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10 brutal facts about the most humane method of execution

Mankind has probably practiced executions even before recorded history. But only recently have we focused on developing more humane methods. In 15th century Europe, the suffering of the condemned was an important feature of justice. But over time, people were looking for something less brutal.

The lethal injection was introduced in the United States in the 1970s and was until recently the ready response for those sentenced to death. It has spread to several countries and is considered the best available method of execution. Maybe that's it, but recent research has raised the question: Is the injection really painless? And if not, what can replace it?

A more humane execution

The original proposal for lethal injections came during the Enlightenment when a humane method of execution was sought after. The first idea of ​​the idea can be found in the work of the French historian Robert Muchembled, who collected reports on the behavioral changes of execution visitors of the 15th to 18th centuries.

At first people mocked and celebrated the righteousness that they were perceived. The more brutal and painful, the better. At the end of the 18th century, the executions took on a much dark tone. The nuns followed the accused as they sprayed holy water, cried, and assured the condemned person of the forgiveness that awaited them.

In the 1790s, a new method was developed in France in the hope of bringing some people to execution: the guillotine. Unfortunately, it was soon discovered that a person's head was unconscious for a few seconds after death. Everyone quickly packed his guillotines and sought more compassionate executions. [1]

Then in 1888, the New York physician Julius Mount Bleyer suggested that a lethal injection would bring about a quick and painless end. He was ignored for two reasons. First of all, nobody in medicine wanted the recently released injection needle in connection with death. Secondly, electricity was very new to the public and everyone was fascinated.

The proponents of electricity, including Thomas Edison, made the masses believe they would usher in a new utopia of comfort. That could and did, but people had thought that the new friend electricity could not go wrong.

The electricity cult somehow convinced everyone that dying a lot more humanly than dying while sleeping. A couple of decades of victims cramping and catching fire would change that, but in hindsight it's always 20/20.

9 Nazis give everything a bad name

Another reason that the lethal injection was not adopted earlier was its connection with the Nazi regime. Although the gas chamber is the most enduring method of Nazi genocide, deadly injection was an early favorite.

It is needless to say that the scientists and doctors of National Socialism were not concerned about a humane death. They conducted experiments on disabled and ill people by injecting different drugs in different places.

The most effective method they found was to inject phenol, a highly toxic and corrosive chemical, directly into a human's heart. What exactly Nazi scientists meant by "effective" is left to our horrified ideas. Hopefully, they meant fast.

The program of systematic murder of the mentally and physically handicapped by means of gas chamber, injection or even hunger was called T-4. It started early in 1939 and became the model for the genocide that was to follow in the 1940s. [2]

It began with the encouragement of physicians to neglect patients who were classified as "unworthy of life" starving. It ended with thousands of patients being taken to killing centers. The international discovery of the horrors that had occurred in National Socialist Germany led to gas outrages being disgraced and the deadly injections likely to have been suppressed by several decades.

The British Royal Commission on Capital Punishment reported in 1954 that there was no electric shock. Still, the gas chamber was more human than hanging. The commission needed a moment at the end of its explanation to conclude that the lethal injection was definitely not finished, but should be considered progress by science.

8 Chapman's Protocol

Not until 1977 was an Oklahoma The medical examiner named Jay Chapman would suggest a specific formula for lethal injections to ensure a more humane death. Where Bleyer was a doctor experienced in administering medication by injection, Chapman was a forensic pathologist.

Chapman's time, however, was better. The public had still associated gas death with the Nazi regime, and electric shocks had proved inhuman. Those who were executed by an electric chair sometimes burned fire, and witnesses were often shocked at how difficult it was to observe.

When Chapman came forward with his proposal for a three-drug protocol, the judicial system and the public were more than willing to hear about it. The protocol was designed to numb convicted prisoners first, then paralyzed and eventually killed.

It is important to note that prisoners could simply have been killed with barbiturates, which would have guaranteed a painless death. We have often heard that the dose makes the poison, and so does this drug.

A small dose is often prescribed for insomnia or seizures. A medium dose may be used to keep a patient asleep during surgery. A large dose slows down brain function so thoroughly that autonomic functions such as breathing cease.

This is the method by which a suffering animal is put down. This is the only reason why it was rejected for human use. The painless sleep option was considered unworthy. [3]

7 The First Execution

The Chapman's Protocol was introduced and developed in Oklahoma, but Texas was the first to use it. Charles Brooks Jr. was the first to earn the dubious honor of testing Chapman's idea. He was convicted of murdering auto mechanic David Gregory after doing a test drive on the used car parking garage where Gregory worked.

Gregory was handcuffed later that night and shot in the head in a motel. Brooks and his criminal, Woodie Loudres, were both convicted of the murder because no one could say for sure who had fired the shot. Loudres managed, however, to reduce his punishment. Brooks not.

Of course, it was assumed that the lethal injection is more humane. Brooks said he could calm down when he thought he was undergoing surgery, something he had experienced in the past due to gunshot wounds. But nobody really knew what would happen to Brooks when he was injected. It had never been done before.

Dick Reavis, a journalist at Texas Monthly made an agreement with Brooks that led to his execution date. They would confirm the agreement every time they met. When Brooks was injected, he shook his head when he was in pain.

When the time came, Brooks slowly turned his head from side to side and then up and back again. Reavis was never sure if that was her signal. It is also not clear how much Brooks could have moved in the face of the paralyzed man who had been given him. [4]

6 The Magic Three

The three medicines developed by Chapman that were injected on a deadly day in Brooks were the same medicines that were used to treat the patients. Chapman would later call it extremely treated anesthesia.

For this reason, the anesthesiologist Stanley Deutsch had his proposal reviewed before he went public. During the research phase, an unnamed toxicologist was also consulted. As noted by the three doctors, if the medication was administered correctly, the prisoner should not feel pain and not know what happened after the first medication was taken.

This drug was sodium thiopental, a barbiturate that could have done the job alone in a high enough dose. His purpose in the protocol was to bring the prisoner to a deep sleep within 20 seconds or less.

Pancuronium bromide, the second drug in the protocol, was a muscle relaxant administered at a high dose. Their purpose was to prevent the prisoner from beating around when the third drug was administered. It could also lead to death as it is known that a high dose prevents a person from breathing. [19459011[5]

The last drug was potassium chloride, which causes an immediate cardiac arrest. If done properly, it takes only five minutes to administer the entire protocol and the prisoner should be dead only two minutes after the last injection.

5 International Reception

At their place of residence in the United States, the lethal injection enjoyed widespread acceptance. As of March 13, 2019, all 30 states that allow the death penalty do so by injection. As of 2009, the 936 of 1,1107 US inmates executed since 1977 were killed this way.

Since the year 2000, only five inmates have been executed in a different way, what had happened to an electric chair. Utah still has a firing squad in the books, which since 1977 has been selected by only two prisoners. Similarly, Washington hanged three people and gassed Arizona 11. These methods of execution were dismantled in the same way in which 20 states have given up the death penalty altogether.

Executions are as unique internationally as the countries in which they occur. Hanging is by far the world's most common method of execution, probably because it is fast if done well and can be done relatively cheaply.

The next most common is the firing squad and then the very inhumane stoning. However, many countries have given a lethal injection. China, which executes about 10,000 people a year, has mobilized the practice. Prisoners can be put to death in a prison or in a van. These are specially adapted ambulances that can drive to remote areas for quick and easy execution. [6]

Many other countries accepted the injection in the 1990s. Taiwan, the first to legalize the lethal injection to the United States, has never used it. Guatemala took over the practice, but stopped in 2000, when an execution on television was mistreated. The spectators were horrified when the convict jerked.

4 A more humane torture

Even as the three-drug injection spread to all nations in the world, there was no conclusive evidence that the procedure was painless or humane. Brooks shook his head at the injection and perhaps tried to signal to Reavis that he was in pain. Maybe he just mentally cramped before the paralysis started.

We'll never know if a well-done injection causes pain because nobody survives to tell us. Chapman mocked the idea of ​​testing the protocol to see if it was painless. He said that the only way to achieve this would be to start with an inhuman dosage and work his way up to question the surviving inmates on the way. It would be barbaric.

Researchers in Florida and Virginia have, however, found a less brutal way to test the injections. They simply test the amounts of drugs found in the bodies after death. Their work suggests that up to 90 percent of inmates who have received the lethal injection do not have enough anesthetic in their system.

It is believed that forty percent were conscious and left an extreme burning sensation and muscle spasms, asphyxiation and eventually cardiac arrest. All this would happen if a person is at least partially paralyzed and can not tell anyone that they are awake. [7]

Some doctors believe that this is caused by too low a sodium dose of thiopental, usually only 2-3 grams. Inmates vary in size and most have elevated adrenaline levels when they die. This means that a larger dose is needed to combat this.

3 The Cost Of Failure

Even if the lethal injections were completely painless if correctly administered, they are seldom done right. Doctors and nurses are often prohibited from participating in an execution because of their code of ethics. Some do, but their work is frowned upon, to say the least.

However, some doctors do not even comment on the practice. This means that technicians who have no formal education in the complexity of anaesthesiology perform the three settings. Any error can lead to a failed execution. The detainee will suffer unnecessarily if the technician can not properly insert the needle, mix the shots, or inject too little chemical.

These mistakes are quite common.

A solution for infusion in Oklahoma The femoral artery of Clayton Lockett instead empties directly under the skin. He eventually died after 43 minutes of extreme pain.

In Georgia, technicians had particular difficulty inserting the IV. A technician gave up after one hour of searching for a suitable vein, which in and of itself sounds like torture. In another case, a 72-year-old had used an IV near the groin after his arms could not offer a vein.

In Ohio, Dennis McGuire was executed with a controversial drug combination that made him gasp for 26 minutes. [8] For reference, the United Nations denounces any method of execution that causes its victim to suffer for more than 10 minutes.

2 The Cost Of Success

Although we have discussed the implications of executing the convicts and witnesses, there is often pain for those executing the execution.

A firing squad traditionally requires that at least one weapon contain a blank so that every hangman has the feeling that he has not killed the prisoner. Hangings and Guillotines remove the executioners to a lesser degree from the executed. They pull a lever or cut a rope, and gravity does the rest for them. Even stoning is a method of execution that spreads guilt to anyone who throws a stone.

Frank Thompson described the process of the first lethal injection in Oregon during an interview with the Phoebe Judge of [Verb.] by Criminal . Thompson was given the responsibility to investigate how other states, such as Texas and Arkansas, had executed their executions and assembled a team to conduct the case.

He drew military veterans from the prison staff, thinking that it would be more capable of killing and less affected. They practiced the procedure extensively and did everything they could to perfect it without administering the actual chemicals. All members of the team, including Thompson, alternated with the Gurney.

Thompson's team was still not ready for the emotional tribute of the execution, which went perfectly well. Thompson recalled telling the media the date of death and then returning to his office.

During all the preparations of his team they had no protocol for the hours after the injection. He did not know what to do with himself. Instead of relief, he felt only emptiness.

He was not the only one who felt that way. Some of his staff left the team saying that they could never participate in another execution. Thompson has since committed to the abolition of the death penalty. He puts forward a unique argument that the death penalty only leads to more victims, putting those responsible for maintaining peace and securing life in a difficult situation to take their own lives.

If we want to keep the death penalty, he asks why We do not randomly choose and train hangmen in the same way as the jury. At least the jurors are involved in the decision on the death penalty. Executioners only do this. [9]

1 What will we do next time?

In the midst of complaints about the lethal injection from all sides, states that continue to impose the death penalty try to do so the next humane execution method. Oklahoma, the state where the Chapman Protocol was developed, has decided to resort to gas again.

They are inspired by the Final Exit Network, which instructs people with painful terminal illnesses to voluntarily commit suicide using inert gas. Initially, the favorite gas was helium, but its makers began mixing oxygen into their tanks to stop the suicides. The favorite is now nitrogen. This is the gas that is testing Oklahoma for future executions.

Some protest that there is no scientific test or evidence of how painless nitrogen gas is, but Janis Landis, president of the Final Exit Network, says the science behind it is gas inhalation. Any inert gas can be inhaled without experiencing the painful choking and wheezing caused by other gases. [10]

There is no oxygen craze, meaning the panic that occurs when a person experiences an accumulation of carbon dioxide can not exhale. Without it, the lack of oxygen becomes a little euphoric before a person dies, usually after only four minutes.

Since the experience is euphoric, there are no thrusts or paralyzes. Unlike a lethal injection, anyone who views this style of execution can immediately see if the subject is in pain.

Renee is a graphic designer and writer from Atlanta.

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