21 April 2008

Every fascination with death is necessarily morbid

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled against two Kentucky inmates who claimed that lethal injection is cruel and unusual. Sorry guys. On the other hand, now you can totally cheat on your diets. Every cloud.

Isn't interesting, though, that all legislation regarding the death penalty is formed by those not undergoing it? The question, I believe, is not exactly whether or not this form of capital punishment is cruel and unusual, but for whom it is cruel and unusual.

For the society administering the 3-stage lethal injection— the second drug is a paralytic, in case the initial anesthetic fails— the method is perhaps the least cruel or unusual. It's why we clean the area where the needle goes. It's like watching someone get a shot. Sort of. The only unusual thing about it is at the end, they're pretty dead.

Likewise, a lethal injection is less cruel to those administering it. There's less to clean up, no awkward guillotine or gallows sitting around, and very few people need to be directly involved.

The problem in the recent Supreme Court case seems to have been the lack of evidence of cruelty. All that was available was a theoretical description of the effect potassium chloride on a paralyzed but non-anesthetized person. It seems nobody who had undergone it was available to testify.

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