The 14 Words

Saturday, 26 July 2014

There is no such thing as 'humane' judicial murder

America's attempts to make judicial killing as inoffensive as having a pet rabbit 'put to sleep' by a vet are the latest in a long line of scientific innovations intended to make official murder more 'humane'. The problem with most of them is that they are designed to offer emotional comfort for the executioners and witnesses rather than a painless and stress-minimised death for the victims. Blood is a no-no, as are severed body parts, so the guillotine and machine gun are out. As is detonating a block of C4 strapped to the victim's head. Calculated-drop hangings require a level of skills alien to US State prisons and are easily botched, leaving the victim either slowly strangled or with the head pulled off. Gas and electrocution are also flawed and uncertain processes.

It would have been quicker and kinder to Joseph Wood this week for a Jihadist to have sawed-off his head with a blunt breadknife than to have subjected him to prolonged death by caustic drip. Whichever way you do it, there is really no such thing as 'humane' judicial murder.

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