Monthly Archives: January 2015

Humane Death Penalty Methods

Given the Supremes recent decision to take up the matter, the New York times today had an Op-Ed piece on the Death Penalty today. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/opinion/the-humane-death-penalty-charade.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-regionon

This blog post is not about whether or not we as a society should execute people.  Rather, if we do, how should we do it?  There have been a number of botched executions recently after some lethal injections.  There has certainly been some electric chair executions that went bad as well.

From my internet research, dogs are euthanized by phenobarbital, and death comes quickly and peacefully in a matter of seconds.  I realize that people are generally larger than dogs and are physiologically different, but phenobarbital is known to be toxic to humans and seems a lot more humane than the misadventures of 2014.

There has been talk in the local papers about a heroin overdose epidemic.  Why don’t we use that rather than the current mixture?

Wyoming recently passed a law to authorize firing squads.  Utah used to allow firing squads.  I’m assuming the NRA would support this method.   Today, March 24 2015, there is a news item that Utah has reinstated the firing squad as an option for the death penalty execution.  Readers will know that I’m rarely cynical about political matters, but I’m wondering if they did this only because there’s reported to be a shortage of the usual drug mixture used in lethal injection.  Bullets are cheap and plentiful.

Whatever happened to hanging?  And ISIS uses decapitation, which is probably pretty quick.  The guillotine featured prominently in the French Revolution.

Barbaric as some of measures are, the current method of lethal injection is not humane.  Maybe that’s the point.  Do the supporters of the death penalty want to make it painful?