It’s Almost As If It’s a Metaphor for the Entire GOP

Way to go, Tennessee:

On Thursday, Tennessee’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, signed into law a bill that allows for electrocution if the drugs for lethal injection are not available. The governor has not elaborated on his reasoning. But his spokesman, David Smith, said in an email that the bill had passed overwhelmingly in the Tennessee General Assembly, with the legislature feeling strongly “that the state should have an alternative option if lethal injection was not available.”

Electricity, by contrast, is never in short supply.

Tennessee’s decision is breathtakingly regressive, according to Deborah W. Denno, a professor at Fordham University School of Law and a national expert on capital punishment. States have historically gone to new methods of execution, she said, from hanging to electrocution, to lethal gas, to lethal injection.

“But they’re going backwards,” Ms. Denno said of Tennessee. “They’re going back to using a method of execution that was basically rejected because it was so problematic. That’s never happened before.”

“But they’re going backwards” pretty much describes every single Republican policy and social position. And why is killing people such a priority for Republicans?

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

88 replies
  1. 1
    wmd says:

    And why is killing people such a priority for Republicans?

    Because they’re Pro-Life of course!

  2. 2
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Bring back stonings!

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    But of course it’s soshalist renawable ‘lectricity from the TVA’s dams. Surely that’s not ideologically pure enough for the GOP. Or did the legislature specify that privately-owned generators fired with coal be used?

  4. 4
    rikyrah says:

    well, the European drug companies won’t let them use their drugs for state sponsored execution anymore..

    next stop – firing squad.

  5. 5
    Poopyman says:

    @rikyrah: I believe that’s still on the books in Utah. At least it was for Gary Gilmore.

  6. 6
    scav says:

    @rikyrah: Socialist companies shoving their “morals” down other people’s throats, who do they think they are? That’s not how (or who) the invisible free hand is supposed to slap!

  7. 7
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Oh, shit. Not regressive enough. Bring back the headsman! Big burly guy in a black hood with a huge axe, doesn’t need to be double bladed, but should be highly polished. Preferably in a World of Warcraft orc costume. Let’s get serious about this.

    In the alternative, tumbrels for every asshole who voted for this, along with the Governor. Let’s see how they like the shoe on their foot!

  8. 8
    Elizabelle says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Bring back stonings!

    You say in jest.

    Personally, I don’t understand why a party in thrall to the gun lobby isn’t just going back to firing squads. That’s good guys with guns, right?

    Time to ban the death penalty. Life without parole is plenty.

  9. 9
    Elizabelle says:

    @Poopyman:

    Shot through the Heart.

    Terrific memoir by his younger brother, Mikal Gilmore.

  10. 10
    RandomMonster says:

    Republicans long for a return to the good ol’ days when we burned people at the stake.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    To be fair, there are still black people in Tennessee. What’s the legislature supposed to do? Not execute them?

  12. 12
    Botsplainer says:

    Fucking Tennessee again, the place that had widespread conditions resembling the third world ruralities well into the 1970s, until a half century of heavy government intervention and government investment took hold.

    Bootstrappers, my fucking ass.

  13. 13
    srv says:

    Damn liberal Governor trying to solve a problem more humanely…

    We could do this all more cheaply and reliably. Auction off the rights for an execution to gun manufacturers and shooters. The NRA could qualify the standards for equipment and shooters. Problem solved.

  14. 14
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Stoning is for pussies – bring back the Blood Eagle.

    Or, hell, crucifixion. They’re trying to drag us back to the Bronze Age in everything else, so why not?

  15. 15
    🌷 Martin says:

    Like I said before, methods of execution have nothing to do with being humane. They are chosen in order to differentiate (and legitimize) state sponsored killing from mob rule killing (lynching). They don’t particularly care if its problematic so long as it preserves the legitimacy of the state being able to kill people.

  16. 16
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Well lets be honest folks, the people of Tennessee will not lose sleep if Ole Sparky is brought back, I woud say if people were forced to watch public executions maybe the blood lust would subside, but Tennessee was the birth place of the KKK and lynching, it would turn into a spectacle

  17. 17
    Botsplainer says:

    @srv:

    Damn liberal Governor trying to solve a problem more humanely…

    We could do this all more cheaply and reliably. Auction off the rights for an execution to gun manufacturers and shooters. The NRA could qualify the standards for equipment and shooters. Problem solved.

    Like those canned hunts that chubby Southern white males seem to love so much, that cut down on that awful exercise. Have them be inside a 1 acre enclosure, wooded, and you could even televise it.

  18. 18
    Poopyman says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee:

    Tennessee was the birth place of the KKK and lynching, it would turn into return to a spectacle

    Fixed.

  19. 19
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Poopyman: Yup. The good professor shouldn’t have said that it’s “never happened before”.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/a.....squad.html

    According to Wikipedia, Utah firing squads were eliminated (again) in 2004 (except for those who chose it before then).

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  20. 20
    Gene108 says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Stonings? It is a start, but I say go with public crucifixions!

    The lack of public execution has led to people having loose morals!

    Crucifixion will both serve to remind us that America is a Christian nation and force people to act according to Church teachings.

  21. 21
    LanceThruster says:

    @wmd:

    That fetus could be food for ‘Ol Sparky!’

  22. 22
    scav says:

    Christ, it seems on their most characteristic days, in parts of this country, one could probably eliminate the income tax and run the state off lottery money alone if the prize was getting to shoot the prisoner personally — especially if they got to stuff them with ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder first. “More Bang For The Buck!” “Just Like the CGI / SFX in Movies and Videogames!” ‘To see trees blow up is pretty fun.’

  23. 23
    karen says:

    And why is killing people such a priority for Republicans?

    Because viagra is expensive and they have to get hard-ons somehow!

    Soylent Green anyone?

  24. 24
    Judge Crater says:

    Republicans are the party of FEAR. Their foreign policy is based on fear of Russians and Chinese and the global caliphate.

    Their domestic policy is based on fear of immigrants and colored people and non-christians and things that go bump in the night. Listen to Wayne LaPierre and you get the full flavor of their paranoia.

    Not having a way to execute people is as bad as not having a gun under the pillow. Tennessee would be naked in its battle against evil and all the scary demons they hear about on Fox News.

  25. 25
    FDRLincoln says:

    A firing squad of 12 qualified marksmen with accurate high powered rifles aimed at the heart would be more humane than the electric chair in my opinion. Very quick and certainly less chance for a horrifically painful electrocution botch.

    Or how about give someone a powerful sleeping pill (say three ambiens) and put them in a guillotine.

    I am opposed to the death penalty on both moral and practical grounds, but if you HAVE to have it, there are better ways than the chair or the gas chamber or the needle.

  26. 26
    danielx says:

    Hoocoodanode?

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Don’t give them any ideas; the Christian Dominionists are already into that shit.

  27. 27
    jheartney says:

    Stonings? Headsmen? Amateurs. Bring back the Breaking Wheel. Those being executed could stay alive for days.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Tehanu says:

    Maybe the next time they use the chair it will do what it kept doing before, which is why they stopped using it: set the victim’s body on fire. And if it does, maybe even the Tennesseans will be horrified. Not that I would count on that.

  30. 30
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Looks to me like Governor Haslam considers the words “cruel and unusual” to be an endorsement. There have been a number of executions by electric chair where the inmate was simply cooked, not electrocuted.

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @gnomedad: I like the idea of a crushinator, although George Lucas may demand a royalty for each batch of prisoners crushed.

  32. 32
    The Pale Scot says:

    I gotta say, once in a while irrational theocratic rule gets something right.

    If only our god botherers had a clue.

    Iran hangs billionaire over $2.6b bank fraud

    Edit:

    “Khosravi’s lawyer, Gholam Ali Riahi, was quoted by news website khabaronline.ir as saying that his client was put to death without any notice.

    “I had not been informed about execution of my client,” Riahi said. “All the assets of my client are at the disposal of the prosecutor’s office.”

    Nothing but net.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    Elizabelle says:

    Where are the dinosaurs when you need them?

    Velociraptor? T Rex? Take your pick.

  35. 35
    jimmiraybob says:

    The guillotine, although now thought of as grizzly and barbaric, was introduced as a more humane form of execution than the other extant popular forms of execution that were generally preceded by a fair bit of really mind-numbingly brutal torture. And it’s been a couple of centuries of trying to find even more humane methods. It’s something of a comfort to know that TN, and movement/Tea conservatism in general, have quit a bit of work to do to roll us back to the good old days of law and order enforced by completely inhumane executions preceded by really mind-numbingly brutal torture.

    Could take them years.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    Punchy says:

    How about set the guy free in a forest and auction off the ability to hunt and shoot said prisoner to the highest bidding hunter? Like an outdoor version of “Running Man”?

  38. 38
    JGabriel says:

    “But they’re going backwards” pretty much describes every single Republican policy and social position. And why is killing people such a priority for Republicans?

    I don’t know, but since the GOP is such a grand supporter of open carry, I think they should permit open carry at all their conventions from here on out, especially the presidential conventions. Anything else would be hypocrisy, and the Tea Party and NRA should call them on it.

    I mean, what has AMERICA become if you can’t open carry at a Republican convention? FASCIST COMMIES I tell you, that’s what! Goddamn fascist commies!

    STORM THE GOP CONVENTION GATES, PATRIOTS! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR GUNS!

  39. 39
    scav says:

    Can’t help but think of the bald guy at work that during one memorable week A) buttonholed me in the cafeteria about the sheer inhumanity of the Saudis for executing people (women even!) with swords and B) went off on a rant waiting for the bus about how he’d personally torture Osama and what the hell was wrong with me for looking at him funny! Granted, I was already on pretty thin ice with skinny bald man having pointed out that a fondness for capital punishment was one of the US’s greater similarities with the Middle East rather than Europe.

  40. 40

    There was a documentary a few years back about the guy who built Tennessee’s electric chair. He was an advocate, said it was more humane than lethal injection. He was quite passionate about it. He was also quite a nutball.

    Wish I could remember the name of it but some of you may have heard of it.

    But hey, if you want regressive, how about Utah? A state rep there wants to bring back firing squads.

  41. 41
    Crusty Dem says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I’ve long been a supporter of the trebuchet as a method of execution. Alternatively, a kinder (though similar in action, but considerably less messy) contraption has already been designed:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euthanasia_Coaster

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Southern Beale:

    According to Mikal Gilmore’s book (which, like Elizabelle, I read), there are religious reasons why Utah had firing squads. Apparently there’s a concept in LDS where you have to “spill blood” to get redemption after a crime, and the Gilmores were raised Mormon.

    (Great book, but holy crap it was depressing. That whole family was a nest of mental illness and abuse and Mikal was lucky their father died before he could really start dealing out the severe abuse that Mikal’s older brothers got.)

  43. 43
    Cacti says:

    Reality and the Onion are starting to converge.

    From America’s Finest News Source:

    Ohio Replaces Lethal Injection With Humane New Head-Ripping-Off Machine

  44. 44
    Schlemizel says:

    @Gene108:
    BEN: Oh, you’ll probably get away with crucifixion.
    BRIAN: Crucifixion?!
    BEN: Yeah, first offence.
    BRIAN: Get away with crucifixion?! It’s–
    BEN: Best thing the Romans ever did for us.
    BRIAN: What?!
    BEN: Oh, yeah. If we didn’t have crucifixion, this country would be in a right bloody mess.

  45. 45
    Cacti says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    According to Mikal Gilmore’s book (which, like Elizabelle, I read), there are religious reasons why Utah had firing squads. Apparently there’s a concept in LDS where you have to “spill blood” to get redemption after a crime, and the Gilmores were raised Mormon.

    You are correct. It’s a holdover from brother Brigham Young’s doctrine of “blood atonement”.

    19th century Mormonism was a bit more Branch Davidian in its teachings.

  46. 46
    Amir Khalid says:

    @jimmiraybob:
    Nobody knows — or can know — if a particular method of execution is humane or not. You can’t tell whether a condemned person is unconscious during an execution with lethal drugs, or conscious and suffering but paralysed and unable to let anyone know. No one knows how long a human head survives post-decapitation; we’ve always just assumed you die right away. Hangings can be botched even by an experienced hangman, firing squads do sometimes fail to inflict an immediately lethal shot.

  47. 47
    Schlemizel says:

    @jimmiraybob:
    When beheading was done by hand it was a messy and some time multiple whack affair. Prisoners were ‘encouraged’ to bribe the executioner to be put at the front of the line or in other ways ensure sharp ax. It was not unheard of for people to need 3, 4 even 5 or more whacks either because the guy was not a good shot or he wanted to torture you. La machine removed all that and was, in a sad way much more humane.

    I would choose it over the chair or hanging if those were the only choices

  48. 48
    Cacti says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    No one knows how long a human head survives post-decapitation;

    Similar studies have been done on lab rats with the finding that the brain survived up to 29 seconds after being severed from the body.

  49. 49
    gnomedad says:

    I periodically see a wingnut meme about how child molesters should be executed. It’s as if, gee whiz, can’t we execute somebody for something? Clearly, if you have qualms about this, you must hate children, also, too.

  50. 50
    gnomedad says:

    I periodically see a wingnut meme about how child molesters should be executed. It’s as if, gee whiz, can’t we execute somebody for something? Clearly, if you have qualms about this, you must hate children, also, too.

  51. 51
    gnomedad says:

    Sorry about the double-post; what happened to the “oops” controls?

    ETA (irony noted): I see, they only appear when not needed.

  52. 52
    Cacti says:

    @gnomedad:

    I periodically see a wingnut meme about how child molesters should be executed. It’s as if, gee whiz, can’t we execute somebody for something? Clearly, if you have qualms about this, you must hate children, also, too.

    I’ll never forget how personally incensed Justice Scalia got when a majority of SCOTUS held that if you’re too young to vote, you’re too young to be sentenced to death.

    A veritable 21st century Torquemada.

  53. 53
    Schlemizel says:

    @gnomedad:
    I’m more concerned about the race to see who can design the most painful and horrific death in these cases. It seems a little too “don’t think I’D do something like that” on one hand while also trying to prove you are less human than the criminal. But complex thought is not these peoples specialty.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Anne Boleyn’s execution was delayed because Henry VIII had hired a well-known executioner from France who did his beheading with a sword instead of an axe and they had to wait for him to arrive. He apparently did his job in one swipe, just as advertised. Years later, Mary, Queen of Scots, was not nearly as lucky.

  55. 55
    gnomedad says:

    @Schlemizel:
    Yes, there’s that, too. The rest of the meme (in this case) is “we put vicious dogs to sleep, don’t we?” Yeah, well, we also put sick dogs to sleep. “But they should be treated like dogs!” Etc., etc.

    I think part of it is denial what we are all the same species and but for a bad gene and/or shitty childhood are all capable of horrible things. You wouldn’t kill or brutalize a human, therefore killing or brutalizing reassures you that your target is not human.

  56. 56
    gbear says:

    @Gene108: Crucifictions would last until the first convict said ‘Father forgive them for they don’t know what they do’. That would be the end of crucifictions.

    Wonkette’s picture for this electricutoin story stopped me dead in my tracks this morning. Horrid.

  57. 57
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Cacti:
    Could take a bit longer with a bigger animal e.g. a human. Even 29 seconds is not instantaneous enough.

  58. 58
    Schlemizel says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I have read that swords are better than axes for the job and that the Middle Eastern curved ones the set swords for the job. Not something I’d care to study though.

  59. 59
    Amir Khalid says:

    @gbear:
    I remember seeing the deliberately botched execution in The Green Mile which ended with the condemned man’s body in flames.

  60. 60
    Cacti says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Even 29 seconds is not instantaneous enough.

    Agreed.

    Watch 29 seconds tick off on your watch and you’ll see it’s not instantaneous at all.

  61. 61
    Bob In Portland says:

    Here’s something interesting about the Republican Party that doesn’t get discussed enough.

    The report – titled “Old Nazis, the New Right and the Reagan Administration: The Role of Domestic Fascist Networks in the Republican Party and Their Effect on U.S. Cold War Politics” – traces the evolution of the National Republican Heritage Groups Council, an umbrella organization of ethnic groups that grew out of Republican efforts to court those groups during the 1952 presidential campaign.

    It says that many council members and leaders are Eastern European emigres who were welcomed to the United States during the Cold War because of their anti-communism, even though many had collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II.

    This year, some council members became leaders of the Coalition of American Nationalities, a group established by George Bush’s presidential campaign to recruit support among ethnic voters.

    The Bush campaign’s original list of coalition members included more than 70 names, with their ethnic affiliations listed as Arab, Armenian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak and Ukrainian.

    Also:

    The Republican Heritage Groups Council “appears to have consciously recruited some of its members, and even some of its leaders, from an Eastern European emigre network which includes anti-Semites, racists, authoritarians and fascists, including sympathizers and collaborators of Hitler’s Third Reich, former Nazis and even possible war criminals,” the report says.

    You can read short bios of some of the guys who insinuated themselves into our political process. Apparently, herding people into people into buildings and setting them on fire has a long history among our allies in Eastern Europe.

  62. 62
    Anoniminous says:

    Had not a clue why I was seeing ads for Mormonism.

    Then I read the thread.

    If I click on the link does Mr. Cole get his own planet in the afterlife?

  63. 63
    Keith G says:

    Until the death penalty is finally abolished, it seems like opium alkaloids would be about the most humane way to accomplish this most inhumane act.

    Were it my execution (who knows, I may snap), I’d request a Xanax bar with a bourbon chaser. Then a pipe packed with opium. After that, the bulls would be free to attach me to a gurney and start the morphine drip.

  64. 64
    Rathskeller says:

    because as a group, they are deeply, profoundly afraid.

  65. 65
    Keith G says:

    Oh hell. I forgot that names of certain drugs puts one in moderation.

    Oh look! Bob is here and he’s typing about nazis. Quelle surprise.

  66. 66
    Schlemizel says:

    I thought it interesting that Mr. Smith was arrested for defrauding people using a physic scheme known as “glass-looking” in which he claimed to see things nobody else could. This was before he saw Moroni and invented a religion. He really needed a burning bush.

    @Anoniminous:

  67. 67
    Bob In Portland says:

    @Keith G: No, I’m writing about Republicans who happen to be Nazis. But if you think it’s a good idea to avert your eyes, go right ahead.

  68. 68
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @Southern Beale: Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. directed by Errol Morris.

    Another data point for the banality of evil.

  69. 69
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Botsplainer: Might as well go for broke and make a prime time game show of it.

  70. 70
    rikyrah says:

    For Chris Christie’s White House dreams, the final straw: Moran

    By Tom Moran/ Star-Ledger Editorial Board

    on May 21, 2014 at 7:00 PM, updated May 22, 2014 at 8:22 AM

    Mark this week on your calendar as a turning point in the drama of
    Chris Christie, the moment when his presidential ambitions were finally snuffed out, once and for all.

    His landmark achievement, the pension reform of 2011,
    just tumbled down into ruins like that statue of Saddam Hussein that was toppled by metal cables back in 2003. It’s over. He’s done.

    Bridgegate was strike one. And that will get worse as key players scramble to save their necks by offering testimony to prosecutors.

    Jobs are strike two. Remember when he was a rookie governor, and a cocky Christie taunted other governors about luring their jobs away? It turns out the jobs have moved in the other direction.

    New Jersey has replaced only 40 percent of the jobs lost in the Great Recession, less than half the national average, and way behind all our neighbors. The state’s bond rating is now America’s third-worst. We are the basket case of the region, and a contender for the national title.

    The collapse of the pension reform is strike three. Because this was this governor’s landmark achievement, the heart of his appeal. He was supposed to be the magician who came to Trenton, knocked some heads together and cleaned up the fiscal mess.

    http://www.nj.com/opinion/inde.....cart_river

  71. 71
    Bob In Portland says:

    More on these emigre groups that the Republican Party weaved into American politics:

    In the United States, when they came, his groups organized ‘captive nations’ committees, they became, supposedly, the representatives of people who are being oppressed in Eastern Europe, the Baltic countries, by the Soviet. But they were, in fact, being given an uncritical blank check to represent the voices of all these nations that were part of the Warsaw Pact when in fact they represented the most extreme elements of each of the national communities.

    The Captive Nations Committee in Washington DC for instance was run by the person who headed the Ukrainian organization of nationalists, that was true in a number of places. In my hometown area near Detroit as well, they played a major role. In the early 50s, when they were resettled in the United States, there was at least 10,000 of them that were resettled, when you look at all the nationalities. They became politically active through the Republican national committee, because it was really the Eisenhower administration that made the policy decision in the early 1950s, and brought them in. They set up these campaign organizations, every four years they would mobilize for the Republican candidate, whoever it would be, and some of them like Richard Nixon, in 1960, actually had close direct ties to some of the leaders like the Romanian Iron Guard, and some of these other groups.

    When Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968, he made a promise to these leaders that they would if he won the presidency he would make them the ethnic outreach arm of the Republican National Committee on a permanent basis, so they wouldn’t be a quadrennial presence, but a continuing presence in the Republican Party. And he made that promise through a guy named Laszlo Pasztor, who served five years in prison after World War II for crimes against humanity. He was prosecuted in 1946 by non-Communist government that actually had control of Hungary at the time. There was a period from ’45 to ’48 when the Hungarian Communist Party didn’t run Hungary. They were the ones who prosecuted him. He had served as a liaison between the Hungarian Nazi party and Berlin; he served in the Berlin embassy of the Hungarian Arrow Cross movement. This is the guy that got picked to organize all the ethnic groups, and the only people that got brought in were the Nazi collaborators.

    They didn’t have a Russian affiliate because they hated all Russians of all political stripes. There were no African Americans or Jewish affiliates either. It was just composed of these elements, and for a while they had a German affiliate but some exposure of the Nazi character of the German affiliate caused it to be quietly removed, but other [Nazi] elements were retained.

    Read it all to understand connections to what is happening today.

  72. 72
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    If they go with burning at the stake they could probably get teabagger asshole John Schnatter to sponsor them.

    Better accelerants, better executions!

    Papa John’s!

  73. 73
    raven says:

    Check out The Widow of St. Pierre.

  74. 74
    El Caganer says:

    You’d think with all the sweaty man-love the wingnuts have for Vlad, they’d be advocating the knout.

  75. 75
    J R in WV says:

    I used to think beheading was the way to go, but the prospect of eye-blinking heads with no body attached makes me squirm…

    I’ve decided the application of drugs is best, but not the current brute-force application of lethal poison. The whole point of poison is that you die in agony, that’s what makes them poison after all. To avoid the need for moderation, I’m gonna misspell some words here, so just assume [SIC] in the proper places.

    First, in the cell, a Xanacks or 2 with a shot of jim beam. Then in public, the application of fentanil patches, as needed, on the prisoner’s back. Then just wait for him to stop breathing.

    If this has any negatives, it might be that the prisoner barfs, which is so much better than showers of blood or smoking and exploding heads.

    Of course, the prisoner might actually enjoy getting too high at the end of life, but the point isn’t to torture him to death, just to kill him humanely, right?

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    If any front-pagers are around, it might be nice for the non-morbid to have an open thread that’s not about murder or executions. KTHXBAI.

    (I’m morbid as hell, but I recognize that most people aren’t like me.)

  77. 77

    @J R in WV:

    Of course, the prisoner might actually enjoy getting too high at the end of life, but the point isn’t to torture him to death, just to kill him humanely, right?

    Well now, that depends on who you ask. Comment threads at a couple of other places after that botched execution were pretty horrifying.

  78. 78
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    This this this.

  79. 79
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @Amir Khalid: Cecil at The Straight Dope covered decapitation a while ago:

    Is it possible? The aforementioned Dr. Fink believed the brain might remain conscious as long as 15 seconds; that’s how long cardiac arrest victims last before blacking out. (Dr. Fink’s colleague put the window of awareness at 5 seconds.) He also pointed out that people have remained alert after having had their spinal cords severed. Still, this didn’t seem like the sort of question that could ever be resolved.

    Then I received a note from a U.S. Army veteran who had been stationed in Korea. In June 1989 the taxi he and a friend were riding in collided with a truck. My correspondent was pinned in the wreckage. The friend was decapitated. Here’s what happened:

    I’ll leave the rest for interested readers. :-(

    HTH.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  80. 80
    Chyron HR says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    Oh, man, America is full of Nazis, too? You should ask Mr. Putin if you can borrow one of his Attack Helicopters of +5 Anti-Fascism.

  81. 81
    RaflW says:

    Why is killing people such a priority for Republicans?

    Power. Blunt, extreme power & its frequent, intimidating exercise. See also, “bomb Iran” et al.

  82. 82
    gian says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I’m probably late to the party, and all, but google “blood atonement” the Utah peeps have a Mormon reason for firing squads.

  83. 83
    bad Jim says:

    I took a judo class in college, and one move we were taught, drawing the collars of the robe across the carotid arteries, induced unconsciousness immediately. It’s called a “sleeper hold” in police parlance. Given the brain’s prodigious appetite for oxygen, I’m skeptical that it could continue to function at all without a fresh blood supply.

    Ripping the head off isn’t particularly difficult, in fact I’ve heard it happens regularly in “humane” hanging (British style, not the suspension hanging that Iran uses). The hangman has to calculate the length of rope to use based on the subject’s weight: too short a drop produces strangulation, too long a drop decapitation, which, though arguably humane, tends to disturb the audience.

    Somewhere (in an L.A. Times op-ed?) a physician discussed the issue, and lamented that the people conducting executions had never cracked an introductory text on anesthesiology. It’s pretty easy to kill people painlessly, it seems; there’s an entire group of professionals whose work involves skirting that eventuality.

    Yes, I’m tinkering with the machinery of death, but I’m an engineer, not a Supreme Court Justice.

  84. 84
    gian says:

    @bad Jim:
    the tough nut to crack is the prisoner who killed to get in prison, and kills again when in prison.

    as far as “humane” if you’re going to kill people I tend to think either enough opiates or simply enough C4 and a remote. I don’t imagine that less than a .10 second while vaporized involves much suffering

    the whole debate reminds me of the movie “unforgiven” and the line “deserve’s got nothing to do with it”

  85. 85
    Fred says:

    Right after Sandy Hook and before I had heard about it I happened to call an old friend who is quite the conservative. She imediately started going on about execution and she didn’t care how the SOB was abused as a child or…!!!
    Of course this was all before anybody had a clue as to who did this or even what had happened other than a lot of kids had been shot.
    I can understand the emotion and even the logic of execution, though I don’t think it’s wise but I can entertain the debate. But it is frightening to hear someone I care about raging for blood over even a pretense of reason.

    I’m reminded of the Iranian woman who took the noose off of the neck of the murderer of her son. I think forgiveness may lift more burden from the forgiver than the forgiven.

  86. 86
    Jado says:

    I think it’s a holdover from the violent racist coercion times – if they can only beat or kill enough people, then the leftovers will fall in line and things will all go back to the way it used to be. And if you don’t think that’s the way things used to be, just ask John Lewis what his childhood was like. The Jim Crow south PROVES that death and violence work, even if it eventually it all erupts into fire hoses and attack dogs and a bridge in Selma before it all goes away.

    Of course, if they REALLY want it to work, then they have to go back in time all the way to Treblinka and Sobibor. I am confident they will get there eventually…

  87. 87
    Paul in KY says:

    @Schlemizel: He did well with what he had.

  88. 88
    Paul in KY says:

    @J R in WV: It is supposed to be quick. Your way sounds like a drawn-out dope party that ends badly :-)

Comments are closed.