Humane executions?

There's an interesting article on New Scientist about the drugs used in "humane" executions by lethal injection.

For the purpose of this article, let's set aside the contentious debate about whether execution is acceptable in the first place. Given that executions do take place, what would be the most humane method?

I think the very fact that prisoners can't choose their own method of execution is inhumane. There ought to be a selection of several approved alternatives, and the prisoner should be able to choose a method he, or she, is comfortable with.

I also find it fascinating that no state practices execution by substituting air with nitrogen. This seems to me more humane than the lethal injection method, which may very well involve suffering if the anesthetic fails.

When pure nitrogen enters the lungs, it absorbs oxygen from blood cells. Within a few heartbeats, the new blood entering the brain is devoid of oxygen, and the brain shuts down. There is no pain. The person simply goes unconscious. Keep them breathing nitrogen, and the brain is dead.

Still, if I had to make this awful and macabre choice, I would not choose either the lethal injection, or the nitrogen. They are too sissy. As for hanging, or the guillotine, or stoning - I find them disgusting, and awful.

If I had to, and were able to, choose for myself, I'd go for firing squad. There's something about standing up to the guns, facing them, that says to me - I stood for something, I lived with principles, and I die with self respect.

Don't give the shooters any blanks either. That's a disgrace. An executioner should know the reason he's firing at a guy for, not seek sissy comfort in that he's just following orders, and that his gun maybe contained a blank.

Suppose you had to make this choice. What method would you choose for yourself?


I've always thought that jumping of a very tall building might be interesting (once you got over the fact that you're going to die you could just enjoy yourself -- that's the theory anyway, I don't think I'd test it.)
Though the 'long drop' method of hanging would be pretty quick and probably more practical..
denis bider said…
Long fall, hmm. Interesting choice. :)
Kurt Coleman said…
I wouldn't have considered the firing squad until your point. I definitely would not want a bag over my head. I guess it would depend on what I did to deserve it. They pick a time period maybe within a year, Every night they put you under like at the dentist. One random night, they leave it on and you never wake up.

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