botched executions:
May 13, 2001 10:16 AM   Subscribe

botched executions:
warning: gruesome descriptions of bungled executions ahead.

also: the execution tapes - audio recordings in real player format.

whether for or against the death penalty, take a look.
posted by bwg (20 comments total)
Wait a minute...most of these people that were executed committed grisly murders, and some of them (Gacy) actually tortured their victims. So I'm supposed to feel sorry for them if their executions were botched and they suffered for a while? That's going to be a hard sell.

I'm a Canadian and we don't have capital punishment (right now). I'm glad we don't because I always fear the time when someone gets executed and is found to be innocent. However, when someone like Gacy gets executed, I tend not to protest too much. In fact, if Canada had made a special case about executing Paul Bernardo or Clifford Olson, I don't think too many people would have cared.
posted by Grum at 11:09 AM on May 13, 2001

I am not a supporter of capital punishment. I think it's funny that we tell people that murder is wrong, yet when they commit a murder we in turn murder them.
posted by summer1971 at 11:22 AM on May 13, 2001

why bother with the outcome of a death sentence? how is that relevant to the decision making process or policy? seems like flawed logic to me.
posted by greyscale at 11:47 AM on May 13, 2001

Though I don't wish to get involved in a debate about the death penalty (so I will probably post this and flee back to my gardening for now) but...the outcome of a death sentence is ENTIRELY relevant to legal logic. The American judicial system is meant to uphold the constitutional tenants one of which is no "cruel or unusual punishment". Our supreme court has ruled the death sentence to be legal, BUT that does not include torturing (either willfully or not) the offender. This has been the grounds for legal debate before and will probably remain so.
posted by Wulfgar! at 12:30 PM on May 13, 2001

Great link, bwg. I love soundportraits stuff.

Along the same lines, if you liked the first link, check out Witness to an Execution, another soundportraits/NPR radio documentary. It follows the warden and prison guards around before the execution of man in Texas.
posted by gramcracker at 1:29 PM on May 13, 2001

Oh boy, here we go again. Ok, I've remain silent about this debate here bc it's a sterile argumentation (mostly) and I'm just happy the debate is over were I live, but this is too much, Allen Lee Davis execution:
The execution was witnessed by a Florida State Senator, Ginny Brown-Waite, who at first was "shocked" to see the blood, until she realized that the blood was forming the shape of a cross and that it was a message from God saying he supported the execution.
Yeah right... Say whatever you want, the electric chair is barbaric. For those who want to see the nice pictures.
posted by kush at 2:08 PM on May 13, 2001

Whereas their victims didn't actually die brutal, violent, and painful deaths at all, but in fact went to beautiful farms, where they spend all day, every day, gamboling through fragrant meadows, with your childhood pets at their sides.

Why not just kill them the way that they murdered their victims? Go the whole 'eye for an eye' route? For some of these guys, it means a death that stretches on for days and days of torture. Imagine the tv ratings!
posted by kristin at 2:23 PM on May 13, 2001

I think it's funny that we tell people that murder is wrong, yet when they commit a murder we in turn murder them.

Haha funny, or enhhhh funny?
posted by thirteen at 3:11 PM on May 13, 2001

Does anyone remember the happier days here at MeFi, before the blood-thirsty ignorants found it?
posted by jpoulos at 3:23 PM on May 13, 2001

I'm not sure someone with a 2000-series user ID should be asking that question.
posted by aaron at 3:58 PM on May 13, 2001

i'm not saying I'm for or against the death penalty, and I'm not here to argue one of the amendments. I'm just saying that studying the executions per-se isn't really a way to investigate the effectiveness or value of it. they all die in the end anyway. Now that i think of it we all die anyway. would soundbytes of peoples' last moment struggle with cancer help us better understand cancer therapy? probably not. it might give us some encouragment to use more opiates and more aggressive pain management but that's about it as far as my limited perspective. how many of us know someone ailing from some smoking-related illness? probably most all of us here at MF, and yet smoking continues to be extremely popluar. even with (0f all ppl) medical care professionals and college students. the reasons they make these bad decisions along with the decisions they make typically doesn't change by seeing how obviously uncomforatble and shorter it makes life.
posted by greyscale at 4:02 PM on May 13, 2001

kristin said: Why not just kill them the way that they murdered their victims?

I don't think I'd want to be the guy with the job of (for example) cutting a murderer up with a chainsaw. :)

Seriously, though, here's a question: why don't we just not kill them?
posted by RylandDotNet at 4:08 PM on May 13, 2001

Considering we've recently topped 8,000 users, I don't have a problem asking that question. Besides, we've got people here calling for state-sanctioned torture, fer chrissakes. I think there's a strong argument to be made that the community is starting to suffer. Shall we take it to MetaTalk?
posted by jpoulos at 4:25 PM on May 13, 2001

A lot of people think that there are good and bad ways to die. People hope at the very least that their death will not be undignified and painful. The correlation of the death of a cancer patient with the death of a person who dies as the result of a court order in a state or country that permits the death penalty is based on a rather faulty premise. That is that the one thing is a reality, and that makes the other thing acceptable. But perhaps it's not a good thing to accept that a person has to die in pain if one can avoid it (which is why many people support a person's right to choose euthanasia if they are suffering a debilitating and/or terminal disease)

would soundbytes of peoples' last moment struggle with cancer help us better understand cancer therapy? probably not.

This sort of information helps us to understand palliative care. So, yes, this does help treatment. Not that I think this has anything to do with the death penalty or with the premise that "studying the executions" (may be) "a way to investigate the effectiveness or value of it" (them) Ditto with the smoking analogy.

Greyscale I found a lot of value in your metatalk post. However that's at metatalk and may I suggest, might be better off here where we can discuss it.

There are times when I would like a little more personal commentary (opinion, reflection, and information) from the person who initially posted the thread, particularly when, as in this case, the post contains a request of sorts. Perhaps that’s one way to avoid this endless flow of "Well I haven't changed my mind" posts.

The operative word there being "perhaps" But if you don't mind bwg, a bit of info on your views, why you have asked us to view the site, what effect the site had on you....would be of great interest.
posted by lucien at 5:25 PM on May 13, 2001

First: my apologies for the insulting nature of my comment above.

Second: bwg's original post said nothing about whether this is relevant to the pro/con debate. Even if we accept the death penalty as 100% justified, shouldn't we all be aware of how it is being carried out, and how often things go wrong?

too often, i feel, the people who are arguing that it doesn't matter if the executed suffer are the same ones who are bitching that the US was kicked off the UN human rights committee.

If you want to walk around bragging to the world about how wonderful the US is, and how we're different from the Opressors of the world, then let's raise the bar a little on how we treat people! Walk the friggin' walk!
posted by jpoulos at 5:27 PM on May 13, 2001

Did you ever see the movie "No Escape" with Ray Liota (sp?)? It is a great guy movie if you haven't but the premise is this... Put all the bad criminals on a deserted island with no chance of escape and let them fend for themselves. Almost no cost to the tax-payer and most of them get it the way they gave it to someone else. Let's do it. How about somewhere in the South Pacific.
posted by me myself and i at 6:19 PM on May 13, 2001


Why aren't they put to sleep first? Especially the ones executed by lethal injection. If I knew there was the possibility of torture prior to death, I would want to be asleep.
posted by o2b at 8:26 PM on May 13, 2001

First off, I must say I'm all for exterminating criminals. There really is no point in keeping certain people alive.

Secondly, I don't really care if these men suffered when they died. What's done is done. They needed to be killed and if their trip to Hell was a bumpy one, then that's just too bad. For the future though, I do think we should have a more sure way of exterminating these criminals without any pain.

Therefore, I propose using a pile driver. Just put their head under the pile driver, flip the switch and a two ton metal pole crushes their entire head in less than a second.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 10:16 AM on May 14, 2001

I do believe that lethal injection does actually make the person unconscious before the chemicals start to take effect.
posted by zempf at 1:41 PM on May 14, 2001

The clear answer here - eliminate the electric chair, and if someone was a IV drug user, then we need to find another method of introducing the lethal injection. A central line seems to work in medical situations where the peripheral vasculature is collapsed, maybe that should be the standard in all executions.
posted by Dreama at 2:23 PM on May 14, 2001

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