May 06, 2003
Incompetence Is Murder

I remember having a conversation with someone about whether lethal injection was any more "humane" than electrocution. In fact it is not. Especially when inept prison officials (I guess Executioner is not a desired job title) take an hour to find a suitable vein (often with the help of the victim), or when the intravenous needle is inserted pointing at the fingers instead of the heart, prolonging the ordeal, or when the straps that bound the victim were too tight, restricting the flow of chemicals. We're talking anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour of torturous pain.

Then again, neither gas nor electricity seem to be any more foolproof:

Jimmy Lee Gray died banging his head against a steel pole in the gas chamber while the reporters counted his moans (eleven, according to the Associated Press). Later it was revealed that the executioner, Barry Bruce, was drunk.

December 12, 1984.  Georgia. Alpha Otis Stephens.  Electrocution.  "The first charge of electricity ... failed to kill him, and he struggled to breathe for eight minutes before a second charge carried out his death sentence ..." After the first two minute power surge, there was a six minute pause so his body could cool before physicians could examine him (and declare that another jolt was needed).  During that six-minute interval, Stephens took 23 breaths.  A Georgia prison official said, "Stephens was just not a conductor" of electricity.

Posted by tmonkey at May 06, 2003 02:20 PM
Comments

I see. And you would have no problem with the death penalty if a suitably "humane" method could be reliably employed.

Posted by: Bill on May 6, 2003 10:27 PM

This one's for all the supporters of the death penalty who try to make themselves feel better by thinking that lethal injection or gassing is a "humane" method of extinguishing a human life. But I am with the rest of the civilized world in the opinion that putting people to death is barbaric, cruel, and conduct unbecoming of a civilized nation.

Posted by: tmonkey on May 6, 2003 10:43 PM

More on those crazy recorded executions in Georgia are here: http://www.soundportraits.org/on-air/execution_tapes/

[tmonkey: how come there's not a little button to make a word reference an url the way there is when you make an original entry? can we have that? or else email me the necessary bit of code to do it myself? i don't know from code but i can cut and paste like a banshee. thx.]

Posted by: Kio on May 7, 2003 12:07 PM

Where's Mr. Death when you need him?

Posted by: hirmes on May 7, 2003 12:52 PM

[kio: I'm not sure I know which little button you're referring to. But, I've set the comment formatting to "Textile" which is a plugin which allows you to mark up your entries without HTML. If you don't feel like doing standard HTML formatting for your links, you can use the following syntax to make text linkable:

linktexturl
Text within quotes followed with a colon and a URL (fully qualified or relative) will be formatted into a hyperlink. You can also add a title for the like this: linktext url.

So, using your post above as an example, you would type this:

More on those crazy recorded executions in Georgia are here http://www.soundportraits.org/on-air/execution_tapes/.

Which would appear like this:

More on those crazy recorded executions in Georgia are here.

Posted by: tmonkey on May 7, 2003 01:00 PM

NB: No space after the colon. Very important! so [linktext]:[url]

Posted by: tmonkey on May 7, 2003 01:06 PM

Also: for more information on formatting text with Textile, click here.

Posted by: tmonkey on May 7, 2003 01:14 PM

not that this is supposed to be a thread on the death penalty, but i do think that anyone that supports it believes that it should be quick and as painless as possible -- people who believe in life in prisonment believe in long torture, i think.

Posted by: phrisky on May 7, 2003 03:48 PM

Good point. But the arc is probably not long slow torture leading to a premature death, but long slow torture with the option for possible redemption and atonement.

Then death.

How do religious conservatives argue first for the moral legitimacy of the death penalty (which can be portrayed as playing God with another human being's life) and vehement opposition to abortion (on the grounds that life is sacred, playing God with another human being's life)?

Posted by: tmonkey on May 7, 2003 05:09 PM

to oversimplify, i think they think the death penalty is ok because the criminal willingly committed the crime, while abortion is wrong because the unborn child has done nothing.

in 1994 a law passed that said a federal death sentence cannot be carried out on a pregnant woman. then in 2000 the "Innocent Child Protection Act" (H.R. 4888) was passed that prohibits any state from executing a woman who "carries a child in utero," defined as "a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb."

Posted by: elia on May 7, 2003 07:56 PM

Imagine all those innocent sperms swimming around in the male scrotal sacs of those beyond-a-reasonable-doubt-guilty death row inmates. Tant pis.

Posted by: tmonkey on May 8, 2003 12:01 AM

to take this thread in a slightly different direction, check out the "executions" exhibition.

and on another side note, look for religious conservatives to hijak the lacie peterson case and demand scott peterson be charged with double homicide (wife + unborn child) in a roundabout way to overturn roe v. wade while giving someone the death sentence.

Posted by: elia on May 8, 2003 10:31 AM

elia: smokin' with the legal precendents and ramifications. i smell a J.D.!

Posted by: phrisky on May 8, 2003 02:12 PM

A) Tom ain't no JD. Unless you mean the other kind. B) They're already doing that with Lacie Peterson...in fact, the most gauling part of it in the days after her body was found was that some networks referred to the unborn child BY ITS INTENDED NAME. C) Speaking of gaul, Best Use of French Award goes to tmonkey.

Posted by: Kio on May 8, 2003 10:50 PM

true, i'm not a JD, but i did minor in legal studies for what it's worth...

Posted by: elia on May 9, 2003 09:47 AM

b/t/w "J.D." also means Juvenille Delinquent. Tom tells me I am too cryptic, so there you go.

Posted by: Kio on May 9, 2003 11:57 AM

Speaking of precedents (and chipping away at Roe v Wade), Jeb Bush has asked a court to appoint a guardian for the fetus of a 22-year old mentally disabled rape victim. I personally think Jeb should be charged with caring for the fetus.

Posted by: tmonkey on May 16, 2003 10:36 AM

hmm...i smell a sit-com.

Posted by: elia on May 16, 2003 11:31 AM

Yeah, they could call it "Fetal Position".

Posted by: tmonkey on May 16, 2003 11:47 AM

I HAVE TO POINT OUT TO EVERYONE WHO THINKS IT'S INHUMANE WHEN THESE PROBLEMS WHATEVER THEY MY BE OCCUR DURING A DEATH SENTENCE.... WHAT ABOUT THE VICTIMS THEY KILLED WERE THOSE PEOPLE'S RIGHTS AND FEELINGS CARED ABOUT BY THESE KILLERS? WE KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT. THESE PEOPLE DESERVE WHAT THEY GET. yOU DON'T WANT TO DIE IN A GAS CHAMBER, ELECTRIC CHAIR ETC.... THEN DON'T KILL PEOPLE. TOO BAD, THEY DESERVE TO FEEL THE SAME PAIN THEY INFLECTED OR WORSE!

Posted by: SAMSPADE on October 8, 2004 04:20 PM

Death Row Inmate No More, Texan Walks Free to a New Life
By MAUREEN BALLEZA

HOUSTON, Oct. 7 - On Aug. 4, 1987, Ernest Ray Willis was sentenced to death. On Wednesday afternoon, he stepped out of prison a free man and into the arms of his wife, Verilyn, touching her for the first time, on their fourth wedding anniversary.

"It's great to be free," Mr. Willis said at a news conference Thursday morning, flanked by his wife and lawyers. "I can't even describe my emotions. It was the most wonderful day of my life."

His time on death row, 17 years, is believed to be the longest of the eight death row inmates who have been exonerated in Texas since executions resumed here in 1982. Since that year, the state has executed 328 inmates, the most recent on Wednesday, hours after Mr. Willis's release.

Posted by: dbrown on October 8, 2004 07:02 PM

Kill 'em all & let God sort them out. They are not in jail for singing too loud in church, they are there for MURDER. Fry them, shoot them, posion them, cut their heads off, JUST DO IT.

Posted by: rob on March 2, 2005 01:45 PM

DUDE THAT GUY IS MESSED UP.

Posted by: Bob on January 20, 2006 02:03 PM
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