Tuesday, May 01, 2007

lethal injections

Dr Jay Chapman, the guy who invented the currently in use lethal injection cocktail thinks that it may be time for an upgrade. A couple of states have already held the injection to be cruel and unusual punishment. One of the recently departed asked, sometime after being given the injection, if there might not be a way to speed up the process. It seems that the injections are, at times, much more slow moving than everyone thought. Sometimes the inmates slowly suffocate. One of the problems in the cocktail is pancoromium bromaide, which paralyzes all muscles, including those needed to breath, making death slower and quite painful. when asked by a reporter why he included pancronium bromaide in the first place, Dr Chapman replied, "that's a good question, maybe I should have left it out."

It is a lot tougher to kill people painlessly than it would seem. One way to do it would be to make sure that they were completely unconscious before killing them. All that would take would be carbon monoxide. You'd just kind of drift off and then they could dispose of you pretty much any way they wanted. We could also do the executions in anyone's garage, with the door shut. Of course that would cut down on the witnesses.

I'm not upset with Dr Chapman. He had the best of intentions. After a Utah firing squad killed Gary Gilmore in 1976 ("let's do it"), Chapman mentioned to some colleauges that we are much more merciful in putting animals away than people. Of course, few animals have committed a henious crime. But Chapman set out to do something that was more, not less, humane, which in this country is somewhat unusual. The most humane and painless way of all ? The guillotine. It's only bad politics that keeps us from using Madame Guillotine right now. It has a bad rap because of the French Revolution and Marie Antoinete. But really, it was fast, efficent and, as far as anyone knows, painless. But it will not be brought back because we never take a step back in technology. If we did, you'd have a fucking telephone in your house that you could actually hear out of, instead of one of those ultra light, hollow, p.o.s. that they sell to us these days.

Of course there is the other side of the argument. Just because something hurts a little, does that really make it "cruel and unusual" ? Remember, the phrase is "cruel AND unusual. Not Cruel OR Unusual. It may be cruel to hand someone a fist full of live wires and watch an electric spark shoot through his head, but it's not that unusual, people get electrocuted all of the time. 50,000 people die in car accidenets every year. How unusual would it be to tie a guy up in the middle of a road and give the keys to a car to a drunk driver ? There would be some poetic justice in that.Maybe we should not be making it so easy on these murderers.

At any rate, it seems that the current lethal injection cocktail is about to go the way of the hangman. It has had its day. That makes it wide open for the next execution device.Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door. Hmmm, a giant mouse trap.......

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