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Firing Squads Set To Return With A Bang, As Lethal Injection Shortage Persists

Tyler Durden's picture


Chalk this one up to US (f)austerity, and a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bull that forgot to add Pentobarbital among the billions in pork spending.

Two months ago we reported that due to a shortage of Pentobarbital, Ohio would be unable to execute death row convicts. It appears that the shortage has persisted into the new year, and now some states are taking matters into their own hands. Or rather the hands of the firing squad. As NBC reports, due to the lethal drug shortage, lawmakers in at least two states to call for the return of firing squads. "Missouri state Rep. Rick Brattin, a Republican representing Harrisonville, introduced legislation Friday (.pdf) that would add five-person firing squads as an alternative to the state's current method of capital punishment, lethal injection."

Ostensibly, the reason why firing squads may be back with a, well, bang, is due to the "unethical" and "inhumane" prolonged death death last Thursday of Dennis McGuire in Ohio who was executed using a new combination of drugs that had never been used in a US execution before.

It took almost 25 minutes for McGuire, who was executed for raping and murdering a 22-year-old pregnant newlywed, to die gasping and choking Thursday from a new combination of drugs that had never before been used in a U.S. execution. McGuire's family said Friday it intends to sue Ohio prison officials for what they called McGuire's "torture."

And while Missouri can still enforce the death penalthy using lethal gas, its gas chamber hasn't been functional since 1965. Which means that should the legislation pass, a firing squad may be used as soon as January 29: "With the state's next execution scheduled for Jan. 29, "we've been having all of these troubles getting the drugs to administer the lethal injection," Brattin told the statewide radio network Missourinet on Friday. "I was just looking at a second option, something we could do if we had to utilize the death penalty and we could not administer the lethal injection," Brattin said. Besides being "quick and something we could do at a moment's notice," he said, an execution by firing squad would be more humane than McGuire's ordeal."

While Oklahoma law provides for firing squads if lethal injection is ever ruled unconstitutional, only Utah actually continues to use them, and then only for inmates convicted before 2004 as it seeks to phase them out.

The current shortage of the traditional lethal injection of Pentobarbital may mean this changes soon:

State Sen. Bruce Burns filed a similar bill (.pdf) Monday in Wyoming, saying the state would have to do something soon before it runs out of approved drugs for lethal injections.

The good news: bullets are cheap.

State Sen. Bruce Burns filed a similar bill (.pdf) Monday in Wyoming, saying the state would have to do something soon before it runs out of approved drugs for lethal injections.

The better news: an all too ethical and too easily distracted society will very soon have even more violent and absolutely meaningless Twitter fights over the ethics of said firing squads (while it is actively pretending to look for a job)... and the NSA will be just as busy recording all of it.


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Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:39 | 4347151 Croesus
Croesus's picture

So that's why DHS bought 1.6 billion rounds; it all makes sense now. 

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:45 | 4347169 Gankfest
Gankfest's picture

How about that recovery...

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:55 | 4347189 max2205
max2205's picture

1. Where do I sign up
2. The FSA isn't gonna be happy with this

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:12 | 4347233 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Why would you need a five person firing squad.

Can't you set it up so that the instrument of death has an electronic firing mechanism?

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:19 | 4347245 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

Good.  This will be a far more satisfying end for the politicians when we charge and convict them under their own legislation.  I'm sure we'll find no shortage of volunteer gunmen either, pentabarbitrol shortage be damned (plenty of bullets!)

I am Chumbawamba.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:53 | 4347294 mjcOH1
mjcOH1's picture

"Why would you need a five person firing squad.

Can't you set it up so that the instrument of death has an electronic firing mechanism?"


There'll always be some risk of failure per bullet.

On the other hand, with the housing crash there are tens of thousands of pile drivers sitting idle across the country.   Strap the condemned's head to the pile, and 2000lb or so on a 1sq ft area descending at 25mph really cuts down on the probability of failure or 'pain and suffering'.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:03 | 4347312 wintermute
wintermute's picture

India used to execute people by doing the same with a elephant's foot.

This could be proftable if all the organs were sold to clinics for spare parts.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:37 | 4347370 CrazyCooter
CrazyCooter's picture

With all the pork barrel spending floating around, you can bet your ass this is another front on the right to bear arms. Just wait and watch.



Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:00 | 4347408 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

The family of the victim should be allowed to KICK HIM TO DEATH.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 01:13 | 4347495 knukles
knukles's picture

Bet they could get all they wanted cheap online from Canada

D U Fucking H

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 07:35 | 4347707 onewayticket2
onewayticket2's picture

Shortage, my arse.

Look deeper. I bet you find this is a back door way of repealing the death penalty. The drug was purposely shorted. There is no free mkt w these folks. It is all political.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 12:43 | 4348360 Scarlett
Scarlett's picture

Let's just go back to crucifiction 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:00 | 4347410 boogerbently
boogerbently's picture

The family of the victim should be allowed to KICK HIM TO DEATH.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 01:00 | 4347483 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

"If you're a freak prisoner convicted of killing your wife, and you don't like your penis or being a man, you don't have to keep your penis & balls; my appointed federal judges will force taxpayers to pay to have them removed, dear freak, murdering prisoner."


And it IS NOT from the Onion:

2 Obama Judges Say Constitution Entitles Wife-Killer to Sex Change Operation:

Martin Finucane, John R. Ellement and Milton J. Valencia - January 17, 2014

A federal appeals court in Boston today upheld a judge’s ruling that a transsexual inmate convicted of murder is entitled to a taxpayer-funded sex change operation as treatment for her severe gender identity disorder.

In a ruling that was a first of its kind, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said courts must not shy away from enforcing the rights of all people, including prisoners. “And receiving medically necessary treatment is one of those rights, even if that treatment strikes some as odd or unorthodox,” the court said.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 01:04 | 4347492 Trucker Glock
Trucker Glock's picture

Bullish for Chelsea

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:12 | 4347542 palmereldritch
palmereldritch's picture

Bullish for reality shows

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 01:56 | 4347534 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

While gruesome in appearance, I would think this method is very reliable, yet humane (wtf ever that means).

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:34 | 4347550 DonFromWyoming
DonFromWyoming's picture

A variant of head crushing is centuries old.  It's called the guillotine and was invented to make dispatch more humane.  IMO, the guillotine is far superior to lethal injection, which is barbaric if it isn't very quick. Compared with the 20+ minutes that both families (victim and perp) had to watch the circus overseen by doctors (what happened to the hippocratic oath?) hoping that their new cocktail would work, it would seem to me that either firing squad or guillotine would be far more humane to all involved.

That said, I don't trust the legal system of the USA any more, so I would be happy to see the death penalty go the way of government sanctioned slavery - a good read in history books to educate future generations of the barbarous history of our species.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:58 | 4347558 Midas
Midas's picture

I've got a suggestion for everyone.  Bring over some euthanasia doctors from Europe.  Those dudes make it look easy.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 17:55 | 4349246 IdiocracyIsAlre...
IdiocracyIsAlreadyHere's picture

I agree.  I try to explain to all death penalty proponents I run into to consider who is administering it and ask themselves just what end is being served.  I respect acts of revenge when they come from the person(s) genuinely wronged, but thinking that the state is acting on behalf of the victim is dangerously misguided.  The state is only interested in FEAR and CONTROL and uses capital punishment to these ends, not any idea of "justice"

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:59 | 4347307 RideTheWalrus
RideTheWalrus's picture

State Sen. Bruce Burns filed a similar bill (.pdf) Monday in Wyoming, saying the state would have to do something soon before it runs out of approved drugs for lethal injections.

Interesting how most death row inmates are held on the line for 10 - 20 years before being executed yet these politicians are suddenly worried about running out of drugs for lethal injections.  How long does it take to manufacture this stuff that suddenly death row inmates can't wait another 6 months?

Why can't they use a half-gallon of heroin considering all the poppy fields they have access too? Is that too humane? Not humane enough?

Sounds like some chosen politicians worming firing squads back into the law considering they have surplus of bullets and a tsunami of problems heading their way.

Just need Obamaphone to start wearing military uniforms and the socialist take over is complete.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:56 | 4347486 HoofHearted
HoofHearted's picture

Thet gave my dog an overdose of morphine. While recognizing he was about to get it, he fought a little. Then the drugs hit his veins, and it was all over. All very peaceful. The kids still don't know that Daddy was the doggy killer. But he needed to stop suffering, just like the families of victims of these assholes. Why not a little too much heroin or morphine or some severe waterboarding? Anyone think about how the victims went out? Maybe the killers should be granted the same method of death.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 09:24 | 4347811 maxblockm
maxblockm's picture

I think we should offer them the choice between the same method of death and a humane method.  Perhaps having to make that choice will lead them to acknowledge the wrong they have done and possibly repent before death.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:18 | 4347568 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Lethal injection is hideously expensive and begging for 8th amendment challenges cause it's often screwed up.  Plus it's incongruous to be executing murderers and rapists the same way you put a beloved family dog to sleep.  It's fitting that those guilty of violence toward others meet a violent end.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 04:45 | 4347631 RideTheWalrus
RideTheWalrus's picture

"It's fitting that those guilty of violence toward others meet a violent end."

The problem with that approach is many of these death row inmates have sit and stewed on what they did for 20 years, not knowing which day would be their last.
Imagine fucking up in the biggest way possible when your 20 and full of stupid growing up around gangs and knowing no different, then at the age of 40 after 20 years of sitting in a cell, reading a bible and reflecting on your crime your hauled up to face an extremely violent death penalty.

What your describing is eye for an eye on the assumption the person is a feverish animal - which many are but not always, some are misidentified, some just faced the wrong judge on the wrong day.

Saudi Arabia uses the eye for an eye punishment, the victim or the family of the victim can choose the punishment of the criminal, some choose the same treatment, some show pity and turn the other cheek.

If a system of quick death is applied then the chances of innocent people going to the death panels increases dramatically, then your only one step away from instant Judge Dread style on the spot executions - and that's a completely totalitarian system.

What's important from these statements above is evidence of an active attempt to reinstate quick, cheap and large volume death penalties and it doesn't seem to jive with killing rapists that are sitting in death row for 20 years but more in line with the growing awareness that revolution is around the corner and many people on red/blue lists will need to go. It happens in every Socialist empire, the poets, artists, commentators, people who can rally gatherings end up lining the pits.

Watch the video for Spanish Bombs by The Clash:

"Federico Lorca is dead and gone"

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca was a Spanish poet, dramatist and theatre director. García Lorca achieved international recognition as an emblematic member of the Generation of '27. He was executed by Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:46 | 4347553 e_goldstein
e_goldstein's picture

Usually I agree with you Chumba, but on this one, I've got to wonder why waste bullets when there are so many thriving ant beds around.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:44 | 4348488 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

If it's so easy to disregard the Eighth Amendment, perhaps the other ones, (like the Second) can be just as easily disregarded. Would you like that as well?

It's comments like yours that make one think that the so-called "conservatives" of America are just a bunch of idiot hypocrites.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:26 | 4347254 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Amerika literally trends closer to 1950s era China or The Soviet Union by the day.

Speaking of China, and expanding upon the default risk of China Credit Trust that is likely to occur on January 31st that ZH cited in an earlier article tonight, and from Forbes:

1/19/2014 @ 8:08PM |300,455 views

Mega Default In China Scheduled For January 31

"On Friday, Chinese state media reported that China Credit Trust Co. warned investors that they may not be repaid when one of its wealth management products matures on January 31, the first day of the Year of the Horse."

"The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China sold the China Credit Trust product to its customers in inland Shanxi province.  THiS BANK, THE WORLD'S BIGGEST BY ASSETS, on Thursday suggested it will not compensate investors, stating in a phone interview with Reuters that “a situation completely does not exist in which ICBC will assume the main responsibility.”

"There has never been a default—other than one of timing—of a WMP, so the Credit Equals Gold product could be the first.  If it is, it will edge out the WMP that invested in loans to Liansheng Resources Group, another Shanxi coal miner.  Jilin Trust packaged Liansheng’s loans into a wealth management product sold by China Construction Bank , the country’s second-largest lender by assets, to its customers.  Liansheng is in bankruptcy, and it looks like the WMP holders will not be repaid in full."

"A WMP default, whether relating to Liansheng or Zhenfu, could devastate the Chinese banking system and the larger economy as well.  In short, China’s growth since the end of 2008 has been dependent on ultra-loose credit first channeled through state banks, like ICBC and Construction Bank, and then through the WMPs, which permitted the state banks to avoid credit risk.  Any disruption in the flow of cash from investors to dodgy borrowers through WMPs would rock China with sky-high interest rates or a precipitous plunge in credit, probably both."

"Even if Beijing makes sure there is no default on January 31, we should not feel relief. Just as Zhenfu followed Liansheng, there will be another WMP borrower on the edge of disaster after Zhenfu.  And there are many Lianshengs and Zhenfus out there.  There may have been 11 trillion yuan in WMPs at the end of last year."

"And at the same time China’s money supply and credit are still expanding.  Last year, the closely watched M2 increased by only 13.6%, down from 2012’s 13.8% growth.  Optimists say China is getting its credit addiction under control, but that’s not correct.  In fact, credit expanded by at least 20% last year as money poured into new channels not measured by traditional statistics.  That appears to be in excess of credit expansion in 2012."

"Even if credit expansion slowed last year, Silvercrest Asset Management’s Patrick Chovanec tells us why we should be concerned.  As he wrote today, “Looking purely at the decline in the year-on-year rate of credit expansion is kind of like arguing that if I chase my shot of vodka with a pint of beer, I’m actually exercising moderation because the alcohol proof level of my drinks is falling.”

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:12 | 4347327 Overfed
Overfed's picture

Haven't the Chinese heard of TARP? They must have their own BernYellen to make things OK.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:49 | 4347288 Boxed Merlot
Boxed Merlot's picture

Can't you set it up so that the instrument of death has an electronic firing mechanism?...



Good idea.  Death by Drone.  Amazon delivers goods from their warehouse, Papa John delivers pizza and the DOJ delivers live 30 caliber rounds.  These high tech solutions are so easy, even the government can do it. 


Actually a pneumatic cattle bolt pistol holds promise for this application, imo.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:14 | 4347330 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

Papa John's pizza is fatally awful on it's own.

Inedible garbage.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:09 | 4347321 Overfed
Overfed's picture

In lighter news, the FEMA region X team has defeated the FEMA region IX team at football for the playoff championship. Now isn't that what really matters?

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:41 | 4347154 the not so migh...
the not so mighty maximiza's picture

bullets are cheaper then the drugs

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:49 | 4347178 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Why did the phrase "roll the guillotines" suddently pop into my head?  Right instrument, we just need to apply it to the right necks, I guess.  And a lot of those necks are not on death row right now.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:57 | 4347199 Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

Oh yeah - they will make a return before this is through, you can be assured. Something I was surprised to learn, I thought capital punishment in the Third Reich was by firing squad, yet Sophie Scholl was taken to a guillotine in an adjacent room to the court.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:13 | 4347239 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

They just like the terror of it all. The thought of losing your head, the amount of time, your body position, the sound of the blade falling all add up to sheer terror until the neck gets sliced.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 05:39 | 4347662 Acet
Acet's picture

Actually the terror carries on for a minute or more AFTER the head is separated from the body. You see, the brain doesn't die immediatelly - it slowly dies due to lack of oxygen.

During the French Revolution, there were several cases of heads which were being held after execution by guillotine trying to speak (you could see the lips move, but since they had no lungs, no sound came).


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:24 | 4347437 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

All these years later, Sophie Scholl's story is still not told often enough. A true martyr. God rest her soul.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:49 | 4348499 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Many were executed by hanging. Some were "elevated" to hanging with piano wire.

It has also been suggested that poison gas was used in some circumstances.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:43 | 4347159 robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

Send them to the movies.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:45 | 4347166 RiverRoad
RiverRoad's picture

What?  They don't get Obamacare?

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:02 | 4347168 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Pick your poison.



Someone thinks a persons actions has no consequence? Is there any difference in me doing it to someone guilty of a capital crime (while in its commission) than someone else doing it after it is committed?


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:52 | 4348506 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

No, there's no difference if you're a murderer also.

What part of "Thou shalt not kill" do you not understand?

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:46 | 4347171 Uncle Sugar
Uncle Sugar's picture

Give me 5 rounds and I'll do it. But I get to keep the extra 4.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:39 | 4347372 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

You're likely to get a lot of eager help.
They're not nixing some of the vermin fast enough or soon enough.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:49 | 4347177 deerhunter
deerhunter's picture

Torture and suing the state of Ohio. Why not kill murderers the same way they killed their victims? We tear unborn babies from the womb yet we care about how murderers of adults are put to death? Makes me go Hmmm!!! Oh and death penalty take them out sunrise the day after the verdict and broadcast the execution on TV!!! No deterrent effect? Bet me!!!

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:54 | 4347193 logicalman
logicalman's picture

Way to go with inflammatory language!

We tear unborn babies from the womb

I guess for you two wrongs DO make a right.


Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:28 | 4347261 Deo vindice
Deo vindice's picture

Deerhunter is correct.

Society largely applauds one kind of gory violence as a 'right', while thinking nothing of the horror of a victim who was raped, abused and then murdered.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:35 | 4347273 logicalman
logicalman's picture

I'm not saying anyone should be soft on this stuff, it's just the problem of absolute certainty, which is nigh on impossible.

The absoulute injustice of killing one innocent, for me, outweighs everything else.

Like I said, Life, meaning just that, as it is alt least somewhat reversible, given exonerating evidence.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:51 | 4347183 logicalman
logicalman's picture

It's just state-sponsored murder anyway - a criminal act.

How many innocents have been executed?

One is too many.

Life. at least it's somewhat undoable if new evidence exonerates, which is hardly a rare occurrance.

The cost argument doesn't work, either.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:00 | 4347206 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

How many innocent people are murdered every year by these insane fuckers. There will always be injustice in the world but to protect the worst of the worst because they might be innocent after numerous expensive appeals seems to me to be the greatest injustice of them all. When the world perceives there is no justice, there won't be any.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:04 | 4347215 logicalman
logicalman's picture

There isn't.


Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:32 | 4347269 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

As there is seldom any true justice in life, what is the point? My take has always been the deterrent aspect. If our legal system cannot do that then it is useless. Police seldom prevent crime directly and at most represent a potential threat to criminals by chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When seconds count the police are there in minutes, unless you live in Detroit and then it may be hours, if ever. Like we see in our government and economy, without consequences bad behavior is rampant. If there is not even the perception of justice then it is pointless and we are better off fending for ourselves, as we are anyway while living under the illusion of security.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 05:42 | 4347666 Acet
Acet's picture

There is no "deterrent" aspect: countries with the death penalty do not have lower rates of murder than countries without the death penalty.

You see, most murders aren't exactly being done by well-balanced, thoughtful individuals who carefully consider the risk that they are taking when they kill somebody.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 13:55 | 4348521 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

It appears that countries that have the death penalty have HIGHER rates of murder than those without it. An example is Canada vs. U.S.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:06 | 4347561 Midas
Midas's picture

logicalman(sic)--  If you had to guess, which number do you think would be higher:  The number of innocents executed since capitol punishment was re-instated, or the number of murders that were deterred by the death penalty?

I don't have the answer, and it is obviously unknowable, but I believe the number of murders that don't happen because of the death penalty win.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 09:28 | 4347819 Hundred Dollar Bonus
Hundred Dollar Bonus's picture

The dealth penalty also helps to catch a number of guilty people roaming the streets by being used as leverage against someone to rat them out.  I'm not an ends justify the means kind of guy but just saying....

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:46 | 4347383 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

<-- Send them to a labor colony till natural death
<-- Send them to prison in Mexico, under NAFTA.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:53 | 4347595 ebear
ebear's picture

Ahem... the numerous expensive appeals stem from the fact that a death sentence is permanent.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 09:29 | 4347821 Hundred Dollar Bonus
Hundred Dollar Bonus's picture

mabye the death penalty is permanent because of the expensive appeals.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:01 | 4347209 Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

Way to go with the inflammatory language!

It's just state-sponsored murder anyway - a criminal act.

Cram it, Spock...

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:04 | 4347210 tallen
tallen's picture

The wrongful execution of an innocent person is an injustice that can never be rectified. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty, 142 men and women have been released from Death Row nationally....some only minutes away from execution. Moreover, in the past two years evidence has come to light which indicates that four men may have been wrongfully EXECUTED in recent years for crimes they did not commit.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 14:00 | 4348542 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Government attorneys love the way the death penalty gets the accused, many of them innocent, to accept plea agreements that they would never accept otherwise. An excellent example of this is MLK's accused assassin James Earl Ray, clearly just another patsy.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:20 | 4347571 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Are you against state-sponsored kidnapping too?  (aka imprisonment)

If you're going to have coercive punishment for breaking the law, the state's going to have to do things that would normally be illegal for an ordinary citizen.  No way around it.  Unless you want anarchy that argument doesn't hold water.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 04:16 | 4347609 ebear
ebear's picture

As I see it, the current polemic misses the real point, which is this:

Do you trust the Police not to falsify evidence against you?  How about the AG?  Think he should be eligible for state or federal office after he gets done with you?  How about the sitting judge, or the judge on appeal?   Naw, they would never trade your life for political gain, right?  I mean, after all, they're Judges!

What really jumps out at me though, is how few people here detect the deep irony in this debate.  You would trust these people - the same, or cut from the same cloth - that have been robbing you blind since god knows when, to administer JUSTICE?

Call this Fight Club?  All I see is a Whine fest.  

They tuk ur gold... urrrr

Yeah.  And then they took your life.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 14:02 | 4348551 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

Why not just embrace Islamic Law? It works in Saudi Arabia to keep the prison population low and reduce crime.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 14:13 | 4348584 amberwavesofsom...
amberwavesofsomething's picture

"Unless you want anarchy"

Oh no, heaven forbid lol.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:52 | 4347184 navy62802
navy62802's picture

Jesus, it's not like the US executes that many people per year. How much can a gallon of the shit cost? I imagine that a gallon of pentobartibital would get us through at least a full year of executions. Shit, I could probably afford that much on my own measely salary.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:59 | 4347202 logicalman
logicalman's picture

This is just political theatre of the most cynical kind.

If you do need to kill someone humanely, stick 'em in a sealed room and slowly replace the air with pure nitrogen.

Anoxia sets in - apparently feels a bit like being drunk - then unconciousness and eventually death.

Because there is no build up of carbon dioxide, the panic feeling of being suffocated doesn't happen.

I'm not recommending it, just putting it out there.


Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:04 | 4347214 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Its government. Their idea of efficiency is to make it as complicated as possible, and then when it fails hire expensive and time consuming studies as to how to make it even more complicated and screwed up.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:07 | 4347219 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

The cost of the exectution procedure is a tiny fraction of the total cost of a death sentence.  The decades of appeals is what costs money.  Bullet, drugs, nitrogen or shooting them into space without a helmet is inconsequential to the total tab.  

Pick the right argument to fight.  The cost of execution won't get you where I think you really want to go.  Let me be clear:  I'm not sure I'm on the same side of this argument as you are, but I see the necessity of supporting that side.  So my advice to you (a possible opponent) is this:  hit where you are going to make an impact, not just where it feels good to hit.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:36 | 4347253 logicalman
logicalman's picture


Like I said 'political theatre'

Looks like we fell for it, given we are taking the time to comment.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:21 | 4347252 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Actually, the best way to do it is the same as they did it back in colonial days.

Draw and quarter them.

Give them an idea of the pain they caused to family members and friends of the murdered victim(s).

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 14:06 | 4348564 FeralSerf
FeralSerf's picture

It worked well for political prisoners as well. Maybe the quarters could be hung on poles on the corners of the offenders' neighborhoods as well as a warning to other too?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:37 | 4347450 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

@logicguy: You do not know what you are talking about. High/climbing co2 blood leveols make you SLEEPY- not panicky. That's why the term "co2 narcosis" exists. Now hypoxia- that's another story. I have never dealt with anyone suffering from excess n2 inhalation. Normal air is aprox 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen... As far as the death penalty- there are some evil persons who've earned it...

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 09:38 | 4347833 maxblockm
maxblockm's picture

N2 inhalation often occurs with divers, nitrogen narcosis, and that part at least he does know what he's talking about.  

I would imagine with CO2 suffocation you would be sleepy AND panicked that you were slowly suffocating...rapid shallow pulse that a stop...

Wikipedia confirms this "other effects include tachycardia." 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 14:04 | 4348562 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

Nice try but wrong. Higher heart rate does not always correlate with higher anxiety. Heart rate in your 'wiki' example would be more a biochem reaction. My knowledge comes from decades in critical care and NOT wiki. Invariably, the people that I have treated would be drowsy. I literally deal with this daily in my unit. The panicky people are usually air hungry, hyperventilating and have LOW co2 levels. Again, I don't know that the low co2 is causing the anxiety so much as the air hunger (typically asthmatics). You example of "the bends" occurs due to someone breathing air under higher pressures and not having time to normalize. It does NOT occur at normal atmospheric pressures. The treatment for it is actually hyperbaric. Please educate yourself ( from somethying besides wiki) prior to commenting in the future, so as not to waste our time.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 04:20 | 4347611 ebear
ebear's picture

"If you do need to kill someone humanely, stick 'em in a sealed room and slowly replace the air with pure nitrogen."

Or Justine Bieber's latest album on repeat. Oh wait, that would be cruel and unusual, right?

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:54 | 4347187 tallen
tallen's picture

It costs far more to execute a person than to keep him or her in prison for life. A 2011 study found that California has spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1978 and that death penalty trials are 20 times more expensive than trials seeking a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. California currently spends $184 million on the death penalty each year and is on track to spend $1 billion in the next five years.

I say let them stay in prison, it's the cheapest option.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:10 | 4347226 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

I say let them experience a tragic accident while in the shower.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:35 | 4347265 Barking Seal Troll
Barking Seal Troll's picture

The exhorbitant costs were due mostly to litigtation.  They also count the salaries of judges, prosecutors, and jailers (pro-rated). 

An honest assessment would at least try to correct for opportunity cost.  Failure to do that is like saying that my hypothetical house fire cost the township $4000 because that's (the annual cost of providing a FD) / ( the # of runs they made in a year)...while the FD would have been watching tv if not for my fire, and they didn't forego attending to any other fires.  Bill me for the cost of their gasoline?  Have at it?  (Can i then bill them for providing ongoing education?)

You could also reduce those costs by making the convicts work, providing them a bare minimum of sustinence, and more cable tv.  You could also eliminate the automatic appeals and multiple reviews.  Do we want to be certain that the person is guilty before rendering the ultimate punishment?  Yes, of course, but most instances are clear cut and the need for the $5MM process is insane. 

(Yes, I'm aware of the handful of convicted murderers whose convictions were overturned later [which is not the same as being innocent], but you might want to be aware that of the murderers who are released from prison, 1.2% commit another murder within 3 years.  Those subsequent victims were innocent.  Which innocents would you prefer to save?  "Innocent" convicts or innocent 2nd victims?)

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:18 | 4347334 Ballin D
Ballin D's picture

" "Innocent" convicts or innocent 2nd victims? "


By your numbers the 99% of the time when they dont commit another murder probably outweighs the 1%. 

I would support much of what you say if the executive branch of this country actually had a track record for honesty and accuracy. Police are not trained to solve crimes.  Theyre trained to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 09:43 | 4347844 maxblockm
maxblockm's picture

You say it's the cheapest option do you?

Well, you give a figure in your post for how much is spent on the death penalty, but not a figure for how much is spent on keeping them in prison.  Even if the trial is more expensive it won't be more expensive than the cost of housing/feeding/monitoring them for xx years.

Let the math do the talking.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:55 | 4347196 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

There is no need to execute or even imprison felons. Surely they can find them a job at one of the TBTF banks. It seems they already have quite a few employed now.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 21:56 | 4347197 ISEEIT
ISEEIT's picture

If they let pissed off 'people' kill them and put it on a special website the government could make, then as long as they charged enough per view...

It would be free!

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:01 | 4347208 logicalman
logicalman's picture

Maybe you should go first.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:01 | 4347207 Yancey Ward
Yancey Ward's picture

This is just emblammatic of the fall of the US- our governments are too fucking stupid to find a sedative to put death row inmates to sleep.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:03 | 4347211 logicalman
logicalman's picture

First off 'emblematic'

Second, see my previous comment regarding political theatre.


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:29 | 4347573 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Can't use a sedative.  Thanks to SCOTUS pretzel logic in 8th amendment cases, you can only execute someone who is conscious and able to understand the punishment; but you also can't cause a lot of pain in the process.  Threading that needle requires a very specific cocktail of drugs which EU nannies have now denied us.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:05 | 4347216 Gerb00
Gerb00's picture

Lets see, it took 25 minutes for the asshole to die...How long did it take for the pregnant woman being raped to die? 25 minutes was to short.....It might be more of a deterent if the scum bags had to choke and puke for an hour or so in much pain....Make all the juvenile delinquints watch and see how many of them go on to a life of crime...

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:06 | 4347217 Save_America1st
Save_America1st's picture

Fine by me!!!  First up should be all the fucking sociopath, treasonous, Marxist, scumbag politicians and their gangster bankster puppet masters!!! 

I mean, fuck...what the fuck is any kind of law and punishment worth if we don't use agains the real criminals of this world!!!


Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:10 | 4347225 logicalman
logicalman's picture

How many murders did Bush commit?

How many murders did Hill and Billary commit.

How many murders has Obama committed, and he's not done yet.

How many people have starved to death due to the actions of criminal bankers and politicians.

Any of them on death row? Only the ones that fight against central banks (see Sadam and Muammar).

Get back to me on this one, please.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:12 | 4347237 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

So you are saying we should have even more on death row? Enhanced

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:25 | 4347255 logicalman
logicalman's picture

I said what I said, if you didn't get if, read it over a few times.

I thought I put it simply enough, but, in your case, I guess not.


Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:42 | 4347279 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Well, i'm trying. I guess you are inferring that all killing is murder and that we have murderers living in the white house, and that all murderers (by your definition of course) should be in prison? See the problem with justice is it is very personal in its interpretation. Get the animal rights people involved and we will all be murderers.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:49 | 4347286 Save_America1st
Save_America1st's picture

DEMOCIDE:  How about we start executing some policiticans for their murderous treason...

"From Mao in Communist China, Stalin in the U.S.S.R., Hitler in Nazi Germany, Pol Pot under the Khmer Rouge and so many others, governments have killed more than 260 million people in just the last one hundred years."


Now let's start adding in what the sociopath/psychopaths in control of our own government have killed over the last 14 years.

And you know who they want to kill next????...........



Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:10 | 4347232 U4 eee aaa
U4 eee aaa's picture

There is an easier way. Cage match, 1 on 1. The winner gets to live

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:12 | 4347235 Spungo
Spungo's picture

Wait. We're consuming so much heroin that we don't have enough to lethally inject people with it? We need to step up our game in Afghanistan. Get more heroin flowing.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:12 | 4347236 Barking Seal Troll
Barking Seal Troll's picture

"Two months ago we reported that due to a shortage of Pentobarbital, Ohio would be unable to execute death row convicts"

No worries.  We still execute them....25 freaking years after the murder. 

'Justice delayed is justice denied' indeed.

In the case of OH's most recent lethal injection this week, the murderer's daughter is suing the state because she (and her lawyers and an army of panties in a twist Lib groups) alleges that her father suffered during the execution.  Her proof?  Her father chortled before he passed; so "obviously" he was choking and suffering.  Ironically she retained the lawyer before the execution because they knew in andvance that this was cruel and unusual punishment. 

His crime?  He raped and stabbed to death a woman who was 8 months pregnant.  He also tried ratting out his brother-in-law for the crime in order to divert suspicion from himself.

The murderer and his scumbag profiteering daughter can both rot.  Send her a bill for the 25 years he was a guest of the taxpayers. 

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:19 | 4347247 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

fuck it then. Lets just shut down the cops and the courts. It seems justice is rarely served, some getting jail for minor crimes while other run free on the simplest technicalities. Just save all that money and provide free handgun and defense training, emphasizing our responsibility of self reliance.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:29 | 4347262 logicalman
logicalman's picture


my previous comment was based on what you said, and now you are making sense.

unless, of course, you meant to put a /sarc on this one.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:18 | 4347246 Caveman93
Caveman93's picture

Corzine going first?

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:20 | 4347250 Goldilocks
Goldilocks's picture

Frank Sinatra- You make me feel so young (2:56)

Frank Sinatra-Fly me to the moon (3:07)

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:27 | 4347257 ShrNfr
ShrNfr's picture

Perhaps they cane gove the guy a $10,000 bag of heroin from the evidence room. Should do the trick and fast.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:31 | 4347266 logicalman
logicalman's picture

Doesn't take that much for one OD - $10,000 would keep 'em going for a while.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:31 | 4347268 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

our legal system has no business executing people. I have no problem with an eye for an eye, if you murder another person you deserve to die. But having said that, the judicial system in the US has lost the moral authority to kill other people in my opinion. Too many people have been let off death row after a decade of sitting there, there is no telling how many innocent men have been executed in this country. There are too many corrupt prosecutors who have political ambitions, and police, and insanely stupid people who comprise the juries. Until we live in a country where rule of law exists, instead of the corruptocracy we have today, our govts have no business executing anyone

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:34 | 4347579 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

But they do have business locking innocent people up for their entire lives to be raped in the shower?  And keep in mind it's much easier to get a new trial if you're on death row thanks to the luxurious system of appeals afforded to CP-sentenced inmates.  If you're sentenced to life you get one appeal and that's it, and none of the anti-CP ideologues will give a damn how long you rot

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:32 | 4347270 Musashi Miyamoto
Musashi Miyamoto's picture

I'm not going take into consideration small things like... I don't know... mistrials and the death of an innocent man... Oops...

I don't think firearms are an effective way to humanely execute people. People survive multiple head shot wounds. I could see a scenario where they fill an inmate with more than one volley before complete lost of consciousness. I assure you a painless death it will not be. Whatever happened to hemlock? The Greeks managed to kill people painlessly 2500 years ago.

...and he walked about until, as he said, his legs began to fail, and then he lay on his back, according to the directions, and the man who gave him the poison now and then looked at his feet and legs; and after a while he pressed his foot hard and asked him if he could feel; and he said, no; and then his leg, and so upwards and upwards, and showed us that he was cold and stiff. And he felt them himself, and said: When the poison reaches the heart, that will be the end. He was beginning to grow cold about the groin, when he uncovered his face, for he had covered himself up, and said (they were his last words)--he said: Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt? The debt shall be paid, Offering to Asclepius said Crito; is there anything else? There was no answer to this question; but in a minute or two a movement was heard, and the attendants uncovered him; his eyes were set, and Crito closed his eyes and mouth. Such was the end, Echecrates, of our friend, whom I may truly call the wisest, and justest, and best of all the men whom I have ever known...

Death of Socrates - Phaedo by Plato -

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 09:27 | 4347817 Vooter
Vooter's picture

Well, I'm definitely no expert, but five simultaneous rifle shots to the heart from 20 feet sounds like a pretty quick way to go...

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 10:00 | 4347884 Musashi Miyamoto
Musashi Miyamoto's picture

Check it out. He was breathing and struggling in his chair for more than a minute after the execution. So while it may seem sound on paper, in practice human beings tend to live a little after a fatal injury even by 4 simultaneous shots to the chest. Those last seconds are the most painful imaginable...

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:17 | 4347301 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Brass is the currency of Firing Squads,
Lead is the currency of the Dead.


Brass = Kick Ass
Lead = You're Dead

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:58 | 4347306 AchtungAffen
AchtungAffen's picture

And America still keeps its barbarian practice of state sponsored murder, along with the most brutal regimes on earth...

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:38 | 4347580 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

If "state sponsored murder" is barbarian, state sponsored kidnapping is too.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 22:58 | 4347308 deerhunter
deerhunter's picture

Death is the last enemy. We will all meet it. To put humane and death in the same sentence is inhuman. People survive multiple bullets to the head? Really? How about I volunteer with a double lung crossbow shot then. The whole thing with wrongful convictions and political ambition is wrong on many levels. If the government and police can't prosecute and penalize properly and we return to eye for an eye then you will really have humane treatment to worry about. Police protection is a myth. I come from poor/lower middle class and have lived in some iffy areas. Police and fire protection in reality is a 44 mag and a fire extinguisher. If you have a home invasion just ask them politely to wait for you to dial 911. Discussions about the death penalty will go on.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:07 | 4347320 eduard khil
eduard khil's picture

If I had to pick I'd take firing squad over injection. But the most hardass way to go would be to ride the lightning.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:24 | 4347343 Ballin D
Ballin D's picture

I couldnt agree more. I say let the police that led the investigation/conviction pull the trigger.

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 05:06 | 4354772 GoldIsMoney
GoldIsMoney's picture

Oh great the good Policemen, yes that sound as about right as the "nice guys" from Gestapo, Staatssicherheit, FBI or NSA. 

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:08 | 4347322 jerry_theking_lawler
jerry_theking_lawler's picture

Most powerful country in the world can not manufacture Pentobarbital? What the hell? We have regulated ourselves into this mess.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:20 | 4347340 Gerb00
Gerb00's picture

Why the debate over 'painless', the people they killed certainly didn't die painlessly...let the motherfuckers feel some pain, no, a lot of pain....

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:25 | 4347344 DonFromWyoming
DonFromWyoming's picture

Tyler(s) totally missed the reason why Pentobarbital is in "short supply".
Here's why -

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:25 | 4347346 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I have to say that I'm pretty surprised at a lot of the commentary on this topic. As a libertarian I find the meddling of the state in most matters offensive, and that includes the matters of execution. Hell there isn't much the state can get right, what makes us think they can get this right?

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:53 | 4347398 AchtungAffen
AchtungAffen's picture

That's what I find most amazing. Most people here would call themselves libertarian, yet at the same time they'll happily approve of state sponsored murder. WTF is wrong with them?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:00 | 4347404 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

It makes one wonder just how many people here are actually libertarians.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 01:31 | 4347515 PrecipiceWatching
PrecipiceWatching's picture

Happy to say I'm not.

Since 1992.


Didn't know that was a tacit assumption for reading/participating on this Site.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:44 | 4347585 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Libertarianism has nothing to do with capital punishment.  It has to do with whether coercion is justified in any given situation.  Once coercion is justified, libertarianism is silent on what form the coercion should take.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 08:36 | 4347726 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

There are many prominent Libertarians who have taken a position against capital punishment, and consider it the ultimate abuse of the state.

Tue, 01/21/2014 - 02:08 | 4350738 GoldIsMoney
GoldIsMoney's picture

" Once coercion is justified, libertarianism is silent on what form the coercion should take."


That is not true. Killing means taking away one´s right to live. No libertarian worth have an ounce would not detest the death penalty. They would justify every killing in self defense, but killind in the name of justice is an oxymoron.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:12 | 4347425 migra
migra's picture

So you think some savage killers should be allowed to live on American tax dollars in jail for the rest of their worthless life. I say fuck that. Kill them all. Fuck that pussy ass libertarian shit. 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:42 | 4347581 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

Unless you want to have total anarchy you have to have some coercive punishments for lawbreaking.  Even with imprisonment there's the possibility of an innocent person having his or her life wrecked by incorrect guilty verdicts.

Death is certainly irreversible, but being locked up in rapeland for 40 years in what would be the prime of your life is pretty irreversible too.  The answer is to fix the justice system, not to tinker with the penalties.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 08:19 | 4347734 nmewn
nmewn's picture

I was going to say much the same thing, libertarians aren't anarchists and even an anarchist would bend their ideology if the victim was their child/wife/brother/sister/mother/father and the rat(s) are still running free doing the same to others.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 15:35 | 4348826 amberwavesofsom...
amberwavesofsomething's picture

Some libertarians are anarchists. And I would say that if your philosophy flies out the window the moment someone close to you enters the equation it wasnt much of a philosophy to begin with.

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:45 | 4347380 pitz
pitz's picture

Midazolam + hydromorphone?  Come on, at significant doses, the inmate wouldn't have even known what planet he was on.  So what if it took a few extra minutes.  Its not like there was any inhumanity.  Far less painful than gunshot wounds.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:44 | 4347468 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture

Inject 'em with 50cc air and their troubles would be over. Nothing like a vapor lock in the plumbing... Not to mention really cheap!

Sun, 01/19/2014 - 23:47 | 4347386 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Just give a baseball bat to someone in the family/friends of the victims and 20 minutes alone with the SOB = problem solved.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:06 | 4347418 migra
migra's picture

The problem with executions in America is not the method.  Its the lack of executions. In California a inmate on death row is far more likely to die of old age than execution. To hell with these savages.  To hell forthwith. 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:11 | 4347421 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

He's dead Jim, he's dead!

Damn, I swear I had the phaser on Stun. My bad.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:29 | 4347444 shutdown
shutdown's picture

What would Gary Gilmore say about this?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:45 | 4347471 ceilidh_trail
ceilidh_trail's picture


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:06 | 4347541 Sid James
Sid James's picture

Not much I suspect.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 03:54 | 4347596 the0ther
the0ther's picture

Just do it?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 00:54 | 4347480 22winmag
22winmag's picture

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Will America's obsession with crime and punishment ever end?


Capital punishment is just the cherry on top of the enormous shit cake that is the "justice system".

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 01:14 | 4347499 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Yellen better not lose her grip.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:06 | 4347539 Sid James
Sid James's picture

Haven't we got drones for this kind of thing?

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:21 | 4347545 Joe A
Joe A's picture

Enough psychos in the US to sign up for firing squad duty.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:25 | 4347546 trader1
trader1's picture

this story runs deeper than "shortage"

...Pentobarbital is manufactured by Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck. When the domestic US production of the drug stopped in early 2011, that Danish pentobarbital began to find its way to American prisons for use in executions - a situation that caused an unhappy Lundbeck to force its customers to sign an agreement that they would not sell on the drug to any prison authority that could use it for the death penalty. 

Then, in late 2011, the EU - which forbids torture and the death penalty in its constitution - introduced strict export controls to stop the sale of drugs like pentobarbital to the US. What pentobarbital made it through would have had an expiration date of a couple of years. It’s no surprise, then, that as that last batch runs out, we’re starting to see a range of alternative drugs introduced by states that refuse to stop executing prisoners.

On 15 October, for the 1986 rape and murder of 21-year-old Angela Crowley, Florida executed 51-year-old William Happ using the sedative midazolam hydrochloride. Allen Nicklasson, 41, was executed for murder on 11 December in Missouri using pentobarbital, after a temporary stay of execution in October after controversy over the alternative drug that the state wanted to use - the general anaesthetic propofol, which is similar to valium, and which has never been used to execute anyone before. The state refused to comment on who manufactured the pentobarbital used, or where it was bought. Here’s Nature on the case:

Propofol, used up to 50 million times a year in US surgical procedures, has never been used in an execution. If the execution had gone ahead, US hospitals could have lost access to the drug because 90 percent of the US supply is made and exported by a German company subject to European Union (EU) regulations that restrict the export of medicines and devices that could be used for capital punishment or torture. Fearing a ban on propofol sales to the United States, in 2012 the drug’s manufacturer, Fresenius Kabi in Bad Homburg, ordered its US distributors not to provide the drug to prisons.

 “The European Union is serious,” says David Lubarsky, head of the anaesthesiology department at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. “They’ve already shown that with thiopental. If we go down this road with propofol, a lot of good people who need anaesthesia are going to be harmed.”

Several states, led by Ohio, have since 2009 been moving away from the three-drug cocktail towards simply using pentobarbital on its own - it can cause the body’s lungs to stop working when given in high enough doses. However, the difficulty in procurring even that single drug means that not only are alternative drugs being used without much knowledge of their efficacy, prisons are turning to unregulated "compound pharmacies". These are where two or more other drugs are mixed to approximate the effects of another drug - a process that is unreliable at best, and which has led tooutbreaks of diseases like meningitis in areas where the method has been tried with prescription drugs.

(There’s further irony here that the nation most responsible for the international War on Drugs is now forced to seek out an alternative dealer - one which peddles an inferior-quality product, with unknown risks attached - now that its preferred brand is unavailable.)

Sticking up for many of the prisoners condemned to die may be difficult for some, considering the crimes they are convicted of, but the death penalty is enough of a medieval anachronism to know that adding in medical experimentation on top is a cruel, tortuous thing to do. International pressure has had some results in affecting those ten death penalty states in America - we have to hope it hasn't stopped here.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:29 | 4347548 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

Wow. Good post, dude - thanks for the info.

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 02:55 | 4347557 GoldIsMoney
GoldIsMoney's picture

Don't you think you have more pressing problems ? How comes that in the US there are more jailed per 1000 inhabitants then nearly world-wide? Don't you think you have a fundamental problem with your politicians and government apparatus?

And does anyone have checked the data what really is cheaper? Killing someone or keeping him? Don't you see that the murder trials which ended in execution hardly are done with one go? 

And doesn't it make you hesitate at least a bit, if you know how many innocent were killed in the name of justice? 


Mon, 01/20/2014 - 04:01 | 4347598 the0ther
the0ther's picture

I like Moldbug's ideas about cost effective yet humane (?) and retributive punishment. Put of the worst into some kind of pod where they mine world of warcraft gold. We sell the WoW gold and use it to cover costs of housing prisoners. 


Safe streets + no pile of corpses. Win Win! 

Mon, 01/20/2014 - 06:30 | 4347681 muleskinner
muleskinner's picture

Friedrich Guillotine was opposed to the death penalty, but since it was going to be used to rid the world of those who were going to be put to death, he invented a device that made the job easy and quick.

I can go down to the river bank, pick some water hemlock leaves off of a water hemlock plant, place a few of the leaves in the salad served to the condemned, and the salad will be his last meal.

Won't cost a dime and the the condemned poor sap will be dead in less than 2 hours.

The condemned will never know what killed them.

After Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, her executioners approached her burned body and soon realized that her heart was still beating. They were horrified.

The French did studies on severed heads. Supposedly had much information on what happened to the severed head. NASA supposedly has those studies.

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