Disclaimer: I am neither for nor against the death penalty. I just think the way we do it is dumb, and if we’re going to do it, we might as well be smarter about it.
I don’t understand this nation’s mentality on executing prisoners.
Let me clarify that. I don’t understand why:
1) we must insist on executing people in “humane” ways
2) how we decided that a three chemical lethal injection is the most humane way to do it.
Let’s not kid ourselves or sugar-coat what we’re doing: The goal of an execution is that the convict will die. We, as a society, have deemed an individual unfit to continue drawing breath. We are killing them. There is nothing humane about that. This is not to say it is not justified, simply that it is not humane, so why do we insist that it be done in a humane way? Why should they not be allowed to suffer during their death? Hundreds of thousands of perfectly decent people in this country who are innocent of any crime lose their life to cancer every year. If these decent people have to suffer unimaginable pain for months or even years before dying, why should we strive to ensure that a serial rapist or murderer doesn’t even suffer for half an hour when we are stripping them of their last breath?
If an individual has done something so terrible that society deems their continued existence to be a detriment to the human condition, let them suffer – they deserve it.
Even if you want to insist that we MUST be humane, how in the world did you decide that the current method of lethal injection is the optimal choice? Do you have any idea what is involved in the lethal injection?
You start by injecting them with a large dose of Sodium Thiopental or Pentobarbital. These are powerful opioids that, when administered correctly, render the convict unconscious within 30 seconds.
Next we inject them with Pancuronium Bromide. This is a powerful muscle relaxant. It chemically paralyzes nearly every muscle in your body, including your diaphragm (the muscle that pushes and pulls on your lungs to move air in and out).
Once they have been knocked out and paralyzed, so that they cannot feel they are dying, we inject them with Potassium Chloride, which stops the heart.
There are SOO many ways this could go wrong, and in every one of them, it becomes the single most horrifically painful way to be executed. It’s not just a “this can happen” situation, either. It does happen fairly regularly. That’s one of the biggest arguments used by activists trying to end the death penalty.
A vein gets missed, the wrong dosage gets used, they don’t wait long enough after the relaxant to start the KCl injection, etc. It’s a truly horrifying way to die. Personally, I’m ok with this, because like I said, they deserve it. But that’s not what society says – that’s not what society is ok with – so why do we do it that way?
If you REALLY think that serial rapists and child murderers deserve a painless death, and that chemical injection is the best method, just pump a pint of pure morphine into their veins. It will net the same result with zero possibility of “botching” the execution and causing the person suffering.
The most humane way I can think of to end a life? The quickest, most painless way to execute a prisoner? A strong arm and a sharp ax. One strong swing of a razor-sharp ax to the back of the neck will quickly sever the spinal column, making any sensation of pain impossible. A strong enough swing will take the head off entirely. Oh, but we can’t do that because that would be barbaric…even though the crimes we execute people for are limited to the most barbaric acts humanity can commit.
…it also has the added benefit of being considerably less expensive.