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  1. Devshed God 1st Plane (5500 - 5999 posts)

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    Death and the law


    The US supreme court is not going to consider the validity of imposing a death penalty, but whether or not the method of execution is humane.

    Is the method too painful to inflict on a person during the last half-hour or so of their life?

    Has anyone considered the pain, and temporal longevity of the pain, that these people have inflicted upon their victims?

    Ignore, for the moment, that we might be executing innocent people. If such is the case, the emphasis needs to be directed to the conviction process, not the execution process. The pain endured by an innocent person sentenced to die is probably much more severe than the pain of the actual execution. Just guessing, of course.

    I'm also guessing (no scientific facts here, folks) that hanging is generally much more painful. The effectiveness of a firing squad (pain-wise) probably depends a lot on marksmanship. Electrocution? Who knows? Are we setting afire a live person's head, or a dead person's head?

    Flayed alive and staked on an ant bed is probably not ideal. Beheading by sword is also probably dependent on skill. Maybe the guillotine was the answer, after all.

    The benefits of stoning probably all accrued to the rock-throwers. Stress relief, the last good deed of the target.

    I think any "humane" advances we have made in our methods of killing those we don't want around have evolved from personal sensitivities, and not from high-court rulings.

    The important question is not "how", but "if" (and "why?").

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    hanging is generally much more painful.
    Sometimes; most of the time you are knocked-out when floor gives away and you don't feel a thing.
    The benefits of stoning probably all accrued to the rock-throwers
    Let him who is without sin cast the first stone

    Personally, I think that killing is never "humane." It is why it is there. Humane killing is the biggest oxymoron I have ever heard. If we have to do it is a better question than how we do it. The death penalty doesn't really stop crimes, or lower them. I would think all it does is help "console" the victim's families. If we did to others what they did to get there, we would be raping rapists and burning down arsonist's houses. It may just be me, but I see it as a pointless thing. Life in prison is worse than death to a lot of people. Never seeing your loved ones again, never getting freedom, I would prefer death to that.

    But if it comes down, and we do have the death penalty, I really couldn't say what the most "humane killing method" would be.
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    Devshed Supreme Being (6500+ posts)

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    Couldn't they inject them with an overdose of really good barbiturates? I'm not sure why they use the cocktail they do.
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    Vets use a single dose of barbituates, 'Lint, and it seems to work for them.

    As for killing versus imprisonment, if we didn't hand out twenty years worth of free, automatic appeals, death would be a money-saver for the taxpayers. As it is, it's a moot point.

    The real rub, omitted from this thread by disclaimer in the original post, is the conviction of innocent people. DNA tests and "innocence" organizations have shown that "justice" is not a given.

    When I hear the term, "Criminal Justice System", I think twice about the adjective.
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    Devshed Novice (500 - 999 posts)

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    What if the criminals were sent to some sort of deserted island or even a desert as punishment? Somewhere Like Jurrasic Park.

    Comments on this post

    • bigSeth agrees : That is funny because you're from Australia!
    • f'lar agrees : Thanks for pointing that out, bigSeth. That makes this imo the funniest comment this year, and I almost missed it :)
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    I think the answer involves another question, "why would you wish to inflict pain on anyone?" Even if they are 'just' going to be (hopefully) rightfully killed by the state on behlaf of its citizenry there is no need to do so. Wilful inflicting of pain implies enjoyment of doing so and why would anyone (in their right mind) wish to do that?
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    Originally Posted by SimonJM
    Wilful inflicting of pain implies enjoyment of doing so and why would anyone (in their right mind) wish to do that?
    Food animals undoubtedly suffer more in the slaughterhouse than a criminal suffers on the lethal injection table. If you feel satified eating meat and hunting deer, it should be a cinch to extend to extend the feeling to humans whose continued existence is harmful to everyone, right?
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    Originally Posted by benno32
    What if the criminals were sent to some sort of deserted island or even a desert as punishment? Somewhere Like Jurrasic Park.
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    The argument being debated now is whether it's "cruel and unusual"

    Cruel or not, I must say most of the methods on the table for execution presently are certainly unusual.
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  19. Devshed God 1st Plane (5500 - 5999 posts)

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    Unusual seems clear: not usual or common or ordinary. The three-drink cocktail seems fairly common, nowadays.

    If the problem is under-dosage, why not, as you say, just overdose substantially.
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    I think unusual, in this context, was to prevent a specific criminal from being singled out for special treatment. If the method is spelled out in law or regulation and consistent, even if rarely applied, it's okay (at least in the sense of being usual); cruel you could argue...
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    Regarding whether or not the death penalty is 'humane': that's not really the issue. The problem is the same as for the word 'cruel'. Of course the death penalty is cruel. But all punishment is to some extent cruel. That's why it's punishment. The question is whether it's overly cruel in relation to the crime.

    In the same way, of course the methods used to apply the death penalty are in-humane. But that's the point. The question isn't, "What's the most humane way to kill a person?" That would be too easy: there is no humane way to kill a person. Even if it's physically painless the psychological torture would be incredible. The real question is, "Which is the least in-humane way to kill a person?"
    Last edited by f'lar; January 7th, 2008 at 03:03 PM.
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    By unusual I was meaning, in English, unusual. I can't recall the last time I saw someone getting murdered by a three drug IV cocktail while strapped down to a gurney while walking down the street. I suspect even in high crime areas with high murder rates this is not the normal procedure.

    But enough of semantics.

    This all starts with two death row inmates. Each of them killed two people. Presumably none of the victims had "death with dignity" and the details certainly would seem to indicate it was not painless. Nor did the victims have the supreme court on hand to prolong their death while the details were worked out.

    Perhaps then, we should be going the other direction. Death by chicken processing plant assembly line. Ever see how chickens come by their demise in these facilities? And the only crime they ever committed was being designated for our dinner plates.
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  27. Devshed God 1st Plane (5500 - 5999 posts)

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    Personally, I don't hold life to be sacred (except for my own, of course).

    If a person's life goals are detrimental to society as a whole (difficult to measure, I admit), then just toss them out. The remaining question is, "How to toss." One might opt for the most "humane" manner, or one might rightly opt for pain commensurate with the crime. I think an argument could be made for either view.

    The question regarding chickens is both interesting and germane. Even those chickens who are granted a longer lifetime (we like eggs) are treated in a very unnatural manner, chickenly speaking. They are confined and restrained to a point that would drive a cognitive human insane.

    One wonders, sometimes, how all this relates to human exploitation. Consider human surrogate mothers. A surrogate mother gets implanted and gives up a certain amount of freedom and comfort in order to provide a product. It IS a product. It is so much a product that it is being outsourced to areas where it can be produced more cheaply than it can be, local to a first-world country.

    I think these mothers are "laying chickens." Obviously, they undergo a certain amount of pain and discomfort, and are often "confined" to a certain extent. What do these "chickens" think? Many, maybe most, think that it's a boon. They might earn 10-15 years worth of income for nine or so months of discomfort and pain.

    I think that this suggests that many of us, on the whole, are unthinking and cruel. I would suggest that "unthinking" is probably the most inhumane part of the duo.
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    Originally Posted by sizablegrin
    The effectiveness of a firing squad (pain-wise) probably depends a lot on marksmanship.
    Just get a robot to control the gun. 10 people could press a button and only one button starts the time delayed firing sequence. To me, this seems like an inexpensive and mostly pain free (minus psychological trauma from knowing that your brains are about to be smeared across the wall) and the robot wouldn't miss the vital head shot.

    You could even get the robot to play the Unreal Tournament "Headshot" audio clip after the shot it fired.[/ end bad joke]

    Comments on this post

    • sizablegrin disagrees : Yeah, these robots are a dime a dozen. Hell, I don't even have to do my own dishes anymore.
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