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The chaotic end of the death penalty

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by Street Pattern, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. Street Pattern

    Street Pattern Very Tilted

    In regard to recent botched executions, Josh Marshall's comment ( "The End of the Death Penalty" ) sums up a lot of my own thinking:

    He goes on to say:
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  2. TheSurgeOn

    TheSurgeOn Getting Tilted

    Joseph Wood ws shot nine times by Police during his arrest. This guy had an atypical constitution and wasn't going to go easily, something that the authorities may have forgotten since his death sentence 23 years earlier.

    Cruel and unusual punishment in his last 119 minutes indeed, but what system takes 23 years to carry out a death sentence? Isn't that also cruel and unusual punishment in itself?

    Talk about 'humane'.
  3. omega

    omega Very Tilted

    Last week I put my dog of 14.5 years down. I sat with him and rubbed his head as he went painlessly. Why can't the same chemical that every vet has be used on people assigned the death penalty?
  4. Street Pattern

    Street Pattern Very Tilted

    Yeah, but how much of a dose? And maybe what works on dogs doesn't work on humans. After all, onions and grapes are toxic to dogs, but good for people.

    One of our cats had a stroke which paralyzed her rear legs, plus congestive heart failure, and other serious problems. But when we took her to be euthanized, the first lethal injection did not kill her. It didn't even render her unconscious. Nor did the second. I think this stuff is not so simple.
  5. TheSurgeOn

    TheSurgeOn Getting Tilted

    Because prison business is big business, and business comes way before humanity, to our cost.
    Congrats for having your friend for so long, you must have had some great times.
  6. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Simply, someone fucked up.
    And when you do anything in any volume...sooner or later someone will fuck up.

    They fuck up in simple surgery too,
    they haven't stopped surgery.

    They fuck up in plane flight...as we've seen much this month,
    they haven't stopped flying.

    If you're going to debate the death penalty, debate it on it's own merits or negatives.
    But don't look for a fuck up to bring it to its own death penalty.
    You're just looking for an excuse then.

    Fix the process, continue. (lessons learned...and if you think they don't do this in medicine with people, you're fooling yourself.)
    Or debate the penalty...decide if to continue.
    But keep it separate.

    Same friggin' reasoning as those trying to kill Obamacare just because some parts aren't working well. One thing is not the whole.
    I think the cliche is..."Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater"
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Street Pattern

    Street Pattern Very Tilted

    You completely misunderstand me. The merits of the death penalty are not the issue here.

    You're right to surmise that I'd rather we not execute people, but that's not the point.

    No, I don't think those analogies apply here at all.

    The fuckups aren't the problem -- the fuckups are increasingly common symptoms of a deeper problem.

    In all of the First World, the death penalty hangs on in just a few U.S. states. It inspires a lot of revulsion worldwide.

    That would be completely irrelevant -- except for the fact that the revulsion seems to be practically unanimous among the groups whose cooperation you most need: the medical profession, drug makers, etc.

    Imagine trying to fly planes under these circumstances. Let's say all the trained pilots refused to work with you, so that you had to use amateurs. And let's say manufacturers refused to supply any new planes, or any parts for old planes.

    The problem is not with the death penalty as such. Rather, it's with doing execution as a pseudo-medical procedure.

    If we switched back to firing squads or hanging, there would be no problem. We have plenty of bullets and rope, and plenty of willing experts in putting those things to use.

    But the U.S. is (apparently) unwilling to go back to the old ways. Why is that?

    In the linked article, Josh Marshall argues that, even in our most conservative states, we don't have the stomach to execute people -- unless we have a doctor in a white lab coat sanitize it for us.

    So what happens when the doctors won't play?

    I don't hear of any state legislature considering bills to switch to a simpler and more effective low-tech method. Have you?
  8. omega

    omega Very Tilted

    What rogue49 said. We're human, we know how to kill people. My big beef with the death penalty is not killing someone, but killing the wrong person. I think it has been misused, I think racism and sloppy work has been involved sometimes. But that doesn't mean it's not potentially effective. But I know innocent people have been put to death and that needs to be fixed now. There is never an excuse for that and there are probably D.A.s in Texas that should be prosecuted.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Street Pattern

    Street Pattern Very Tilted

    Of course we do. So why don't we do it in the simple and direct way, instead of trying to shroud it under a hospital gown?
  10. omega

    omega Very Tilted

    I would be ok with direct, but not to make it a spectacle. It's like a mad dog. Just put it down and move on.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    The death penalty is nothing more than committing murder because we hate someone so much we don't ever want to see them again, and we're not willing to pay to lock them up and care for them for the rest of their lives. And if we're going to do that we'd damn well better be absolutely sure we're killing the right person, because you can always let someone out of jail but you can't take back an execution.

    People who want their old testament justice so much they should have to actually follow the same laws: No less than two adult unrelated witnesses with no conflict of interest who warned the person of the law and received a response confirming the perpetrator understood their crime and intended to commit it anyway, and after they testify those demanding the death penalty should be the ones to carry it out.

    You want him dead? You kill him yourself, his blood is on your hands. If you can't live with that don't pass judgment on others.
  12. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    My apologies @StreetPattern - I may have been lumping the title of the thread with the typical reactionary rhetoric and push I'm seeing in the news,
    when something comes to the media's attention and a political football.

    But my point is still the same...and I agree with the direct approach...and I agree with @omega - don't make a spectacle or romanticize it. Just do it.

    However, as I stated before...anything done over time and any volume...will sooner or later screw up.
    Doesn't matter what it is.

    Whatever chemical.
    Firing squad.
    Guillotine. (not the big bladed old-school thing, just some ultra-efficient snipping device)
    Putting someone to sleep, then guillotining them.
    What they do cattle with or such.
    etc...and so on.

    You will not find a 100% always forever guaranteed "humane" way to do it.
    Even animal euthanasia...which seems merciful quick ...there are fuck ups and anomalies.
    They're just not reported in the media...or stats reported often.

    And opponents will always use these to try to stop it all together.

    IMHO, the cruel thing is not just putting someone down.
    But in a way, it's cruel that we've been put in this position that we feel the need to.

    Sure, there are those out there that want an "eye for an eye" or them to "suffer" for their crimes. I'm not one.
    Me, I see it as thing that needs to be done. Like letting go a dead loved one who's being kept "technically" alive by machines.
    Do it quick, get it over with.

    Frankly, they need to put in a Plan B protocol.
    If the first, doesn't do the trick or is "questionable" in time or quality...then do the next, within a short time.
    (and plan C etc...if that doesn't work)

    For example, I would have rather executed Jeffrey Dahmer this way, rather than allowing him to be slaughtered by his prisonmate.
    Or Ariel Castro...execution, rather than "forgetting" to check on him before his suicide. (the sentence was ridiculous ..."just" plus 1000 yrs )
    When it's obvious, why extend the tragedy??

    BTW...stop the damn "witnessing" of the event...even by victims or such.
    Just do it privately.
    Having people watch it is unnecessary.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  13. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor

    The current problem with the death penalty is that the drugs which were accepted as humane are no longer available so the states have been faking it which has lead to inhuman situations.

    So why should they be allowed to fake it?
    There has to be transparency as to what they are using and proof that the people who are doing the administering of the drugs are trained to do so.
    All of this is kept hidden by out of date laws.

    If we are going to have the death penalty it must be totally out in the open so there can be no question as to its nature.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor

  15. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Ahh...so the problem here isn't "humane", it's humans being human...which is, idiotic & negligent.

    So perhaps the solution would be, instead of "attempting" to use exotic drugs or stupid substitutes.
    Simply get a normal anesthesiologist, which are everywhere, have them put to sleep...like surgery level sleep...then execute them a different way.

    But I guess you'd have to get the state to allow it that way.
    I assume their laws are restricted to just drugs, so that's why they're attempting the stupid alternative.

    IF the state is going to allow it...they need to allow alternative methods, including Plan B protocols.
    As long as the human is asleep...it should be "humane".
    I mean, if they can be digging around everywhere during surgery, with you not aware, it should be good enough here.
    (**However, there are a few cases of bad anesthesia situations every year, so these need to be treated as they would in medicine...nothing is 100%)
  16. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize. Donor

    Large City, TX
    I agree.

    That is excessively stringent to the point of being worthless.

    I am strongly in favor of this for two very different reasons. It would let the people who seriously want deadly justice to have it. OTOH it would force the loudmouth wimps to "put up, or shut up."

    BTW, regarding the "him," would this law only apply to male criminals? I ask because I live in a "redneck" state where reasonably attractive females of a certain ethnicity very rarely receive the death penalty despite comitting henious murders.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
  17. omega

    omega Very Tilted

    You certainly have flair for a dramatic turn of phrase. So hear goes.

    How about the idea that society takes murder really seriously? That society decides that some murders are so heinous that the only punishment fitting is the death penalty? like killing law enforcement officers, the people who put themselves out there to uphold the laws? Maybe it's not hate, it's preventive. And if you think it's not preventive, don't ask the people on death row. Ask the people who are not on death row.

    I don't believe in any religious mythology, so I certainly am not going to base justice on some fantasy. I will use ethics and reality.

    I am a trooper, a law enforcement officer. When taking this job, I had to be willing to kill in the line of duty. I also pass judgment on people every day. I judge whether I am going to enforce the law at any particular point. Usually dealing with minor traffic infractions. But I do pass judgment. And someday I might have to decide to shoot to stop someone, and there is a good chance that will kill the person. But if I know that I made the right decision, that I was justified at that moment in protecting life, my own or someone else's, then there will be no blood on my hands. Because I acted correctly, and ethically. My response will be based on someone else's actions. Their action will lead to their own death. They will provoke my response. I won't be the aggressor. And yes, pointing a gun at me will get you shot. Everyone knows that.
    • Like Like x 2
  18. redravin

    redravin Cynical Optimist Donor

    @omega as much as I agree with you concerning the nature of your job and the choices you have to make wouldn't you agree there is a difference between the choice you make to protect yourself and others when someone is firing a weapon and a government choosing to strap someone down, who ten percent of the time may not be guilty, and shooting them full of a toxic mix of chemicals that they refuse to disclose to the public?
    Sorry about the very long run on sentence but I hope you got my point.
    As a society we have certain responsibilities that individuals do not.
    You make choices on an individual basis in your role as a law enforcement officer.
    What you do is the result of the decisions our society has made.
    We need to be aware of the real reasons for why we're making these decisions and not just go off of knee jerk reactions.

    John Oliver pretty much nails it,

  19. omega

    omega Very Tilted

    Red, if you look back at my second response then you'll see that I think there are deep seated problems with the death penalty as it is currently applied. But I still think it is a potentially useful tool. I don't think that a couple botched executions is a reason to throw it out. Those are engineering problems. Fix it and move on. I wouldn't cry if the death penalty were legislated out of existence either, though. It's a tool.
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Shadowex3

    Shadowex3 Very Tilted

    I was using the genderless "him" mainly because it worked best in the sentence compared to trying to fit in a singular "them". Speaking statistically though it may as well be gendered since women are about twenty times less likely to get the death penalty than men for the same crime, assuming they were convicted in the first place which is also many times less likely.

    And then of course there's the racial disparity on top of that. "Try not to be black" is the best advice you can give people sometimes.