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On the morning of May 23, 1701, Captain William Kidd found himself kneeling alongside a motley assortment of unwashed felons in the chapel of London’s notorious Newgate Prison, being lectured by a man of God about the atrophied condition of his immortal soul. In front of Kidd was an empty coffin, propped up as a needless reminder of the fact that he was to be led to his death by hanging within a few hours. While doubtlessly affected, Kidd’s emotions were probably blunted to some degree by the smuggled bottle of rotgut he had downed earlier that morning in an attempt to anesthetize himself for that afternoon’s festivities. After being forced to participate in the ritual acknowledgement of their impending damnation, Kidd and his unfortunate piratical fellows were led down to the banks of the River Thames and the ever so subtly named Execution Dock. Reserved specifically for those convicted of piracy, Execution Dock was slightly crueler and more unusual than your average scaffold as the hangings were performed with a shortened rope designed not to break the neck of the prisoner, ensuring a slow and agonizing death by strangulation.

Thus, with ample knowledge of the stark reality of his impending asphyxiation, Captain Kidd was led to the gallows, fitted with his noose and given one last chance to ask for forgiveness before he found himself hanged. After declining to publicly beg for salvation, the hangman ripped the trap door out from under Kidd’s feet and his substantial frame dropped through the opening at a speed of 9.8 meters a second and suspended him in the damp London air by nothing besides his Adam’s apple. Unfortunately for Kidd, the executioners had been a bit cavalier with their measurements when fitting him for his noose, which snapped under the strain of his prodigious heft, sending the Captain plummeting earthward to everyone’s great surprise. Kidd, who had understandably soiled himself after his impromptu journey, was weeping uncontrollably and quickly recanted his earlier stance on begging for forgiveness, imploring the crowd to show mercy on him. However, mercy being in short supply in the British criminal justice system at that time, Kidd was dragged back up to the scaffold again, rigged up with a studier noose and given the dubious distinction of being hanged twice in the course of one day. (1)

Somehow, I'm failing to see the humanity involved in lethal injection. At least in the gallows you got to die outside.

Fast forward to February 19th, 2013. 312 years after Kidd's barbaric double execution, in a state penitentiary in Jackson, Georgia, Warren Hill is given some Ativan to calm him down before being strapped to a gurney and wheeled into a public viewing room where he will be injected with a lethal dose of pentobarbitol and executed. Shortly after being given the sedative and just 30 minutes before his scheduled death by lethal injection, Hill is informed that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted him a stay of execution and that he will not be killed. Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Probably at some point in the near future. But not tonight. This was the second time in less than eight months that Hill had been pulled back from the brink of death by an 11th hour intervention by the courts, and it would not be his last.In July of 2013, Hill was spared the modern day gallows once again through a temporary stay of execution from the courts, this time a full 4 hours before he was scheduled to die.

The cruel and unusual disregard for the life of Warren Hill displayed by the State of Georgia would be bad enough if he were your average death row inmate in America, but it reaches another level of perversity and sickness when it's revealed that Warren Hill is mentally retarded. Hill, who has been diagnosed by numerous doctors as suffering from mild mental retardation, registers at the uppermost range of the  developmental disability diagnostic scale with an IQ of 70. While functioning at levels lower than 97% of the general population, individuals with mild mental retardation do not fit the typical mold of what the general public envisions when they think of the developmentally disabled.They are generally capable of holding down jobs requiring unskilled or semi-skilled labor, frequently get married and raise children, and are more similar in many ways to people of normal intelligence than they are to those suffering from moderate to severe mental retardation. The problems for this particular subset of the population center around social interaction and development, along with the ability to problem solve and regulate impulses.

The 53-year old was originally given a life sentence for the murder of his 18-year old girlfriend, but was moved on up to death row after he killed fellow inmate John Handspike in 1990 after, witnesses say, Handspike made a number or threatening sexual gestures towards Hill. Three forensic psychiatrists who testified at an evidentiary hearing in 2000, stating that Hill was fully mentally capable and should receive the death penalty, have recently come out as saying that they made a mistake in providing their diagnosis and that they were rushed during the original trial. These psychiatrists join 6 others who have openly given their medical opinion that Hill is developmentally disabled, along with a chorus of notable civil rights advocates that include none other than Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, who have requested on multiple occasions that the parole board commute Mr. Hill’s death sentence. However, that has proven to be a particularly tall order in Georgia as it is the only state in the union that places the burden of proof entirely on the defendant to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she is mentally retarded. Thus, we are stuck in a situation where almost everyone, including the judges overseeing the case, knows that Hill is mentally retarded, but find themselves unable to meet the inappropriately high burden of proof placed upon the defendant by Georgia law.

One would hope that this latest stay of execution by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals will turn into a permanent one, but Georgia’s track record isn’t too encouraging. The last prisoner that the State of Georgia executed was a man named Troy Davis who was accused of killing a police officer in 1989, but who maintained his innocence until his death and against whom there was no physical or DNA evidence. After refusing his last meal and the Ativan the prison tried to give him, Davis told the prison staff,  “May God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls,” before addressing the family of the deceased officer, apologizing for their loss but letting them know that he was not responsible for it. Ultimately the barbarism of the death penalty undermines any attempt to sanitize it. There is little difference between being hung from the gallows, being electrocuted and being pumped full of toxic chemicals. The end result is always the same and any amenities we provide the prisoner are more for our benefit than theirs. We give them last meals and sedatives because it allows us to rationalize our abandonment of compassion and humanity in the name of some outmoded medieval idea of justice.

12 years ago last month, the State of Arkansas put Ricky Ray Rector to death by lethal injection. Mr. Rector, who was obese and on a number of antipsychotic medications at the time, proved unusually resistant to the lethal injections and it took over 50 minutes for prison doctors to find a suitable vein and put him out of his misery. Ricky Ray Rector did in fact kill a police officer and one other person in cold blood, but unlike Troy Davis, his guilt was never in question. As in Warren Hill’s case, Rector’s capacity to stand trial was at stake as he had mutilated the frontal lobe of his brain in a suicide attempt immediately following the shootings. The courts did find that Rector was competent to stand trial and was convicted and sentenced to death. At his request, Mr. Rector’s last meal consisted of steak, fried chicken, cherry kool aid and some pecan pie. He ate the steak and the chicken and drank the kool aid, but left the pecan pie untouched. As he was being led out of his cell for the last time to face lethal injection, the guard asked his charge why he hadn’t eaten his pecan pie. Rector told him he was saving it for later.


(1) Historical background on the death of William Kidd comes from Kelly Grovier’s The Gaol: The Story of Newgate, London’s Most Notorious Prison.

Originally posted to Virally Suppressed on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 02:42 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  breathing.... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quill, oldpotsmuggler, Anjana, atana

    It is simply a way to make a profit off of the surplus population.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 02:45:16 PM PST

  •  State-sanctioned killing merely asserts the (10+ / 0-)

    authority of the state to determine who lives and who dies. The prematurely dead serve as an example to the rest that they'd better behave themselves.
    What is being corrected is a misperception that self-direction in any form is OK. That's why, for example, there are so many innocent people slated for execution. Their failure to plead guilty for something is reason enough to get rid of them. They are an insult to the culture of obedience.

    Any act is not about the victim/object, but about the perpetrator. The state kills to enhance its power. Power, to be felt, has to hurt. So, all that's left is to identify who's going to take the brunt of the hurt. It is not desirable, nor possible, to target the whole population. Somebody has to be "it."

    by hannah on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 03:28:18 PM PST

    •  Beautiful! In a good way! n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah, BusyinCA

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:39:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Isn't it the truth (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just one more way to terrorize the surplus population. I wonder when those in the former middle class will react when it finally becomes clear to them that their difficulties are not a temporary thing but permanent and they will now have inflicted upon them all the injustices and humiliations once reserved for the underclasses- in fact there will be only two classes other than the Oligarchy, a small but well to do class of professionals that cater to the overclass and their security people and an overwhelmingly large underclass that must be terrorized physically and economically lest they become a threat to the new and improved social order.

      It is coming, you can count on it.

      "We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world - bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are whores for power and oil with hate and fear in our hearts" - Hunter S. Thompson

      by Dave925 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 06:42:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure, think of the money we could save (0+ / 0-)

        if we just let all the prisoners out

        ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' - Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court

        by geekydee on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:52:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Correcting A Skin Color Problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldpotsmuggler, Kingsmeg, Dave925

    Capital punishment corrects a skin color problem in America society.

    Given that death sentences are more commonly sought when the suspect is black or brown-skinned, and that black and brown-skinned people are more commonly given a death sentence, and that most of the people being put to death are black or brown-skinned, it should be clear to all that the point of capital punishment is to remove black and brown-skinned persons from American society.

    Perhaps surprisingly, capital punishment also identifies racists.  If you find someone who tells you that capital punishment in America is applied equitably regardless of race, you can be pretty confident you are talking to a racist.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 04:14:59 PM PST

  •  Competing visions of penology (9+ / 0-)

    A minor corrections: hanging was never intended to suffocate its victims. The nooses were not tight, but loose, with the intention of breaking the neck. That was the desired outcome, and sometimes people would pull on the hanging person's legs to aid in breaking the neck.

    By the end of the 18th century, prisons were all officially places of penance and restitution. By the 20th century, they were all places of penance and rehabilitation. That said, the public has come to believe that prison is punishment for a crime, that there is nothing to be gained or learned about or by prison -- that it is a sustained whipping. College classes in prison are therefore "bon bons." Psychiatric counseling is "coddling." Drug rehabilitation is "nanny" state.

    I asked a class of freshmen how many would accept the following, "It is better that ten guilty men go free than that one innocent man be convicted." None. None of them would support that. None of them believed me when I said that this was the basis of the American judicial system.

    The voting public has bought the assumption that prison is punishment, that punishment escalates with crime, and therefore death goes with death, painful death with painful death. A lack of education in civics, a fear of being called "liberal," and a diet of Nancy Grace has made the electorate as sophisticated as a Tyburn mob.

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:53:44 PM PST

  •  Destroying Rabid Human Killers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    geekydee, aseth

    The moral choice is not to abolish the penalty, but to drive to perfect it's use and lower its cost.

    Texas and Alabama should not have the right to apply the death penalty: it should be a purely federal function because the right to life is a Constitutional right.

    Having only a single procedure and apparatus, all by itself, solves innumerable problems of inequality and maladministration.  If a state wants to execute a prisoner, that prisoner should be remanded to the federal justice system straight away.

    The moral standards to be eligible for the penalty can be arrived at in a reasonable way; crimes that involve multiple victims, crimes that are a second or greater offense, crimes that are fully and physically documented.   This necessarily excludes most run-of-the mill murder cases.    

    Conservatives love strident anti-death penalty positioning.  

    They love it because they know progressives are by and large on the wrong side of the argument to great numbers of Americans.  We should not be on the wrong side in the first place, and we should seek to avoid giving the other side that potent example – that mirror image really- of intellectual hoop jumping in support of a desired ideological outcome.  

    Money= life energy. Wasting massive life energy to maintain broken, irreparable animals is nonsense. This liberal fully supports the death penalty but deeply deplores the way it’s administered.

    Progressivism is the political orientation of those who favor movement toward better conditions in government and society.  I believe the proper progressive position would be to push to federalize, to limit to a narrow class of crimes and criminals, and to accept the moral understanding that yes, some crimes are too heinous and some criminals too broken to allow their lives to continue at great public expense.  

    Knowledge is Hard Won

    by bluelaser2 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:45:24 AM PST

    •  seems well thought out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But does this really agree with the progressive position?

      •  It should be.... (0+ / 0-)

        A healthy party contains a range of views and does not enforce extreme orthodoxy.      

        Knowledge is Hard Won

        by bluelaser2 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:27:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The mechanisms that were put in place (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to implement operations in Auschwitz, Chełmno, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Treblinka, Maly Trostenets and others were also well thought out. That didn't make them acceptable solutions. Death is death, either of the innocent or the guilty.

        I sometimes try to get past my anger regarding this subject by trying to find bemusement in the fact that the ones most concerned with the preservation of life for religious reasons are frequently the ones who are the most ardent supporters for the execution of criminals who have committed crimes for which there can never be restitution, those being murder, rape or incest. In my mind, state-institutionalized murder as a "punishment" makes no sense whatsoever because it accomplishes nothing: once they're dead, they feel nothing, they see and hear nothing, and they can never fully understand the gravity, consequences and implications of their crimes. And as far as deterrence is concerned, that argument is laughable.

        If the objective is to remove criminals like Richard Allen Davis, Charles Manson or other equally deviant evil persons from society at minimal expense without our justice system charged with playing God, why not use the resources we have at our disposal - and in the process, create a deterrent that in the long run would be far more effective?

        There are any number of extremely remote locations in the continental U.S. to build a facility dedicated to the incarceration of such felons, made completely self-sufficient and off the grid via PV or geothermal energy; in Nevada or New Mexico there are such places where there aren't any other human beings for 100 miles in any direction. Each felon would be sealed in a modular, concrete, air-conditioned room 24/7 with a source for water, personal hygiene maintenance and automatically-dispensed grain for food 3 times a day. There they would remain and be checked via video monitors once a month by a small group of inspectors to evaluate each felon's module. No direct human contact with any felon would be allowed for the remainder of their lives. Once deceased, the remains would be removed and the module would be cleaned and prepared for the next felon.

        The deterrent? The felon took a life: society takes the felon's life away without killing his body. He spends the rest of his life with his own thoughts without seeing or interacting with another living thing ever again.

        And before anyone deems this as "cruel and unusual punishment", consider the alternatives currently in use: poison gas in the form of cyanide; a bullet in the heart; the electric chair; hanging; poison material injected into arteries - the things which Josef Mengele would have found great enjoyment.

        None of this is pleasant to contemplate: but the mechanisms currently in place designed to extract "justice" for heinous crimes are absurdly expensive, ineffective and barbaric. They do almost nothing to deter crime and in some ways promote the glamorization of felons.

        •  the irony of a murderer being guaranteed life (0+ / 0-)

          Society will never accept this kind of institutionalized support system until the moral and law-abiding person is guaranteed a significantly higher standard of living.  Referring to another commenter, I've heard people go on a tear about how good criminals have it that parallels the beliefs about welfare recipients: the idea that a "degenerate" gets for free what the rest of us have to pay for and that they get left alone to play with their dicks while the rest of us have to work really is abhorrent to large numbers of Americans.  Maybe they themselves are deeply selfish people and thus they see prison and welfare as imperfect versions of the life of total idleness and self-indulgence that they want?

          I'm a progressive, but also a pessimist and a misanthrope.  My support for progressive policies is motivated by a firm belief that most people are crazy, evil, or just plain stupid and cannot be left to their own devices without ultimately screwing themselves and/or others.  I don't see any contradiction between being a progressive and a control freak because "freedom" to me means freedom for them, not us ... since we have well-developed internal restraints, so while reducing external restraints wouldn't change our behaviors, it would change the behaviors of the people that we are logically most interested in controlling.

          The irony is that while mental illness is regarded as grounds for leniency, I could argue that diminished faculties means they're more likely to require strong external controls and simple, powerful associations between undesirable behaviors and negative consequences.  If only we really could "throw away" all the clinical psychopaths (as defined by patterns of behavior and/or measurable physical differences in brain structure): throw every banker, MBA, and Republican politician in jail.

          Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

          by Visceral on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 09:49:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Is ignorance bliss? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical, radmul

      I ask because you would know if anyone would.  The death penalty costs far more taxpayer expense than life in prison.

      Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!

      by BenFranklin99 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:49:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  wow (0+ / 0-)
      Wasting massive life energy to maintain broken, irreparable animals is nonsense.
      Do you get a warm fuzzy feeling when you write stuff like that?  

      I'm pretty sure I'm a broken, irreparable animal.

      I'm also pretty sure there is no "proper progressive position" no matter how alliterative.  To me, the idea of a progressive movement is the sense that all human beings have immanent value, conferred not by god or the state or the good will of our fellows, but simply by being alive.  Mileage varies, but I am not alone in this.  The public expense -- unless you are prepared to dispense with the entire machinery of justice -- is going to be very high when you seek to kill people, namely because people like me will donate our money and our time to keep you from doing it.  Out of a profound sense that the society we belong to -- a society which can well afford life imprisonment, if appropriate -- can well afford to feed our prisoners, and the cost of execution is not in the rope or the cell or the drug cocktail, but in the brutal story it creates, in our sense of who we are.

      All my friends are broken, irreparable animals as well.

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 04:17:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You do much killing or torturing? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        then maybe you are not so broken?

        Knowledge is Hard Won

        by bluelaser2 on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 05:24:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's just a matter of degree (0+ / 0-)

          rats, and baby chickens, when I wanted to be an experimental psychologist.  Lots and lots of them.  The psychopharmacology of fear.   Agonistic behavor in chemically lobotomized baby animals.   Really.  But,  generally, this.  And the idea that morality always starts from now, basically, and even what is both right and expedient has weight.  I haven't done certain kinds of awful shit.  I'm not incapable of it categorically.  It comes with the monkey in our heads, we are animals I think, smart ones, and we get what we make of this world, we become the stories we tell.  And most of us are broken.  Some spill more than others.  Some mend and some crack further, but...nobody I know is purely whole and sane.

          If we were a tribe of 12 and you wouldn't go away and were in the habit of killing people, then maybe I'd feel differently.  But we're freakin' rich and every time someone dies a whole universe turns off.  So I think we have choices.  

          ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

          by jessical on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 07:29:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How to unpack that (0+ / 0-)

            So with 12 it's ok?  about about 120?  1200?  

            Habit of killing among 12?  Get down to 8 or so and then do what you gotta do?

            Whose rich?  Don't look like it from here...

            Tiger running around India, already killed 10 people.  Think its gonna be put in a cage for the balance of its natural life because they are rare, and they hold a Universe and all that ?

            Knowledge is Hard Won

            by bluelaser2 on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 05:10:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  charming (0+ / 0-)

              I heard from a dear friend today who says stuff like that.  Saw him kill a possum once just to scare off the others.  Just who he is.   I was trying to think if he'd say what you just did, and over a beer I suppose he might.  But I can't imagine him taking the life of something without mourning it on some level, recognizing the weight of the act.  And that's what bothers me about your words -- it reads like the idea of execution is somehow pure and weightless and simply right.  Which seems kind of desperate and helpless and best, puerile and thoughtless, at worst.  

              Read that about the tiger.  Did you see the part where two hunters had tigers in their sights, but didn't shoot because they couldn't be sure it was the right one?  

              The gov. of my state halted executions today.  Mighty proud of him.  It will cost, and maybe cost us wins, sure.  In the wake of this NPR had an interview with a former warden who'd overseen a few executions.  Thoughtful fellow.  Not inclined to see the death penalty continue.  For both the hunters and the warden, with the machinery of death in their hands, it looked different.  

              But I suppose it feels good to imagine revenge, a way to take back helplessness.  Thing is when you're all geared up to kill something, I think the moral equation is different, at least for some folks.    

              And yeah, it costs more to kill than to keep.  There is an awful lot of evidence in that regard.   The only way that will change is if you can shut up people like me by fiat and prevent appeals.  Good luck with that, or -- if you and yours should win -- living in the kind of country where that is how things work.

              ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

              by jessical on Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 08:56:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  pure projection (0+ / 0-)

                I have no thirst for revenge or sadistic desires in re: the death penalty.  I'm not dispassionate about about life, or death.

                In fact, if you read what I wrote, I deplore the way the penalty is currently administered, and "penalty" is not even the right word.  It's a revocation of the right to life, because of the conscious acts of the person to destroy other lives.

                The logic is of expense circular- opponents make is incredibly expensive to properly handle these people, and then say QED its cheaper to keep them alive.  That's another aspect of this that I deplore.

                One federal court with one clear appeal process with very stringent standards of evidence would be Constitutional and moral.  What we have now is neither, and what you desire is not either.  


                Knowledge is Hard Won

                by bluelaser2 on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 06:03:42 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  A (0+ / 0-)

      civilized society does not kill its citizens. Having the federal government do it is no less barbaric then allowing the states to commit the murder.

  •  I am totally against the death penalty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tim DeLaney

    in all cases. If your goal is reform, you need to keep the reformee alive to be reformed.

    And if you believe in punishment, how many times can you die? In that world view, keeping someone alive in misery should be a much better punishment.

    Many xtians believe in heaven, but none want to get there just yet.

  •  Who says Republicans don't believe in abortion? (0+ / 0-)

    Retroactive abortion.  

    Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

    by ZedMont on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:38:44 AM PST

  •  Deterrence (0+ / 0-)

    teaching that there are consequences for one's actions?  To keep things like this from happening again?

    Smith was convicted in 1988 of murdering an elderly woman who was found bound, gagged and badly beaten. Smith was originally sentenced to 35 years but only served 20. He was on parole when he murdered Kenneth Isbell -- execution style -- in front of his pregnant girlfriend and their daughter inside their home on Natural Bridge. That was 2009. He was sentenced for that crime on Thursday. He's locked up again -- this time -- for good.

    From in 2011

    ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' - Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court

    by geekydee on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:50:43 AM PST

    •  Not punishment OR deterrence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Simple proportionality; spending huge amounts of other people's life's energy to keep alive those who have taken life is less moral than destroying the taker.  

      I reject the idea that life imprisonment or solitary confinement (which most certainly is torture) are acceptable in this instance for either punishment or deterrence.  No punishment can be enough, and deterrence is too amorphous and situational to be a moral motive for the same reason.  

      Knowledge is Hard Won

      by bluelaser2 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:15:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So agree (0+ / 0-)
        life imprisonment or solitary confinement (which most certainly is torture)
        So true.  Cruel and unusual doesn't seem to even cover it  :(
        Quality of life, the same reason for my living will

        ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' - Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court

        by geekydee on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:24:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The lack of gladiatorial games (0+ / 0-)

    Americans would love to watch these death row inmates kill each other on TV. A public hanging would also get very good ratings.

    It's all these damn government regulations, you know. We need to put these felons into private death camps, and let corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO group use their entrepreneurial spirit to make them profitable. Imagine the price of seats at a live gladiatorial combat to the death!

  •  The best way to deal with this American barbarism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is for the EU and Japan to boycott American products.

    The EU already boycotts the sale of death penalty drugs to the US. As a result of that boycott, some states are considering using firing squads.

    The international community should treat this American "peculiar institution" as a human rights violation and consider the use of sanctions against the US.

  •  Corporate Prisons (0+ / 0-)

    The corporations that profit from mass incarceration of Americans may someday protest the loss of income that is a result of early release due to executions.  What a sick system this is!

    It would take a Bush to come up with the idea of privatizing the prison industry!

    My wife, daughter and granddaughters should have more privacy in their doctor's office than I have buying another rifle or shotgun.

    by NM Ray on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 12:58:00 PM PST

  •  "at a speed of 9.8 meters a second" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, radmul

    Correction: "at an acceleration of 9.8 meters per second per second"


    The death penalty is still barbaric, however inflicted.

    Vote, dammit, even if you think it won't matter, Especially when you think it won't matter. (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 07:40:36 PM PST

  •  My reason for opposing the death penalty... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...143 death row inmates have been EXONERATED since 1973. No legal trickery, they literally didn't do the crime.

    Since DNA testing came to be used...

    There have been 312 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States.

    • The first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Exonerations have been won in 36 states; since 2000, there have been 245 exonerations.

    • 18 of the 312 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row. Another 16 were charged with capital crimes but not sentenced to death.

    • The average length of time served by exonerees is 13.5 years. The total number of years served is approximately 4,162.

    No takebacks when someone is executed.

    Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

    by rbird on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 09:17:50 PM PST

  •  Hanging, then drawing & quartering (0+ / 0-)

    In reading up on Shakespeare's time, one is impressed by the cruelty of the use of state power to suppress criminality and also dissent.  

    The district where the Globe theater was also included public houses, brothels, bear-baiting, and public executions and mutilations.  Crowds could wander from one entertainment to the next.  Take in a public punishment in which someone's nose was cut off, visit a brothel, get a pint of beer and go watch a play.  

    Capital punishment was frequent.  The ultimate wrath of the state was accompanied by the command to inflict as much pain as possible.  Thus, the purpose of hanging was to come close to inflicting death, but not quite.  The strangulation was relieved so that the victim could suffer far worse.  

    After the hanging, the victim was then drawn and quartered, meaning that hooks were driven into the body and then pulled by horses until the body ripped apart.

    The head was likely to be put on public display on a military pike, thus symbolizing the power of the state to keep the public in line through sheer terror.  

    The concept of corrections had nothing to do with it.  Most likely the idea came into being in an era with a need to believe in a more humane veneer.  But it is still terrorism on the part of the society, inflicted to make potential miscreants feel fear at the prospect of being punished.  

    It certainly works in the minds of the far right.  Most of these people seem to fear any sort of progressive thinking, lest it deviate from the well established orthodoxy.  

    I suspect that what is going on the in mind of people who are able to murder, is that they arrogate to themselves the right to judge and to execute, because society's example gives this to them psychologically.  

    Thus, to me, the worst punishment you could inflict is to spend many years behind bars being forced to think about it and to consider how there are other options for dealing with conflict.  That would be correctional for society, if we had a consistent sense that this is what we are doing.  

    But then there are questions of whether and to what degree criminality comes from DNA.  But until we can investigate that one, we need to deal with this question of what society is doing.  Are we simply moderating what the Elizabethans used to do?  Are we doing the exact same thing they were?
    Is that what we should be doing?

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:33:42 AM PST

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