Another messed up execution from the Rube-Goldberg machine:
A convicted murderer in Arizona gasped and snorted for more than 90 minutes after a lethal injection Wednesday, his attorneys and witnesses said, dying in a botched execution that prompted the governor to order an investigation and the state Supreme Court to mandate that the materials used in the procedure be preserved.
Joseph Rudolph Wood III’s execution almost certainly will reinvigorate the national debate over the death penalty. He received an injection at 1:52 p.m. at the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence. The execution became so prolonged that reporters witnessing the execution counted several hundred of his wheezes before he was finally declared dead at 3:49 p.m. — nearly two hours after the procedure began.
The incident comes in a year in which lethal injections had already triggered controversy over botched procedures and secrecy.
Now Mr. Wood was a monster, and now he is dead. I’m not going to lose a lot of sleep over that. Still the way he died was bad justice. I’m very much in favor of capital punishment, but I’m not a fire-and-brimstone sort of guy. He killed multiple people, this is NOT revenge, revenge can’t be done in this case. He was simply too dangerous to live in society, or in prison so we fixed that, but we didn’t do a very good job of doing it.
There are way too many ways to kill a human being in a dignified, painless, and timely way. I don’t see why we need to use such a stupidly complicated machine to do this.
I don’t like complicated, especially with life-and-death. I don’t like complicated guns, I don’t like complicated cars, I don’t like complicated locks on my doors. Complicated means multiple failure points, and that’s what happened here. I don’t know how much is known about WHAT was messed up, but obviously something screwed up and the man did not die as predicted.
If we had simply started a progressive morphine drip the executioner could simply turn the machine up to full, maybe even fire up a back-up pump in the other arm (generally in lethal injections two IV needles are inserted, one in each arm in case of vein collapse or a blocked cannula). Just turn the dude’s blood into pure morphine while he’s sedated by the primary effects of the drug and his light will go out forever and not a bit of discomfort will happen after that last needle is inserted (those big gauge IVs do suck going in!) and that first wave of drug hits the brain.
Still there are LOTS of other fine-and-dandy ways to punch somebody’s ticket. I’m a fan of calculated long-drop hanging. The condemned is weighed, and a calculation is made to how far they need to drop to sever the spine, and hopefully keep the head attached to the body. If you fudge the numbers a little liberally the person may become decapitated, and while gross, the person we’re really caring about (and yes, we should care for them) is the condemned.
Also a suicide technique I’ve been reading about is pretty cool. So-called “Exit bags” where the person taking their own life puts a bag with a one-way-valve over their head, draws the bag tight around the neck and floods the bag with inert gas. See our bodies don’t actually KNOW when we are running out of oxygen. Instead we can only sense when we’re taking in lethal amounts of CO2. Flood the bag (or gas chamber) with Nitrogen or Helium which won’t react with body tissues in a way that might cause discomfort, and you’re still able to clear all the CO2 your body is producing. Lights out, and if done right, it’s FAST!
Heck despite it being overly showy, firing squads work pretty good too! Close-range rifle shots to the heart from a stationary target from multiple shooters will work really well. Still that’s a little showy for my tastes.
So yeah, let’s quit this bullshit with the Rube-Goldberg execution machine and do this dirty deed right!