to the thousands of killings that occur yearly.

In a nation such as Canada, where even in the largest cities like Toronto and Montreal the murder rates are far lower, when someone (as Ace pointed out) like Truscott, Milgard or Morin gets wrongly imprisoned for what, at one point, would have been a crime for which execution was the punishment, the population, in large part, recoils and sets themselves more firmly against the concept of capital punishment.

In larger nations, this reaction does not seem as strong.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:46 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debaser
While I do not advocate wanton cruelty, I must say that the thought of the last few seconds of a murderer or rapists life being filled with excruciating pain doesn't cause me to lose sleep at night. Long drop hanging works great, if the head pops, then so be it. The condemed will know no difference.
Amen.

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Old 03-19-2008, 09:20 AM   #34 (permalink)
 
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there is no appropriate method of execution.
the idea of public execution as some kind of ritual geared toward expelling a sin and rebuilding collective solidarity is barbaric.
there are a few things about the modern world that it's hard not to approve of: indoor plumbing, electricity and the rule of law are three of them. in the modern world, the state substitutes itself for the victim of a crime. that shortcircuits all this nonsense about revenge and such logic as there might be behind ritual murder as a curative.

and ritual sacrifice was never about prevention. it was reactive.
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:26 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Depending on the crime, if heinous enough to be considered for death, the family of the victim should choose if the perp dies and the method, given there is ample proof that person created a heinous crime.ie eye witness accounts, videotape etc

I would prefer the guillotine. As for the last meal,...treat the family. To hell with the person who will die.
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:47 AM   #36 (permalink)
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To me hanging seems more dignified too... and I am referring to the dignity of the state, not the victim/condemned.

It is fundamentally DIFFERENT to everyday.

The lethal injection or the gassing seem to be pervesions of normal life events (the hospital for example), the electric chair a perversion of industrialisation... the gallows are unique for their purpose at least.
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:48 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Augi
You'd think but:

Strange Famous addressed this in his original post. As I read it, he just wants the history of execution and how it was deemed more humane to kill people in such fashions.
Humanely killing a person is one of the more ridiculous oxymorons out there. And yes, I read the OP just like everyone else. However, my statement was disagreeing with the fact that it is indeed a necessary ritual, as stated by the OP

Mod powers, not yours.
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Old 03-19-2008, 12:38 PM   #38 (permalink)
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I don't believe in rehabilitation. However, I do believe in making sure that one is deserving of death.

I vote for either will's idea or my own idea which involves placing the prisoner between two heavy metal slabs that are about to collide with eachother at a very high speed.
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:01 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ring
The desire and the struggle of society..
to cleanse the horror of execution,
to me speaks volumes...

I can hear the horrid churning nausea of the executioner....can you?
I'm with ring.
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:05 PM   #40 (permalink)
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There is no humane way to kill a person. But in any case, governments shouldn't be in the position of killing people, anyhow. The death penalty is vengeance, pure and simple. Not justice.

On the other hand, I don't necessarily have anything against vengeance. In my opinion, those found guilty of murder should be sentenced to life in prison. But in the case of murderers in the first degree (I don't believe anything else should warrant the death penalty) they should serve their prison terms in near-isolation, like in a supermax prison. If the family of the victim wishes, they should be able to challenge the murderer to a duel to the death, permitted by the state, with the victim's family choosing the weapons: two-handed broadsword, mace and buckler, or spear. The murderer can decline, and spend life in prison, or fight, and if he wins, he may choose to serve his time in a regular maximum security prison ward, rather than in near-isolation.
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