February 09, 2008
Two in the Head

There is a great deal about the United States that would puzzle not only a visitor from Mars, but any person with a room temperature IQ and the ability to stand back for a minute and take a good look at things as they actually are.

For instance a judge in Nebraska just ruled that the electric chair is unconstitutional there, on grounds that it causes “intense pain and agonizing suffering.” Efforts to replace the chair with lethal injection have so far failed, however, leaving the Nebraska governor wringing his unbloodied hands in frustration.

Other governors in other states are facing similar but different dilemmas, posed by death penalty opponents who argue that lethal injection is equally cruel and unusual, as it too can cause intense pain and agonizing suffering. So what is a poor governor to do? What’s the use of being a governor anyway if you can’t even kill people?

As it happens a great deal of field work has been carried out on this very problem, particularly during World War II and today in peacetime China. Over and over, the cheapest, quickest, most efficient, and most humane way to execute human beings has proven to be a bullet in the back of the head. (The guillotine is second best, but leaves a mess.)

So wake up, America. Your problem has already been solved. And if you want to tie a ribbon around the package, take the Mafia’s advice: two in the head and you know they’re dead.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at February 09, 2008 10:18 AM
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I am so glad that America is has the moral leadership to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering in those it chooses to murder. Perhaps if we offered oxycontin to women before a D&C the moral watchdogs would feel more comfortable with abortion. Perhaps we could drop tons of nitrous oxide on Iraqi villages before bombing them so that they wouldn't suffer so much. Perhaps if we numbed the electorate with inane entertainment and vapid, content-free "news", they wouldn't feel the pain and suffering of the thousands of brave young men and women who lie maimed and dead as a result of official lies - hey, it works!

Posted by: Charley on February 9, 2008 11:32 AM

Great ideas, Charlie -- we could even provide sodium pentathol to the people we torture! Or, ummm, maybe not...

Posted by: mamayaga on February 9, 2008 12:24 PM

i loved the old "doc savage" pulp novels, in which the genius super-scientist hero took hardened criminals to his "upstate college" and put them through a mysterious conditioning process after which they saw the error of their ways and became model citizens. clearly this was of a different era than the one we're in now, when the archetype more americans are comfortable with is The Punisher.

Posted by: r@d@r on February 9, 2008 4:42 PM

Considering the extended pain and suffering with which our country kills poor or institutionalized people through malign neglect, I continue to gape at our hand-wringing over finding the nicest way to kill people on purpose.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on February 10, 2008 2:54 PM

That's all humanitarian bullshit. What we really want is to see these evil people burn on a pyre. That's why we torture them first, to get rock-solid confessions and not fry innocent human beings by mistake.

Posted by: Peter on February 11, 2008 7:18 AM
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