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Monday, May 1, 2017

"'Horrifying' death of fourth man executed in Arkansas leads to demand for inquiry"

Another article on Yahoo (originally published in the International Business Times) has once again given us the temperature of the populace. Just go to the comments section, and click on "Top" (meaning, highest rated comments).

Of the first 100 comments, exactly two took the side of the executed man.

The top-rated comment, from "boneponio," summed it all up:

Mr Willams crimes: He killed a college cheerleader after abducting her and a friend and forcing them to withdraw money from an ATM. He shot BOTH of them afterward, but the other survived. He escaped prison while serving life for that murder and killed another person, stealing his truck. While fleeing police during a high speed chase, Mr. Williams struck another vehicle, killing the driver before being recaptured. Three innocent people died as a direct result of this guy's actions, and he had attempted to kill a fourth. Can anybody tell me why he didn't deserve exactly what he got, even if it was uncomfortable for him? Good riddance to bad rubbish.

These comments show that people are onto the media's ridiculously skewed news coverage. 


Anonymous said...

I love how the UN and the EU chimed in, condemning the execution, supposedly because putting the prisoner to death via lethal injection violated this criminal's prisoner and/or human rights. Give me a break. In today's world, lethal injection is a humane way to end a prisoner's life (as opposed to the electric chair, a firing squad, etc.). Our sympathies should be with the victims, not the perpetrator of the crimes.

- Susan

John Craig said...

Susan --
The current UN Human Rights Council includes Rwanda (of hand-chopping fame), China (where the method of execution is a bullet to the back of the head, and then they charge the family of the one executed for the cost of the bullet), Saudi Arabia (where women aren't allowed to drive or leave the house without a male accompanying them), the Philippines (where D├ętente has been executing people suspected of being involved the the drug trade without trial), India (which currently has more slavery than any other country), and a host of African countries where homosexuality is punishable by lashing.

It's a complete joke.

Anonymous said...

China bills the family after the execution? That's hilarious.

Yeah, we can always count on good inadvertent humor from the EU. If lethal injection is too painful, why not a firing squad or a hanging?


John Craig said...

Spartan --
I've heard that, though I haven't heard it confirmed (been too lazy to look it up).

Actually, writing that last sentence I shamed myself into looking it up:

Evidently, it may not be true now, but it has happened in the past, at least with families who want to claim the body of their deceased.

Mark Caplan said...

I'm puzzled why states struggle to find a humane way to carry out a simple execution. Inhaling pure helium reportedly lets you drift off gently to sleep, with death soon following. Various sedatives also are said to work painlessly and without trauma. We dispatch cattle humanely: just put the condemned man in the queue at the nearest abattoir and let the system perform its function. (Obviously, someone needs to yank him off the conveyor belt before he's turned into cutlets.)

John Craig said...

Mark --

I'd never heard that about helium. The problem with it or the various sedatives is the problem with the current drug mix, if there's just one misfire or one prisoner convulsing as he dies then there will be an uproar. I've always thought a day or two of morphine drip with an overdose at the end would be pretty humane.

Smallberries Worldwide said...

I was poisoned by carbon monoxide once as a kid riding in the back of a truck on a deer hunting trip. I just got sleepy and the next thing I knew everyone was standing around while my dad kept slapping my face to try and bring me around. Had no idea what had happened. Luckily I had an uncle who was a little on the ball and recognized what was happening to us.
Completely painless and pleasurable.

John Craig said...

Smallberries Worldwide --
Wow, that was a close call. Did you suffer any aftereffects?

Sounds like the scene in The Wizard of Oz where they all go to sleep in that field of poppies, which is where I probably got that idea of a slow morphine drip.

Smallberries Worldwide said...

After effects?... well, let's just say, if you can't be an engineer.. be a civil engineer.

John Craig said...

Smallberries --
Congratulations on the career, but I wasn't accusing you of having brain damage. I was wondering more if you were nauseous or had headaches for a while afterwards or something like that. Hard to believe it was *completely* painless.

LBD said...

I'm glad you brought up this subject, because it's driven me nuts for ages. Veterinarians euthanize mammals, large and small, on a regular basis. It's a sad but routine part of every vet's practice.

What is so difficult about it? If Dr. Farmvisitor can humanely, peacefully and effectively put Dobbin or Bossie or Fido to sleep (and it is peaceful, many of us have seen it done), what is so hard about doing a quick calculation of mass to dose and letting Mr. Spreekiller shuffle off the mortal etc.?

Smallberries Worldwide said...

Completely painless and unnoticeable. However coming out of it takes a while. From what I understand the carbon monoxide ties up the red blood cells ability to gain oxygen and your body has to make new blood cells to recover. Quite a wicked headache from what I remember for a day or so and slept a lot. It was in the late 60s when I was about eight or thereabouts.

John Craig said...

LBD --
What you say makes perfect sense. I have no expertise on the subject myself, the only way I've seen an animal put down was with a bullet (and that actually was an attempt at kindness, this dog was afraid of the vet and would tremble whenever he was brought there, and the bullet was placed right behind the ear so that it went diagonally through the skull, when the dog had advanced cancer, and death was pretty much instantaneous). So I have no idea about these drugs. But I suspect that even when the vet does a successfully humane killing, there may be a little bit of twitching at the end, and anti-death penalty advocates might describe that as "convulsions" and use it in their battle. Again, I've never witnessed an execution, so I'm only speculating, and maybe there are actually violently painful convulsions. But you're right: theoretically, it should be easy.

I just had a thought: how about allowing Death Row inmates to choose their own method of execution? That might eliminate some of the fuss. It certainly wouldn't guarantee that whatever method was chosen wouldn't be botched; but at least it would lessen the outcry that certain methods are in and of themselves cruel and unusual.

John Craig said...

Smallberries --
Aha, thank you.

LBD said...

Mr. C.:

Some vets use two drugs-- first an anesthetic to relax the animal and then the killer drug, so the creature doesn't even feel the second needle. However, an overdose of many anesthesia drugs will priduce a cessation of breathing. It's just a matter of doing the math first so that you don't underdose and find Rover waking up two days later with a hangover.

A bullet is a quick and merciful euthanasia for man or beast, and a much more humane method of slaughter for food than the commonly used "stunning" (hitting the steer with a hammer before killing) which passes for "painless" killing in slaughterhouses.

Kosher butchers are required to kill animals with a single stroke of a large knife, severing artery and windpipe simultaneously. It's kind of like death by sword, and it is due to the biblical prohibition on causing unnecessary suffering in food animals. If an animal is tortured or doesn't die right away the meat is considered unkosher, and it can't be sold to kosher markets.

The upshot of all this is that people have been killing animals and one another for millennia, for good and bad reasons, and there is no reason to reinvent the wheel, the lever, and the pulley. It's just not that complicated to end a life. Humankind has had plenty of practice.

John Craig said...

LBD --
Thank you for that mini-education; I hadn't known about the vets' method of euthanasia, nor had I known about what's considered kosher in an abattoir.

Anonymous said...

My opinion on the death penalty is sorta fuzzy now. I think a country should use what works for their situation for the best results. We have to remember there are plenty of people for and against it for other reasons. A person may be for the death penalty not because of a revenge fantasy but because they believe they need a deterrent, or the person is too dangerous to live and sustain and must be disposed of. Methods for executions have been proposed like nitrogen inhalations which is completely painless and relaxing with no lasting damage to the body so less mess. Of course some have opposed this method because it is too humane or kind in their eyes (I watched part of a documentary where a pro-capital punishment person sends a british guy to do research to find a better way of execution, the brit finds out nitrogen inhalation would be perfect and painless, he goes back and explain it to him but the American guy gets angry asking why would he use suggest a kind and painless method. But why did he even ask the brit to look for a humane method in the first place?).

Then there are those opposed to it not because they believe the criminal doesn't deserve it or out of a bleeding heart, but because they believe the government should never be entrusted with the power to end a life.
A funny quote by Catholic writer GK Chesteron:
“For my part, I would have no executions except by the mob; or, at least, by the people acting quite exceptionally. I would make capital punishment impossible except by act of attainder. Then there would be some chance of a few of our real oppressors getting hanged."
There is also the other reason that they oppose because they believe it is a waste, the prisoner could be put to work until they die. (But I am uncomfortable with prisons being an industry, it's a prison)

And some believe capital punishment may be too kind, the Roman Empire actually had a controversy over life imprisonment because some protested it could be too cruel (and we must consider what a Roman prison was like). Cato the younger was going to be given "clemency" and killed himself to avoid his fate. I read an AMA on reddit by a soviet camp guard who was in one during the 70s, most of the people there were so bad they couldn't even get the death penalty. Rapists, murderers, torturers, pedophiles. It was a frozen wasteland with dreadful living conditions, they were forced to work, if you acted out you were thrown in the hole with dry bread for a week. One guy even nailed his balls to a wooden stump because he was so afraid of leaving his quarters. And if you tried to commit suicide, there were camp doctors ready to "rescue" you and continue to make sure you were going to live through any injury to their best abilities, you weren't getting out that easy.

So while the article mentioned shows bias towards one point of view. There are a lot of people on both sides who don't hold the views for the stereotypical reasons. What I want to consider is if there are ulterior motives for a person to write an article like that. If we want to truly debate capital punishment, I would prefer they don't have people arguing over "morality" since it will go nowhere.