Re: Re [MEDIA] The death penalty

Michael Lorrey (
Fri, 04 Dec 1998 13:25:46 -0500

Paul Hughes wrote:

> Brian D Williams wrote:
> > I oppose the electric chair, the gas chamber, and hanging, on the
> > grounds there is no need to be brutal.

Hanging, if done properly, is not cruel or brutal. If you do not drop very far, then your neck vertebrae are not separated and you merely slowly asphixiate, which is cruel. A skinny man needs to fall farther than a fat man, for example, to get sufficient kinetic energy to be properly hung. A few years ago a prisoner on death row ate himself into complete obesity in an attempt to avoid execution. His appeals claimed that being fat would make the rope decapitate him, which he thought was cruel and unusual punishment. The courts differed, when physicians testified that he would die faster that way, so he would be executed less cruelly than if he were skinny.

I do think that:
a) executions should be publicized
b) family members of victims should be given priority in pushing the button
c) the means of execution might be chosen to fit the crime. shooters should be shot, knifers should be guillotined, rape/murderers should be given that old punishment which the Romans used on female slaves: they are sat onto a large metal spike until it comes out their mouths. A fit punishment for a crime should make the perpetrator feel exactly how the victim felt. This would not be 'cruel and unusual', since it does not exceed the treatment that the victim received. If a killer knew that his punishment was going to meet that which he or she imposed on his or her victims, I think it would be a much better deterrent.

I prefer justice which is aesthetically fitting.

Mike Lorrey