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21st century executions.
January 23, 2010 12:54 PM   Subscribe

10 executions that defined the 2000s. Ten executions that most palpably captured the decade’s Zeitgeist. Some clips may be NSFW.
posted by stinkycheese (30 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
This whole execution thing is utterly ghoulish, but I think the only way it's going to change is if this ghoulishness gets rubbed in American's faces.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:10 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


dunkadunc, half those executions weren't U.S.-based. Am I missing something?
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:13 PM on January 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


So the execution of McVeigh captured the zeitgeist of the 2000s?
posted by Sova at 1:14 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was somewhat surprised not to see Daniel Pearl on the list.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:16 PM on January 23, 2010 [9 favorites]


Rory, just so you know, the 2000s happened outside the US too.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:18 PM on January 23, 2010


Some of these weren't USA-based, and some of them were.
The entire issue of capital punishment is something people like to think of in happy abstracts, where Bad Guys get cleanly Done Away With, and the grisly reality of taking people's lives away (no matter how much we might not like them) by lethal injection or whatever gets ignored.
Unlike a lot of other countries that perform capital punishment, I think the United States has a lot more of a chance to abolish capital punishment, and that's going to happen when Americans start actually thinking about the whole ghoulish reality of killing people who we've already got locked up.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:19 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aileen Wuornos' final statement, according to Wikipedia: "Yes, I would just like to say I'm sailing with the rock, and I'll be back, like Independence Day with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I'll be back, I'll be back."
posted by dammitjim at 1:21 PM on January 23, 2010


ethnomethodologist: I was referring to the part of the comment right above me that said: "the only way it's going to change is if this ghoulishness gets rubbed in American's faces". I didn't think the comment meshed with the article it was posted to.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:21 PM on January 23, 2010


I was somewhat surprised not to see Daniel Pearl on the list.

No no no. Daniel Pearl was murdered. When a murder is state sanctioned, that's called an execution. See the difference? Good. Neither do I.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:26 PM on January 23, 2010 [13 favorites]


Defining a decade through executions is strange. Put another way, saying that ten executions defined the zeitgeist seems a bit wrong-end-of-the-telescope -ish.
posted by longsleeves at 1:27 PM on January 23, 2010


dunkadunc, half those executions weren't U.S.-based. Am I missing something?

Yes: The half of them that were.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:29 PM on January 23, 2010


(4/10 is half, right? Right?)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:32 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


No no no. Daniel Pearl was murdered. When a murder is state sanctioned, that's called an execution. See the difference? Good. Neither do I.
Maybe we can have a follow-up post about the defining incarcerations -- I mean, state-sanctioned kidnappings -- of the decade.
posted by planet at 1:56 PM on January 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Guantanamo 'suicides' didn't make the list. So that would up it to 7/13.
posted by Elmore at 1:57 PM on January 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The entire issue of capital punishment is something people like to think of in happy abstracts, where Bad Guys get cleanly Done Away With, and the grisly reality of taking people's lives away (no matter how much we might not like them) by lethal injection or whatever gets ignored.

In some states the Bad Guys get put away, but not actually Done Away With. For instance, California has 680 Death Row inmates and has executed 13 people since the death penalty was reinstated in California in 1976. That's about one execution per 2.6 years; at that rate, and without sentencing anyone else to death, it would take 262 years to execute everyone on death row.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:21 PM on January 23, 2010


This FPP seems to be designed to simultaneously promote and confound debate.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:54 PM on January 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why are people having a go at Rory? He was clearly responding to dunkadunc whose response seemed to frame the FPP purely in terms of how it was relevant to Americans, hence it was him making it parochial rather than Rory.

kirkaracha: I think you devided by 2.6 when you should have multiplied by 2.6, ie 1768 years to execute 680 people at one execution every 2.6 years.
posted by biffa at 2:57 PM on January 23, 2010


kirkaracha: you flipped your multiply/divide operation there. It's 1768 years.
posted by Ryvar at 3:00 PM on January 23, 2010


Damn, beaten!
posted by Ryvar at 3:00 PM on January 23, 2010


I think Kirkaracha was using the, rather sound, reasoning that the human race may possibly last another 262 years, but is very unlikely to last 1768. Seems reasonable enough to me, but I could be wrong. I am a bit of an optimist - a glasses half full of tears kind of guy.
posted by Elmore at 3:31 PM on January 23, 2010


Executed Today is a great blog for anyone interested in history. That's what it is, really: a daily history blog. It just uses executions as a connective theme. BCE, 1100's, 1600's, 2000's, whatever. I really should read their feed more often.
posted by Decimask at 3:54 PM on January 23, 2010


Undoubtedly the decade’s signature execution, the 2006 hanging by America’s Iraqi puppet government of America’s longtime foreign policy bete noir was purchased for trillions that would have been better spent just buying the guy off

Can't say I disagree with this.
posted by Ratio at 4:29 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Elmore: "The Guantanamo 'suicides' didn't make the list. So that would up it to 7/13."

Does it count as an "execution" if the death was an accidental by-product of torture?
posted by Joe Beese at 5:14 PM on January 23, 2010


>: Does it count as an "execution" if the death was an accidental by-product of torture?

I don't think those guys necessarily give a shit.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:04 PM on January 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think those guys necessarily give a shit.

Nor does the rest of America, apparently
posted by crayz at 7:32 PM on January 23, 2010


no Danny Rolling? That was one of those where death penalty protesters were outnumbered by former death penalty protesters taking a one-day vacation on the other side, coming up to Raiford just to make sure that evil bastard was really dead. My landlord found Christa Hoyt (she was a tenant then) and the discovery pretty much destroyed him. He died just a few months after the execution.

oh, wait. we were talking about executions about which we're unambiguously unhappy.

seriously, I'm vigorously against the death penalty, but there are some cases that give you a visceral wish to know that person doesn't exist any more. maybe that's why I'm against the death penalty - because visceral wishes are no way to run a penal system. but still...
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:38 PM on January 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


When a murder is state sanctioned, that's called an execution. See the difference? Good. Neither do I.

What bullshit. I'm against the death penalty, but the state simply does have legal and moral authority to do things that individuals don't.
posted by empath at 10:50 PM on January 23, 2010


empath: yes, I agree with you. But why is killing by one state "execution" and by another "murder"? I think that was the point of the original comment.
posted by arha at 12:35 AM on January 24, 2010


The post was kind of alright, but at least it introduced me to this site, which introduced me to this bit of news:
On this day in 2000, Russian national Dmitry (or Dmitri) Chikunov was secretly put to death in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for the murder of two men..

His mother, who had been shooed away from the prison on a previous visit with a demand that she come back later, only learned of the execution when she attempted to visit him two days later. She has never learned where he was buried.

However, Tamara Chikunova turned out to be the type to turn grief into action.

She became a prominent human rights and anti-death penalty activist in Uzbekistan (and globally); her Mothers Against the Death Penalty and Torture organization was troublesome enough that the government blocked one of its conferences in 2003.

Well, Gandhi said it — “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” On January 1, 2008, Uzbekistan abolished the death penalty.
This is a country that boiled people to death. If a grassroots campaign can get the death penalty abolished in Uzbekistan, it can happen in America.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:01 AM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Why on earth do people think that showing Americans executions is going to change their minds on capital punishment? Consider first that a great many states already do not engage in the death penalty, namely the upper Midwest and many northeastern states, but states like California and Illinois are often considered "blue" and still have death penalties. So, is it a lack of understanding of the nature of executions that make red and blue states alike still execute people? I say no.

The reason is that I think the people of the United States are extremely used to images of violence. We see it on the news, in movies, in our homes, on the Internet, in video games - everywhere. It's hard to get away from. Executions specifically have been in movies over and over again, from The Green Mile to Child's Play. Actual death, such as the Saddam video, have also been seen by huge numbers of people.

In short, the horror of death is not unknown or avoided in America, it is sought out by the general public.

In fact, by showing death penalty stories, clips and so forth of people that Americans despise and think were guilty of their crimes, these listed executions actually would tend to strengthen the argument of most death penalty supporters.

You know what does speak to Americans? A lack of justice and fair play. Brand us guilty of what you will, but we like the underdog, the little guy, the wrongly accused. Hollywood has figured that out too, and you'll see the theme in a whole lot of those movies featuring executions. Why? Without that tension of wronging the likable protagonist, the movie just isn't that interesting.

So, if you want to change the opinions of Americans, point them to The Innocence Project. Show them the faces of people wrongly accused and freed. Then let them think of the true horror - the very real probability that we, as citizens, have put innocent people to death.
posted by Muddler at 12:03 PM on January 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


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