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Killing with Kindness Killing with Kindness
by Jan Sand
2007-11-06 09:40:28
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There is currently a debate in the US Supreme Court on the best way to kill people condemned to death. There are those that propose that death sentences are, by their very nature, cruel and there is no way to mitigate the ultimate goal. Legal systems in many countries outside the USA take this point of view. In addition the legal systems are now under suspicion due to DNA testing that has proved that several prisoners condemned to death have proved innocent. Prosecutors have not admitted that any innocent has actually been executed but there are strong indications that they are wrong. And, of course, once a prisoner has been executed a proof that this was wrong would be severely damaging to the entire legal structure.

The Christian commandment not to kill seems to forbid people killing each other but arguments have been made that there are enough exceptions to permit capital punishment. A good deal of the controversy centers on the social goal of execution.

Throughout history methods have varied widely. Life, after all, is very vulnerable to extinction since its mechanics are complicated and maintenances are easily violated. A removal or damage of any vital organ can result in a quick or slow death, dependent upon specifics. In general, in the past, practice has leaned towards the theatrically spectacular as one of the functions of the process was (and still is) to deter further social violations.

Despite doctrines to the contrary religious organizations in the past have seen to it that non-believers are stoned, burned, drowned, beheaded, hanged, shot, and probably killed by other horrid methods frequently after being tortured in a whole collection of imaginative and excruciating ways. The Christian religion in particular has enthusiastically embraced the concept of guilt from birth of everyone and denigrated the pleasures of the body and probably taken a good deal of delight in its vulnerability. Much of religious dogma, Christian and otherwise, is based on instilling fear of punishment for anybody violating religious tenets and torture and brutal execution is deeply inlaid in the history of religious enforcement.

It is interesting to note that the implied US government policies now in practice, despite denials, of general anti-Muslim intent, makes claims of religious support in its actions and somehow seems to be accepting and reinstating many of the cruel historic tortures previously condemned and banned since the beginning of the twentieth century. It is openly acknowledged by many commentators that the anti-terror policies of the US government is bent on instilling panic and fear much in the same manner as the old fear of Hell and damnation controlled the populace under religious domination.

But, to return to the base issue, it seems reasonably questionable that the end results of capital punishment are useful. The legal appeals system makes the procedure fiercely expensive and time consuming. The strong contention that indigent convicts are receiving less than proper legal support in many states seems valid and the final procedure which is basically medical injection of three chemicals, first to sedate, second to paralyze, and third to poison the convict is conventionally applied ineptly by amateurish non-medical personnel to excruciating effect.

If the end aim is to make the prisoner suffer as much as possible the goal may be only partially reached and I am sure that there are a plethora of sadists both within and outside the system to work out more frightful ends. The US constitution, on the other hand, seems to forbid cruel and unusual punishment.
This seems to be a problem. Cruelty can surely be avoided by a simple heavy lethal dose of narcotics but the US legal system is noteworthy in a kind of Puritan attitude that narcotic pleasure is improper and immoral and they would be dismayed that an execution might give a prisoner a final delightful high.

And the current US patent laws protecting intellectual property might further increase any really innovative execution procedures by requiring a hefty royalty every time an interesting execution takes place. With all the great inventors with a nasty tendency in the world, a condemned prisoner could be supplied with a large menu of choice as to the final means.

Or, considering much of the discussions I have heard on the subject with victim's relatives, the prisoner could be rendered helpless and subject to his victim's relatives' brutal whims. I imagine a capitalist oriented state could charge a hefty sum for each relative's participation and the relatives in turn could employ somebody from a firm like those hired by the US Government in Iraq as guards to administer something really nasty. The state could recoup much of its expenses. There's nothing like going the whole hog in inspirational execution.

    
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Rinso2007-11-06 11:25:30
The natural process of dying is long and painful for many people. Compared to that, a lethal injection could be a blessing. But the legislation often prolongs the suffering of those people. In my opinion the execution method is not the real issue here, but it is a start for a discussion about the death penalty itself.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-06 15:04:15

"Despite doctrines to the contrary religious organizations in the past have seen to it that non-believers are stoned, burned, drowned, beheaded, hanged, shot, and probably killed by other horrid methods frequently after being tortured in a whole collection of imaginative and excruciating ways. The Christian religion in particular has enthusiastically embraced the concept of guilt from birth of everyone and denigrated the pleasures of the body and probably taken a good deal of delight in its vulnerability. Much of religious dogma, Christian and otherwise, is based on instilling fear of punishment for anybody violating religious tenets and torture and brutal execution is deeply inlaid in the history of religious enforcement." (Sand)

"Evidently there are some minds so limited that further comments are totally useless." (Sand)


Sand2007-11-06 15:22:18
Glad you caught my comment, Paparella, but I sincerely doubt you have the capacity to comprehend it.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-06 15:34:55
The second one commenting on the first is the one that is more comprehensible since it fits quite well as a response to an inveterate proclivity for wide brushed slanderous and smearing cliches. The best that can be done, in all kindness, since we are on the subject, is to impute it to ignorance.


Sand2007-11-06 15:44:23
Damn! I simply do not have the skills to make the kind of devious and twisty prose that you turn out so easily and which is necessary to penetrate the odd patterns of that maze-like mind of yours so that you might grasp the gist of my information, Paparella. Plain speech simply doesn't make the grade.
You think in about twelve cliche´s which no doubt earned you your eponymous Ph.D. and I have this nasty habit of original prose. Life can be difficult.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-06 16:04:45
You may be slipping Mr. Sand, you duly disparaged my academic background ("overeducated" as you dubbed it sometime ago) but you forgot, as a fierce prozeletyzing orthodox atheist to place God before damn. It would have been more rethorically schoking and effective. Oh well, there is always a next time.


Sand2007-11-06 16:27:58
As rethorically schoking as my contribution might be I have no problem in acknowledging that religion has contributed useful terminology to general language without the necessity of my brown nosing your particular deity. If that's your only criticism I am delighted that a smidgin of intelligence has penetrated the nooks and crannies of your convoluted nervous system.


dfg2007-11-06 22:07:26
dg


Mat2007-11-06 22:09:03
lol


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-07 05:19:19
This from the blog "A lamb without any guiding light: thoughts on Finnish politics and other fascinating topics":
egan said...
That Ovi site is some kind of student prank, isn't it?

03 October, 2007 13:32

Are dfg and Mat two such lambs who strayed into Ovi without a guiding light? Possible, considering that there is at least one such in this forum who went there and came running back, although he may be a wolf in sheep's clothing killing us all with kindness and blinding us with his sheer brilliance. Aren't we all having fun? If we are, it would have been partially worth it.








Sand2007-11-07 06:56:40
I admit, Paparella, that your intellect is quite light but its guidance is not to be recommended.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-07 13:19:04
You have probably earned a high five from egan, dfg and Mat for that profound pun on the word "light."


Sand2007-11-07 13:27:49
If that's your concept of profundity, Paparella, you are in far worse trouble than I suspected.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-07 21:53:12
Exactly my point proven: childish minds are usually unable to grasp irony, which would be fine if compensated by imagination which children posses in abondance. In this case I suspect a feigned ignorance of irony is at work, and therefore belonging more properly to a rationalism unable to grasp the wholeness of reason and humanity. All it can do is gurard the gates of one's narrowmindedness paradeing as "enlightenment" and eat its own tail by listening to its own internal voices with no reference to the world out there. It's a pity indeed!


Sand2007-11-08 06:16:14
It's a two way street.


Sand2007-11-08 06:44:00
If your logic and common sense were on a level with your capability to spell you might have some worth in what you say. Unfortunately it's not even close.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-08 10:05:15
Desperate circumstances call for desperate measures. When one cannot muster the wherewithall of the content of a debate one attacks its form and raves against typos. They are inevitable especially when responding and commenting on the spot. Ever noticed the abundance of yours? but I will not say that you don't know how to spell; I will however say that you don't know yet how to think holistically. Give time to time.


Sand2007-11-08 13:07:20
I may have several feelings about you but be confident that desperation is not amongst them. You are precious to me as the finest example of elaborate idiocy I have ever encountered. When I pointed out you were overeducated it was in the sense that a container can have content aimed at it beyond its capacity to deal with. You are so full to the overflowing with undigested information that you have arranged it in the most weird manner like a Chinese acrobat balancing chairs and vases and boxes and fellow acrobats to make a most amusing but totally useless display. It's fun to throw ideas at it to see how it will topple.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-08 22:04:03
Those who live in glass houses....Are we having fun yet?


Sand2007-11-11 17:57:29
I would expect a Ph.D. to be more sophisticated than a teen-agers equivalent of "Nyaah,nyaah,nyaah!"


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-14 11:44:33
That deserves a high five. I suppose age has nothing to do with maturity. And yet Shakespeare said "maturity is all."


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