humane executions and euthanasia?

Morbid alert! okay, got that over with. A segment tonight on the Kelly File raised questions in my mind about capital execution, animal euthanasia, and “Hemlock society” formulas. Apparently, death by lethal injection, widely used in capital punishment in the USA, has a pretty high rate of going awry. Many people would say they don’t care, but though I support capital punishment, I think it should be done as quickly and cleanly as possible, and I thought we had long had the science down pat to do that. After all, thousands of animals are euthanized every day, and their owners usually feel that it was painless or very nearly so. So, if we can do it with animals, why not with humans?

Several techniques are used with animals, but with small animals it’s usually intravenous injection of very high doses of pentobarbitol or sodium thiopental. Why don’t they work for humans?

I’m not actually sure why, but the preferred method for human lethal injection is intravenous injection of three different drugs–the anesthetic sodium thiopental, the neuromuscular blocker pancuronium burrido, and the heart stopper potassium chloride.
the very distastefulness of the procedure , as well as its rarity, has dysfunctional results. The procedure is so rare that it does not have the regulation, review and re-evaluation that animal euthanasia has. Doctors won’t go near it. Often executioners even lack anesthesia training.

Moreover, manufacturers of drugs commonly used for execution, most of them European, deliberately strangle the USA of adequate supply of those drugs, which forces state officials to turn either to other, untried drugs, or to drugs made by smaller labs with lower standards.

So, in sum, a lethal execution too often uses inadequate doses of poorly regulated or even untested drugs, in the hands of poorly trained technicians.

One has to wonder; Are the cocktail formulas cooked up by the Dr. Kerkorians and Hemlock Societies of this world, any better than the lethal injection formulas?

I’ve wondered the same thing.

Anyone with experience using either route, execution or assisted suicide, care to let us know?


Switch to the guillotine…

1 Like

I have no problem with the death penalty. People who commit heinous crimes are receiving the just punishment. If something goes “awry”. . .I often think of their victims and how much mercy the perpetrators showed them. It isn’t about revenge. It’s about justice.


How much does a bottle of sleeping pills cost?

It is ironic that we worry about making killer’s deaths painless while ignoring that the killer did not have the same wish when they killed their victim.


I’m w/ya an that one, Sam. Worrying about the humane treatment of murderous thugs - especially the ones w/no remorse - isn’t exactly high on my priority list.
However, I do understand those who don’t wish to appear as craven as the thugs are.

Oddly enough, though, my husband & I were just talking about this the other night.

Part of me wonders if those administering - or making - the “cocktails” aren’t purposely making them weak in order to make the death penalty look so garrulous that society will come out against it.

[quote=“Rightwing_Nutjob, post:2, topic:46244”]
I’ve wondered the same thing.

Anyone with experience using either route, execution or assisted suicide, care to let us know?

[/quote] great idea… just a few technical difficulties… (smile)

I have a picture of myself strapped into an electric chair, a real one. Several friends and family members found it to be in exceedingly poor taste, and I am sure they are right. But someday someone will stumble across that picture and say to themselves, “My gosh, she’s SMILING!”

I have several photos of myself that I figure have great historic value! Like the one where I
am feeding Grandma’s chickens at age three, proving that there was inadequate enforcement of child labor laws in SD in the late 1940s. And… my all time fave… me with one foot in the northern hemisphere and one foot in the southern hemisphere. Not sure what that one proves, but it probably proved to the Kenyan who took it, “These Americans! Children! Just children!”

1 Like