Execution with untried drugs

As all reading here will know I’m agin capital punishment. However, I’m not really sure why the Americans are making such a fist of it all:

A death row inmate who was executed by the state of Ohio on Thursday with an untried and untested combination of two medical drugs appeared to gasp and snort in a procedure that took an unusually long 25 minutes to kill him.

Dennis McGuire was pronounced dead at 10.53am at the Southern Ohio Correctional facility in Lucasville. His lawyers had warned ahead of the proceeding that the experimental combination of the sedative midazolam and painkiller hydromorphone might subject him to “air hunger”, an insufficient flow of air into the lungs causing the sensation of suffocation.

I know all about why they’re using such previously untried drugs. However, why aren’t they using ones that we know work without fuss? Just about anywhere in the US you could pick up $100 worth of street heroin which would be enough to OD someone who wasn’t already an addict. And it might cost $20 if you used the pharmaceutical stuff. And we do know that it’s pretty easy to get someone to OD on opiates too. So why are the piddling about with all of these other drugs?

62 thoughts on “Execution with untried drugs”

  1. If you’re going to have capital punishment, don’t pussyfoot around with drugs or electric chairs.

    Hanging, beheading, or giving the condemned man a last fag while the firing squad lines up to shoot him in the heart is the way to do it.

    If murderers deserve to die, there’s no need to concoct quasi-medical procedures to “humanely” kill them. There’s nothing humane about an execution. But they do at least deserve the courtesy of dying quickly and in full possession of their faculties. Kill them like men, not like victims of some bizarre medical experiment.

  2. Bloke in Spain – maybe. I think deterrence is the weakest argument for the death penalty though. Retribution is the strongest one in my view.

  3. Killing someone painfully and/or slowly is barbarism. British style hanging is probably the most humane way, if it’s done right.

  4. @BiS

    They have public executions in Iran, most of them strangulation hanging rather than quick drop neck break hanging, which by all accounts is a gruesome death, and that doesn’t seem to stop the crimes happening.

    I think Steve is right, especially in the USA which becoming quite a nasty country when it comes to crime and retribution (I’m sure IanB will have something to say about on that point)

  5. yes I’ve never understood why they don’t just give them a general anaesthetic and then … well anything goes. Roll them over with a steam roller, drop them out of a plane, blow them up.

  6. “most of them strangulation hanging …which by all accounts is a gruesome death,”
    Not entirely convinced by that argument. Seems to be the leisure activity of choice by some of our political class. With fruit garnish, wasn’t it?

  7. Given that an awful lot of people manage to inadvertently kill themselves by knocking back too many shots too fast for their livers to cope with the alcohol flood why not stick a cannula attached cheap vodka into their arms. No one can accuse the state of cruelty.

  8. @ SimonF ‘They have public executions in Iran… and that doesn’t seem to stop the crimes happening.’

    ‘Crime’ Simon. I’m not sure that we can trust the Iranian police or courts too much.

    @ Luis ‘give them a general anaesthetic and then … well anything goes. Roll them over with a steam roller, drop them out of a plane, blow them up.’

    What a brilliant idea for a reality TV show.

  9. But basically, it’s very transparently all about abolition.

    The way to get the death penalty abolished is to make people believe that it is horrible and barbaric.

    ‘We just put him to sleep and he went peacefully’ is a harder sell to floating voters than ‘He was gasping for air and calling for his mama.’

    (I would abolish it myself, but only on grounds of the irreversibility of inevitable error.)

  10. The reason they don’t use opiates is that peoples’ reaction to them varies wildly. Particularly addicts can get pretty tolerant (and loads of prisoners are on heroin). No doctor is likely to certify death from a heroin overdose until the body is cold – and they really don’t want an execution to take “hours”. Also as death is ultimately from asphyxiation (which is a nasty way to die) that might be “cruel and unusual”.

    You want a drug that has 99.999% probability of causing death within about 3 minutes and passes the “cruel and unusual punishment” test. Believe it or not, there isn’t much in that line. IIRC the gas chambers got stopped so cyanide is out (troublesome to administer as well – you only want a dead convict, not dead officials and observers). Pretty much any potassium salt will do the job but be extremely painful, so that’s out as well.

    Most drugs in high enough doses will kill you – but they take their time over it and give you nasty experiences in the meantime.

    If I were on death row and had a choice of methods I think lethal injection would be bottom of my list. Machine gun would probably be pretty cool.

  11. “The way to get the death penalty abolished is to make people believe that it is horrible and barbaric.”

    That’s why I do seriously favour the public & painful route. There’s something deeply sick about a society that approves of CP but requires the act to be performed hidden away from it with minimum drama so they don’t have to think about it.. If CP is what a society wants, public square & stick it live on peak time TV. Let the society confront the reality of its wishes.
    And sorry, if that society regards it as great entertainment, then that’s the society you’ve got. Hiding it away doesn’t change anything.

  12. Serious question; when did they stop shooting people and why?

    Line them up in front of a wall, and let 5 chaps let rip with assault rifles.*

    It’s very North-Korean, but it would kill the fella dead, in what? 2 seconds?

    *I can’t stand the idea of the death penalty personally, but agree with BiS that it’s hypocritical for the citizenry of a country to say “string the bastards up! But not in my line of sight thanks”

  13. “it’s hypocritical for the citizenry of a country to say “string the bastards up! But not in my line of sight thanks”

    I’m not sure if this doesn’t tie neatly in with IanB’s latter day Puritans. The abolition of public executions in the UK is coincidental with the rise of the “we know what’s good for you” movements but there’s no evidence it’s a response to public aversion. . So CP became something it was perfectly OK for your betters to perform & be privy to the intimate details, but weren’t suitable fare for the masses ungraced by their moral superiority.

  14. H
    Having had several much loved dogs expire in my arms, they’re anesthetized first, then given an injection that shuts down respiration.
    You are warned the subject may seem to choke in the latter stage & I can remember it happening the last time. But cease of heartbeat was almost immediately after. Certainly no signs of distress.

  15. “yes I’ve never understood why they don’t just give them a general anaesthetic and then … well anything goes.”

    They do. The usual lethal injection consists of sodium thiopental to induce general anaesthesia, curare to paralyze the muscles, and potassium chloride to induce a heart attack. Recently, the only manufacturer of sodium thiopental has stopped producing it. It could easily be replaced by a more modern anaesthetic such as pentobarbital or propofol, but the change opens up the opportunity to re-examine the case again.

    The problem with the old lethal injection is the possibility that the anaesthetic doesn’t work while the curare and potassium chloride do. This can easily happen if the injection misses the vein and is instead injected into the soft tissue, and it leaves the subject unable to breath and having a heart attack, but unable to tell anybody about it – botched executions that have in the past taken up to 2 hours (as in the case of Romell Broom) do not sound like a fun way to go. While a trained medic can make sure the catheter enters the vein, none of them will assist with a violation of the Hippocratic oath.

    The difficulty as always is that while it is very easy to come up with methods that will work almost all the time, it’s much harder to guarantee that it will work *every* time. A slaughterhouse uses bolt guns, but you hear stories of how people sometimes miss. Hospitals can generally induce anaesthesia very reliably, but even there errors are sometimes made. Animal laboratories often use nitrogen asphyxia – it’s the rise in CO2 in the blood that causes the unpleasant suffocation sensations, if you can still breath but there’s no oxygen in the air, you simply faint. But it’s not instantaneous, and it’s hard to be sure what they *do* feel. Another problem is that on losing consciousness you tend to lose a few seconds of memory in the process.

    The method that would be fastest and with the best guarantee would be explosive disruption of the entire brain. Detonating a stick of wire-wrapped dynamite strapped to the head is pretty instantaneous. But besides arguments about what happens if it doesn’t go off (never return to a firework after you’ve lit it), I think people would complain about the state of the body afterwards, when it’s returned to the family. It’s considered disrespectful. And nobody would want to have to clean the walls of the execution chamber afterwards.

    Mostly, this problem is about politics. Partly people are always uncomfortable with doing deliberately what they are more blase about letting happen accidentally. Partly the death penalty is more about the psychology of the thing – people often have a longer life expectancy on death row than they would do outside. Partly it’s about political opposition to the practice, and the labyrinthine constraints of legal red tape.

    But mostly it’s exactly what you would expect from giving the job to government bureaucrats. There is no task in the universe so simple that they cannot completely screw it up.

  16. Niv gets the problem.
    The simplest non invasive execution is probably a sleeping pill in your last meal, followed by clamping a mask delivering 100% helium or N2.
    Our need to breathe is mediated by our CO2, so if you are exhaling OK you feel no distress.
    Trouble is, there is a vestigial O2 monitor in the brain, so there may be some final distress.
    (I don’t know if it’s apocryphal, but apparently they did bring a diver back to life after poisoning him with 100% He. More common is that the rescue diver breathes the same mix, then you’ve got two dead divers.)
    A second problem is to determine time of death. When he stops breathing, how long do you leave the mask on?

  17. @ Matthew L, what was Pierrepoint’s motto, “From cell to hell in 7 seconds”?

    Apparently once people see the executioner they get a bit weepy, start begging and that sort of malarky. Pierrpoint walked in to the cell, bag over the condemned’s head, frog march them through the next door into the execution room, noose, long drop, job done. No fuss, no mess, no delays.

  18. @H, usually barbiturates.

    Incidentally, @NiV, animal laboratories tend to use CO2 asphyxia on small animals, not nitrogen.

  19. Put them out in nature somewhere, cuffed to a large bomb. They can die in the fresh air on their feet, and be hurled into eternity in a single instant. Also it has a sense of drama that other methods lack.

  20. I don’t understand. Veterinarians do this as a matter of routine, with an emphasis on humane (since the grieving owner is present and emotional).

    Why don’t they just ask the vets to do it?

    SimonF

    especially in the USA which becoming quite a nasty country when it comes to crime and retribution

    Yes, but I think it pretty much always has been. They’ve never taken the “cruel and unusual” very seriously. They’re not a good model for civilised peoples like ourselves.

  21. @ Mr Ecks ‘Put them out in nature somewhere, cuffed to a large bomb.’

    Thinking about it, I favour the Sven Hassel approach. It’s not like we don’t have minefields in Afghanistan that need clearing.

  22. I’m also against capital punishment, but I reckon give them the option of fighting it out. I’m sure plenty of people would be happy to volunteer for the role of counter-gladiator (especially with a massive financial incentive for winning), and you could pay for it all by turning it into a gameshow. Say £5m for the winner (reprieve if it’s the condemned) £5m for the victim’s family and the rest to the tax coffers.

    There, solved.

  23. My understanding is that the previous three drug method of lethal injection was also invented by non-expert people who didn’t much know what they were doing.

    One of the problems is that people who do know what they are doing tend not to want to be involved in things like this.

  24. I think the fastest-to-death method (other than literally blowing their head off, as suggested) is the guillotine.

    For those talking about guns, head-shots don’t reliably kill, and hits elsewhere generally kill by blood-loss, which is messy and slow.

  25. “One of the problems is that people who do know what they are doing tend not to want to be involved in things like this.”

    They don;t seem to have a problem with the Liverpool Care Pathway though. Or abortion.

  26. “I think Steve is right, especially in the USA which becoming quite a nasty country when it comes to crime and retribution…”

    Blah, blah, blah.

    This development isn’t exactly a big deal here in Ohio… we’ve heard it all before. Last time they changed the mix of the cocktail, in fact. Death penalty opponents have to have something to squeal about because the fact of the matter is that Dennis McGuire raped and murdered a pregnant woman and in the process of raping and murdering her, he also murdered her unborn child… Saying his life is worth sparing basically fails the Laugh Test around these here parts, what with us all being unedjamacated Old Testament Neanderthals and whatnot.

    Ohio’s juries – comprised of Ohio citizens – hand down death sentences for a reason. They do so after due process and due deliberation. And to date the state government has had to good sense to honor the decisions of its citizens rather than listen to the opinions of federal public defenders and mainstream journos.

    Dennis McGuire deserved to be dead. It wasn’t thrust upon him… He earned it. And now he is dead. Excuse if all I can muster is a muttered “Big. Fucking. Deal.” to the handwringers and moralists before I continue about my daily business.

  27. I have to say I’m with Dennis here, given that my only objection is the possibility of wrongful conviction, and that doesn’t seem to be a problem here. I actually laughed when reading this in the Mail:

    Stewart’s slaying went unsolved for 10 months until McGuire, jailed on an unrelated assault and hoping to improve his legal situation, told investigators he had information about the woman’s February 12, 1989, death.
    His attempts to blame the crime on his brother-in-law quickly unraveled and soon he was accused of being Stewart’s killer, according to prosecutors.
    More than a decade later, DNA evidence confirmed McGuire’s guilt, and he acknowledged that he was responsible in a letter to Governor John Kasich last month.

  28. Mainly what bloke in spain and Dennis the Peasant said.

    I am deeply opposed to the death penalty where uncertainty remains and not otherwise.

  29. So Much For Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “yes I’ve never understood why they don’t just give them a general anaesthetic and then … well anything goes. Roll them over with a steam roller, drop them out of a plane, blow them up.”

    That is exactly what they did and do. They cannot use the drug they usually used because the Danes have refused to export it. So they had to use another anaesthetic – midazolam this time.

    It is not certain with an anaesthetic that people don’t actually feel the pain. Some of them seem to work by allowing the patient to feel everything, but making sure they forget it the next day. Which would not be suitable for an execution.

    bloke in germany – “The reason they don’t use opiates is that peoples’ reaction to them varies wildly.”

    I agree with your general point, but they did use an opiate. In fact they used Hydromorphone. Which is just a derivative of morphene to make it a lot more soluable in water.

    “Also as death is ultimately from asphyxiation (which is a nasty way to die) that might be “cruel and unusual”.”

    Almost all deaths are by asphyxiation, or oxygen starvation of the brain so there is little ways of getting around that.

    “IIRC the gas chambers got stopped so cyanide is out (troublesome to administer as well – you only want a dead convict, not dead officials and observers).”

    Nitrogen would be a simple way to do it. Flood the chamber with nitrogen gas. The criminal would pass out without even knowing it. But again death is by a lack of oxygen to the brain.

    Dan – “Serious question; when did they stop shooting people and why?”

    They haven’t. Although there are only one or two states that still allow it. It is historically important because Gary Gilmour got the return of the death penalty (after the Supreme Court struck it down as cruel and unusual in the Furman decision) by demanding they shoot him. And so they did.

    “It’s very North-Korean, but it would kill the fella dead, in what? 2 seconds?”

    Less than that. Well depends where you shot him. But a bullet to the back the head would involve a bullet that moves faster than nerve signals do. So the brain would be, what is the expression?, disrupted before it even felt a thing.

    H – “What do they use to put pets ‘to sleep’? Making such a poor fist of killing people is mysterious indeed.”

    Exactly the same things. It was a direct copy from the world of vet medicine. But many manufacturers refuse to allow their drugs be used in executions. They used to use sodium pentathol. But it was made in the UK and the British banned its export under EU law. They used to use Pentobarbital but the Danes prohibited the export too.

    bloke in spain – “I’m not sure if this doesn’t tie neatly in with IanB’s latter day Puritans. The abolition of public executions in the UK is coincidental with the rise of the “we know what’s good for you” movements but there’s no evidence it’s a response to public aversion.”

    Actually it was the exact opposite. They banned public executions most places because they were so popular. Our Elders and Betters did not like the Hoi Poloi enjoying it so much. The last public executions in the US (depending on how you want to define public) drew crowds in the tens of thousands – despite the fact they had to pay for one of them. The French objected when someone secretly filmed an execution. You can probably find it on Youtube.

    However Britain banned journalists from executions when they screwed up. The tables for calculating the length of the drop were determined using large adult males. They had to hang a woman. And ripped her head clean off. Blood everywhere. Including all over the journalists watching.

    bloke in spain – “You are warned the subject may seem to choke in the latter stage & I can remember it happening the last time. But cease of heartbeat was almost immediately after. Certainly no signs of distress.”

    So exactly what happened with this man.

    NiV – “The method that would be fastest and with the best guarantee would be explosive disruption of the entire brain.”

    Bullet to the back of the brain. The Communists had lots of practice. They tend to know what works best.

    But an excellent suggestion.

    Mr Ecks – “Put them out in nature somewhere, cuffed to a large bomb. They can die in the fresh air on their feet, and be hurled into eternity in a single instant. Also it has a sense of drama that other methods lack.”

    Well if we ever start re-testing nuclear weapons …..

    sam – “I’m also against capital punishment, but I reckon give them the option of fighting it out. I’m sure plenty of people would be happy to volunteer for the role of counter-gladiator”

    You could get another convicted murderer to do it. I am sure there will never be a shortage. However I expect most murderers and fat, weak and cowardly. Wouldn’t make for good TV.

    How about we go the Chinese route and just take their organs?

    bloke in france – “Does Dignitas have as many SNAFUs as US prisons?”

    They don’t have a large lying activist population working to shut them down.

    Richard Gadsden – “I think the fastest-to-death method (other than literally blowing their head off, as suggested) is the guillotine.”

    It is just death by a lack of oxygen to the brain again. Not sure it is all that fast. Just irreversible and reliable.

    “For those talking about guns, head-shots don’t reliably kill, and hits elsewhere generally kill by blood-loss, which is messy and slow.”

    Death is almost always caused by blood loss. As is the guillotine. Head shots are pretty damn reliable actually.

  30. The mode of execution was appropriate. Joy Stewart was a pregnant newlywed. McGuire raped her and then stabbed her to death. His suffering was less than hers.

  31. When did “making a fist of it” come to mean doing something badly rather than doing it well? Is it a Portuguese thing?

  32. I thought there was fairly well-documented evidence of heads continuing to react for up to half a minute after being guillotined.

  33. Somewhere I have a book with a table of drop distances for hanging in the back. Can’t remember if it gives different lengths for male and female.

  34. Richard-

    Also, war reports. I recall one from Iraq- IED explodes under vehicle; one occupant (alive) trapped in seat watches decapitated head of companion in front of him pulling a wide variety of “realising what has happened” facial expressions before finally dying.

    Rather gruesome.

  35. So Much For Subtlety

    Richard – “I thought there was fairly well-documented evidence of heads continuing to react for up to half a minute after being guillotined.”

    I don’t know about well documented. But it was widely rumoured and some French people tried to test it to see. My favourite being a French doctor who struck the head across the face and recorded the expression of outrage thereon.

    But it may be true. After all, severing the head does not kill. It prevents any conscious movement of the body which is handy. But death comes from lack of oxygen to the brain. Which follows a massive loss of blood over all which would, presumably, lead to a loss of consciousness fairly quickly.

    Richard – “Somewhere I have a book with a table of drop distances for hanging in the back. Can’t remember if it gives different lengths for male and female.”

    But they all assume that the strength of the neck is about the same. It isn’t. If the soon-to-be deceased is really obese, then there is no safe distance. Any form of hanging will rip off the head. This has been used in the US to argue that hanging is cruel and unusual. By the 400 lb Mitchell Rupe in Washignton State. It worked for him. The Supreme Court decided it was and he died in prisonwhile serving life. It did not work for the svelte 295 lb Richard Cooey in Ohio who got the needle instead. And I am not sure what happened for the 400 lb Ronald Post whose lawyers argued that despite giving blood in the past, he was too fat to hang and too fat for the doctor to find a vein.

    If I were a jailhouse lawyer, I would tell my clients to eat and eat like there is no tomorrow while their appeals grind through

  36. Ian B: “Indeed. It remains a major problem.”

    So in your world it was Ohio that came up with Auschwitz-Birkenau and Europe simply copied it?

  37. Well, at current rates the entire US population will be in jail by 2050, at which point they can all just sodomise each other to death.

  38. Dennis-

    So in your world it was Ohio that came up with Auschwitz-Birkenau and Europe simply copied it?

    There will now be a performance of There’s No Business Like Shoah Business by the United States Racism Guilting Choir.

    Britan got bombed to shit fighting the Nazis, Dennis. Not our guilt, sorry.

  39. Yeah, I forgot what a spirited fight Neville Chamberlain and Edward VIII put up. My bad.

    I suppose all of the Empire’s fun and games in Africa, India, the Middle East and China is somebody else’s guilt as well, eh mate?

    There really is nothing sillier on the planet than a European lecturing an American on morality. The lack of self-awareness is truly pathetic…

  40. Yes, years before the Holocaust, the British Prime Minister was reluctant to draw Europe into a repeat of the holocaust of World War I. What a ghastly man, not wanting to start a war.

    Why are you lecturing me about the Holocaust and the Nazis, Dennis? What was America doing in 1939, other than sending ships full of Jewish asylum seekers back to Germany?

  41. “Yes, years before the Holocaust, the British Prime Minister was reluctant to draw Europe into a repeat of the holocaust of World War I. What a ghastly man, not wanting to start a war.”

    Yeah. How’d that work out, by the way?

    “What was America doing in 1939, other than sending ships full of Jewish asylum seekers back to Germany?”

    1939? Well, enacting the Neutrality Act of 1939, for one thing. Look it up some time.

    “Why are you lecturing me about the Holocaust and the Nazis, Dennis?”

    Just to remind you that for all your sophistication and moral superiority vis a vis we Yanks, history shows nobody enjoys killing more than Europeans. And as much as you Brits like to think you’re something apart… you ain’t. And I can’t help but notice your silence about the Empire’s record on human rights.

    Hey, if you think keeping likes of Brady, Maudsley and Nilson alive is a mark of being enlightened, go for the gusto… Just ignore the muffled laughter from across the pond and carry on as before.

  42. So Much For Subtlety

    Dennis the Peasant – “And I can’t help but notice your silence about the Empire’s record on human rights.”

    As much as I am enjoying a pointless off topic argument about nothing that doesn’t, for once, involve me, I am not sure you can make that claim. For one thing the later British Empire had a very good human rights record. For another, the American Empire, both at home and overseas, had, in anything, a worse record. Look at those Sioux who fled over the border into Canada to seek protection from the British.

    The distinction is surely that Americans like fighting weak people who can’t fight back. Killing all of them by preference or at least as near as makes no difference. Europeans expect to be fighting the people they fought before again in the near future. Which is why the killing tends to be more civilised.

    And I can’t believe that you are criticising Neville Chamberlain for doing exactly what the Americans were doing in 1939 – staying the hell out of problems on the mainland of Europe. But that is beside the point.

    Damn it. Now I can see I am going to be drawn in to this pointless off topic flame-fest. How about we get back to the actual subject at hand?

  43. I just love argument-by-Wikipedia.

    Especially the multidisciplinary ones, here, 20th century history and comparative physiology of execution methods.

  44. “The distinction is surely that Americans like fighting weak people who can’t fight back.”

    Uh… like the Germans and Japanese? So are the British still celebrating tremendous victories like the Battles of France and Singapore, or have they been halted out sheer modesty?

    Or is Isandlwana or Rourke’s Drift more your style… you know, Brits with rifles killing black African Zulus with spears because the Zulus just couldn’t understand how wonderful the “later Empire’s” human rights record was?

  45. However, why aren’t they using ones that we know work without fuss?

    Others have illuminated the physiological reasons, but the constitutional aspect perhaps has it covered, too. The Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment” presumably sees to it that execution does not disproportionately violate human dignity. 45 minutes or so of being smacked off their tits might be pushing the boundaries of ‘dignity’ (although it doesn’t much bother those I see occupying my town centre on a week day). I’ll assume it might still be a more pleasant way to go out, though.

    That said, if the US legal system is preoccupied with questions of what is “cruel and unusual” in respect of an execution, I’m wondering why those questions aren’t also asked of some of the insane sentences handed out for petty, victimless or non-violent crimes. Decades of gaol for possession of marijuana?

  46. “Death row inmate Dennis McGuire made several loud snorting or snoring sounds”

    Did Joy Stewart make sounds when she was raped? Did she make sounds when she was being stabbed? What was it like for the baby as it’s oxygen was depleted?

    Concern for Dennis McGuire is sick.

  47. “I’m wondering why those questions aren’t also asked of some of the insane sentences handed out for petty, victimless or non-violent crimes. Decades of gaol for possession of marijuana?”

    Well, largely because possession of marijuana isn’t a victimless crime. Plenty of people in Mexico, Columbia and elsewhere (including the States) die before that neat little package of weed hits the palm of the hipster who is going to smoke it. The blood on that marijuana cannot be seen by the end user… But it is there. Remember this: Marijuana is grown, distributed and sold by gangsters, thugs and killers. That such inconvenient facts might harsh someone’s mellow doesn’t change the fact that those are the facts.

  48. Helium asphyxiation is the preferred method of suicide for people who want to do it painlessly, less messily and with a high probability of success. Argon would presumably work too, especially since it’s denser than air so could be fed into an execuation chamber at the bottom while air is extracted from the top. Unconsciousness follows anoxia very rapidly. Brain death will occur after oxygen starvation of more than three to five minutes, so leave the bugger in there for a couple of hours. A gas chamber that rapidly exchanged the air inside for an inert gas would not be hard to build. If a nation has decided it wants to execute people then to me this would seem to be the best method.

  49. “Concern for Dennis McGuire is sick.”

    At best, it is misplaced.

    One more fact, as yet unmentioned here: Ms. Stewart’s husband committed suicide less than a year after Dennis McGuire murdered his wife and unborn child.

    I’d suggest he was murdered as surely as was his wife and child were. Anyone want to argue against that proposition?

    Anyone else want to put forth an argument as to why it was in society’s best interest that McGuire’s life should have spared? And by that I mean beyond the “You Yanks are so stoopid and I’m so wonderful” argument that’s already been put forth.

  50. Well, largely because possession of marijuana isn’t a victimless crime.

    Remember this: Marijuana is grown, distributed and sold by gangsters, thugs and killers

    That’s one aspect, but it also negates completely the fact that marijuana is also grown, distributed and sold within communities, and grown by consumers themselves. It’s a diverse industry.

    It isn’t, however, a challenge to the assertion that marijuana possession isn’t victimless. The act of possession – and that’s the qualifying feature of the law – is itself victimless. It doesn’t matter how it arrived in someone’s pocket – how does having it there specifically cause someone to be a victim?

    If we insist on the assertion that marijuana possession is illegal because someone, somewhere, might have fallen victim to a different crime, then we can play the reduction ad abursdum game and blame those hypothetical victims on the law itself for having arbitrarily created the criminal environment.

    Put in the shoes of some consumers,if there was the insinuation that my home-grown weed had caused a bloodbath in a far-away country, I’d want you to present some bloody good proof before you locked me up for a hundred years.

  51. “Put in the shoes of some consumers,if there was the insinuation that my home-grown weed had caused a bloodbath in a far-away country, I’d want you to present some bloody good proof before you locked me up for a hundred years.”

    If you’d exercise the good judgment of obeying the law (and in the process, acting like a responsible adult), the question would be moot, wouldn’t it?

  52. If you’d exercise the good judgment of obeying the law (and in the process, acting like a responsible adult), the question would be moot, wouldn’t it?

    ah, yes, because all laws are right, ipso facto, because they are the law. And all illegal behaviour is therefore wrong.

    I had forgotten.

  53. If you disagree with the law, you can either obey it, break it, or change it. If you choose the second, you’d best be ready to face the consequences of doing so.

    In this particular case, being on the safe side is foregoing making yourself stupid by smoking dope… not much of a sacrifice.

  54. If you’d exercise the good judgment of obeying the law (and in the process, acting like a responsible adult), the question would be moot, wouldn’t it?

    I’d rather exercise common sense and the will of a grown adult. Just because you want to force your morals on me, doesn’t mean I’m going to willingly go along with them for a single moment.

  55. Then by all means, fry that brain of yours with all the dope you want to smoke. What could be more common sensical?

    And if you end up in jail, say hi to the boys for me.

  56. I’ll take broad advice on pharmacodynamics from people in lab coats, rather than armchair scientists, but thanks all the same.

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