Friday, January 17, 2014

The rise of painful execution "experiments"

Recently, I wrote about the impossibility of using good old heroin in state-sponsored executions -- because the dying person might "enjoy it". Instead, the U.S. is now using "experimental" drugs to kill inmates -- drugs that kill slowly and painfully. They're doing this because European makers of the old tried-and-true drugs will no longer sell them to the United States because they might be used in executions. Barbarity, thy name is United States.

Here's Jerry Coyne's take on what happened during the execution experiment that killed Dennis McGuire. (Note that Coyne believes we have no choices in life, that everything is the result of genes, life experiences and the environment. He thinks we can only make one specific "choice" in every situation, thus nullifying the very idea of choice. As a consequence, we can't blame people for what they do. I agree, but do so because I agree with his argument and I'm aware that the future is already written. If it wasn't, there could be no present, no past. But this is an involved scientific argument that I won't cover in this post. Either way, we end up with predetermined "choices".) Here's Jerry:
The death penalty is one of the consequences of not thinking seriously about free will.  Most rational societies have abandoned it as a brutal and useless exercise.  The United States should, too.  So long as we kill people like McGuire, don’t really care much whether they die painfully or not, and think that they deserve what they get because they chose the wrong action, we should have no place at the table of civilized countries.
Check out his post. It lists the countries that still execute people. As you'll see, we are in sickening company -- but hey, that's how we rate. By international standards, the United States is a barbarous nation.

U!S!A!, U!S!A!, U!S!A!