April 06, 2005
When bad things get worse.
12 years ago
"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."
LOL! What's in the water down in Florida?
I would think that's a message from God saying this person was innocent and that he's going to heaven.
(if I believed in divine prophecy from pools of blood)
Agh. I blame Edison.
For the electric chair ones, that is.
Florida. Such a wacky state!
Easily confused with "Botched Elections"
I blame that scene in The Green Mile for the 'wrong type of sponge' botch. Ban this filth now!
Holy fuck. After two world wars, innumerable small conflicts, all kinds of private and government-funded research, and there isn't a foolproof, humane, quick way to kill someone? And meanwhile, Kevorkian's gizmo is gathering dust...
just lost breakfast appetite
Firing squads. C'mon - this is
, people. You wouldn't even have to pay them.
What a horrible yet fascinating read. The whole lethal injection thing sounds so humane until you read these stories. It was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser to read that the dates were starting with "19--" rather than "15--"...
Oh, I read that page a while ago. Completely disturbing, can't look at it again. Fucking hell.
Easily confused with "Botched Elections"
Though not as embarassing as "Botched Erections."
Opened the page. Closed the page. I can't bring myself to read this stuff. Feel sick. Fuck.
The fact that some of the doomed men and women actually tried to help their killers find veins suitable to inject the poison into them seemed at once darkly laughable and absolutely ghastly.
Someone please create a web page that graphically documents the experience of people who are murdered or kidnapped (or both), perhaps a page dedicated to the experiences of children of those that are murdered... we just need some balance here. This page was linked in the blue last week, i read it then, and felt that it was basically more pro-life babble, one sided... I'll pass on reading this again.....
Hard stuff to digest, but sometimes brute reality is difficult to swallow. For anyone who is curious (NSFW, or for that matter NS for the easily disturbed), you can view some pics of the
Allen Lee Davis
case in Florida
Sorry if it was posted over there last week. I didn't see it. I thought it was interesting on several layers, not least that the death sentence is sometimes equally as barbaric as the crimes it claims to avenge.
Where is the logic in the assumption that talking about botched executions implies the denial of the suffering of murder/kidnapping victims? It's intellectual and ethical dishonesty to deny the suffering of
Yeah, I sort of agree. Although I like the Death Penalty Information Center, I wish they wouldn't post this sort of info. Not that I'm a bury-my-head-in-the-sand type of person, but because I don't believe such graphic details helps the abolitionist movement much. Instead, it prompts (correctly, in my opinion) comments about the victims, like HuronBob's comments. I much prefer facts rather than emotions.
That being said, these cases are indeed horrible.
Thank you oklo. An eloquent argument. I like ants too.
But these are facts. Horrific ones, yes, but facts all the same. I am very glad we don't have this in the UK. That's not me being smug, just an expression of my opinion about the law. The US must do as it sees fit.
I found the page to be very matter-of-fact (almost cold) in its delivery of information. If you felt an emotional response of any kind it just means you're human.
good to know i'm not the only ant fan, kitfisto! :)
I have tremendous respect for any organization or individual who, in the course of presenting an argument for what they believe, does not ignore the other side of the coin. I will listen carefully and consider what they have to say. When they choose to only present one side, without clearly stating that they have an agenda, I tend to not trust what they have to say. And, they take it a step further... I question any organization that uses the term "Information Center" when they infact do not just provide "information" but slant it based on a moral belief. This site is, in my opinion, dishonest in how they present "information". No apologies, I still want a site based on the horror of being murdered...and, guess what, oklo, there are thousands of people murdered for every one person put to death... you need to find another cause...
"there are thousands of people murdered for every one person put to death."
So what shall we do? Even the numbers? Is this the kind of society you want? As for your cry for fair and balanced information I'm sure you're aware of the large number of pro-death penalty websites out there, yes? What are the chances that any of them would present the details of
on those sites? I wouldn't expect to find any nor would I claim that they are wrong for omitting that information; they do, after all, have an agenda to support and a right to support it. No one is expecting you, Huron, to apologize for your opinion. What I expect you to understand, however, is that the victims of crimes are not being mistreated or devalued when the detailed accounts of their victimizer's horrendous and inhumane deaths are brought to light.
The Death Penalty is, in my opinion, a waste of time. It does not in fact deter crime. It costs more to execute a man than it does to keep him in prison for life. The only thing it does is provide a small measure of relief for the relatives of victim's. In my opinion keeping someone in prison for life is a much harsher penalty. The thought of having to spend 60 years in a cell, fighting off being raped or killed and knowing that you will never ever leave is horrifying and a much more fitting punishment. Just my 2 cents.
there are thousands of people murdered for every one person put to death... you need to find another cause...
That doesn't make it right and doesn't mean it's a cause not worth working for. There are a quite a few victim's sites out there--many with heart-wrenching details. You may want to try
or else the
Clark County Prosector's
site. Both have links to victim's sites.
Or, if you'll excuse the self-link, try
, which is more about the DP itself, than the victims.
I still want a site based on the horror of being murdered
Is this your first day on the internet?
'cause I know this site written by zombies ...
oklo... I do apologize for the directed attack on you, that was wrong, sorry. I'm afraid that my response was due to a couple of factors. 1. I work with young people from cultures in which it is not unusual for them to be murdered, I've seen too many of my students die, and I've been doing this long enough to see the people that killed them released from prison.. it is frustrating. 2. I've also been subjected to daily, very graphic, displays of aborted fetuses by some "pro-life" types who are choosing to picket a clinic next door to my agency. I'm tired of being assaulted by pro-lifer's wearing blinders (this isn't directed at you). Again, I would have no problem with this site if they were at least honest about the fact that they are not, actually, a clearing house for balanced information as they present themselves as, but a private organization with a specific agenda. Everyone has a right to an opinion, but we have a responsibility to tell people it is an opinion. On preview...Namethatitch...if that site is yours and the quote "A word of caution: I am solidly in the anti-death penalty camp. However, with this site my goal is to show both sides of the issue, rather than bombard the audience with one-sided rhetoric." is yours, congratulations, this is exactly what I meant... You are honest in your presentation, i know what I'm reading, I can respect the viewpoint and consider it. Bob
I like zombies... !
That's because you're pro-unlife, you bastard!
but...zombies are not considered the "unlife" they are considered the "undead"... gets tricky doesn't it....? It's that darn half-full, half-empty thing again....
Apology accepted, Bob. I worked in law enforcement for eleven years and have seen my share of violent crime and it's among the reasons why I'm against the cruel treatment of any human being.
OK ... you're pro-undeath penalty. You're also kinda cute!
oh no wait i was looking at a zombie. sorry.
actually, i'm a bit relieved, the only one that has called me cute in about 20 years has to cuz she's married to me.....
I am adamantly opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances. However, we have the death penalty. I was not moved by these accounts, as a minute or two of suffering seems to be somewhat exceeded by the fact that they are dying. I am sure that any of them would trade a few minutes of suffering to death. As for the Florida State Senator believing that the cross-shaped blood pattern was God's okay of the act, I am rather amused. If the cross-shaped blood pattern appeared on a US soldier, the same people would believe that God is honoring the fallen soldier. If it was on an Iraqi's shirt, then it would be attributed to God's satisfaction with the kill. With religion so crazily subjective, I am all for keeping it out of government.
Really, I think a site like this has real value just as it is. When we're forming opinions pro/con the death penalty, we should know exactly what it is we're talking about. And if you're advocating a stance on an issue, I don't think it's your responsibility to present both sides. It's the other guy's job, the one who disagrees with you, to do that. If this were a news site or other site committed to analysis of both sides of the issue, I'd agree with HuronBob. But it strikes me that this group has a pretty strong opinion of the death penalty, and are trying to convince others to agree with them.
Bob, while I respect the elaboration, I think the murders aren't the other side of this particular coin. Nobody's saying that because the method of execution is flawed, it's good that people were hurt and killed. It's between painful execution and painless execution, or execution and life in prison. The fact that people have been hurt is not being denied, in part because it's not germane to the discussion. Unless, of course, you have a revenge-based model of the world (make them hurt as much as possible, that'll bring back the lives they've stolen! somehow!). I don't have a clear-cut stance on this. But I don't think you're attacking people for the right reasons here. Nobody's saying that the victims deserved to die or weren't important, or anything remotely like that. There are death-penalty advocates and anti-death-penalty advocates, and none of that has anything to do with the families who have suffered. They've suffered enough, and nothing done to the killers is ever going to help that. Whether the killers are executed or not is not going to bring back their loved ones, so it's not part of the question. The question is how to deal with people who have done evil things. Considering that, to either side, doesn't diminish those hurt in the past. Another way to look at it, maybe.
What was wrong with the guilliotine that one has to use unreliable methods like these? Technically, I mean.
Thanks to all for the reasoned responses to my somewhat emotional outburst.. I do agree that the question can be looked at as "death penalty, yea or nay", regardless of the pain suffered by others as a result of the action. I'll state this one more time, and then let it rest. I don't have a problem with advocating a position, my problem is the honesty with which it is done. I don't expect a pro-life group to present both sides of the fence, as stated by middleclasstool, it isn't their job. My objection to this site, or any site, regardless of my relative position, is the lack of honesty regarding the position of the creators of the site. I viewed much of the site, and found no statement that acknowledged a "position". And, the statement on the donations page is "DPIC is a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. The Center was founded in 1990 and prepares in-depth reports, issues press releases, conducts briefings for journalists, and serves as a resource to those working on this issue. The Center is widely quoted and consulted by all those concerned with the death penalty. DPIC is entirely dependent upon contributions and grants for its funding." They make a huge effort to convince readers that they are the Jack Webb ("Just the facts..") of the issue, where, in fact they obviously have an agenda. From their 990 form (available on guidestar) they state that the mission is to "Provide information to the public to further education about and increase public debate on the merits of capital punishment". I don't see anything there that states that they have a position either. Still seems dishonest to me. Be aware, also, that they are not a non-profit 501(c)3, but a private foundation, meaning that the mission is to distribute funds to accomplish the mission. For what it is worth, most of the donations this past year came from a group called "European Community - Delegation of the European Commission", over 1/2 million this past year. It just looks strange to me.... i don't trust them. I'm done, chopped up the soap box, burned it... ya'll have a great day, and don't hurt anyone!
Not at all. I think I see your point more clearly now, and I think you're right. I could see a definite slant here from reading the site, but it takes some critical reading skills to see it. You're saying, if I'm not mistaken, that they should be up-front about their position on the issue, clearly state that they are an anti-death penalty organization, or else adopt a more objective approach, yes? If so, I agree.
yep, middleclasstool, you hit the nail on the head!
, I haven't taken a real study of the history of the guillotine, but I think that the public distaste, and eventual falling out of favor, for that method of execution has more to do with 1) decapitation is seen by many as a desecration of the body, 2) it's a very bloody method of execution, and 3) it is irrevocably tied in the cultural mindset with the excesses of post-Revolutionary France's Reign of Terror. Excluding any possible screw-ups, I actually do kind of agree with Monsieur Guillotin's assessment that it's one of the most humane methods, at least considering its swiftness and surety, if not its mess.
If the title "Botched Executions" wasn't a clue as to the agenda of the site maybe the title of the first article on the
Amnesty International Releases Annual International Death Penalty Report
" should have done it?
And that Florida senator is nuts! She sees the blood on a dead convicts tee-shirt and decides it's a message from the Almighty that He's okay with the man's execution? What people tell themselves to be comfortable with evil is just unfriggingbelievable.
Firing squads. Get the job done. Oddly, I didn't give a flying fuck about the 'plight' of John Wayne Gacy. Karma.
Idaho and Utah
are the only states that still authorize the use of firing squads
and oddly enough, Oklahoma, if lethal injection and electrocution are ever held to be
- covering their butts I guess!
It does not in fact deter crime.
It keeps a psychopathic monster from going out and killing again, as has happened before. So would a lobotemy, and that would be fine, too. I hate the death penalty, but I couldn't help but think of the murder and suffering of the multiple victims while I was reading that, either. There are no easy answers.
Guillotines are not a reliable method of executions. I've personally watched Alice Cooper escape from them several times, usually dressed in a Tuxedo singing "What did I do to deserve such a fate",,ie,,http://www.lyricsdownload.com/alice-cooper-killer-lyrics.html
It keeps a psychopathic monster from going out and killing again, as has happened before.
Exactly. Often, when I hear a family member on TV saying that God has helped them forgive someone who's murdered their kid, and that "executing ___ won't bring back my daughter", I think, "Really? And what do you and your God say to the next family after _____ is released and goes out and kills their kid?" Tough break? God'll fix it?
What people tell themselves to be comfortable with evil is just unfriggingbelievable.
would have prevented it. Like a chicken-killing dog.
wow... I think I'm gonna go get a beer and a lawn chair and watch for a while.....
Me too, HB. Pass me one of those beers.
MJ, we're never gonna agree on this...ever. But your passion is fascinatin' to watch. heh
I'm anti-death penalty for the same reason I'm pro-choice (a whole 'nother can of worms, I know): I don't want the goverment to have that kind of life-or-death power over me and mine... or anyone else. That said, if anyone ever really harmed someone I love, I want the option to take them out myself. I'm a pacifist... but if someone ever killed my parents or my sister (or, eventually, my life partner or kid, maybe) I might need to hurt that person back. I'm not a fan of state-sponsored revenge, but I can see the primal urge. At the same time, I don't want personal revenge to be legal. I'll admit that my thoughts on this are pretty complex.
Slight tangent to the argument, but what about the families of the guilty party? The families of victims are obviously in an unspeakably ghastly position after the loss of their loved one, but don't we just add to the sum total of grief by leaving the nearest and dearest of the executed in the same position? I appreciate where you're coming from, mj, but the thing that makes me vehemently anti the death penalty is that there have been far too many cases of people being found innocent after execution -- the possiblility of a mistake being made is enough to put me in the 'life without parole' camp, where at least there is at least the possibility of correcting a wrongful conviction.
"...we're never gonna agree on this...ever. But your passion is fascinatin' to watch."
I'm anti death-penalty for a number or reasons. The first is the sheer hypocricy of it. I just don't see how the State can say that killing is wrong, and then turn around and commit that very act. The second reason I oppose it, is that study after study has shown that the death penalty has no deterrent factor. Those states with death penalties typically suffer from higher murder rates and violent crimes than those without. But the overwhelming reason I'm against the death penalty is because it makes it inpossible to rectify a mistake. If you incarecerate an innocent person and discover the error, you can at least release them, and perhaps compensate them in some way. However, once you've executed an innocent person all you can do is say, "Oops! Sorry! My bad." This somewehow just doesn't seem good enough to me.
"...don't we just add to the sum total of grief by leaving the nearest and dearest of the executed in the same position?"
Yes we do. However, I'd bet there are far more violent murderers with multiple victims than there are parents with multiple viciously homocidal offspring if we are to pit grief against grief. I wish the death penalty was applied more carefully, with a much higher standard of factual evidence required in capital cases. I don't want anybody who's innocent to be executed. I wish for a lot of things in this life to be better. However. That changes my opinion not one whit as to if I think someone found guilty of a capital crime by those standards should be executed. In my opinion, you forfeit when you kill another human being for sport or sexual gratification. As to executions gone bad? Find a better way to do it, and while you're at it, improve the legal system so the black guy with the shitty lawyer who didn't do it doesn't die for it.
improve the legal system so the black guy with the shitty lawyer who didn't do it doesn't die for it
You seem to believe that a tweaking of the legal system and an improvement in social justice will ensure no miscarraiges of justice can take place, MJ. What about the numerous cases when the cops and prosecutors falsify evidence to gain a conviction, MJ? This kind of self-interested misbehaviour is intrinsically human in nature, and you're never going to change that, no matter how much effort you put into it. It's hardly limited to the
either. Nope, through 'em into a dark hole and never let them out. This strikes me as a far more apt punishment.
Moneyjane - I have to disagree on the grounds that I don't think there will ever be the luxury of only executing those who, no doubts about it, are guilty of the crime. There are always going to be borderline cases, and some of those are going to be wrong.
and PB beat me to it
Crap. I have never been able to make a link work here for some reason. Not sure what step it is that I'm misssing. Anywaze... here is the URL that didn't work. http://www.injusticebusters.com/04/Wrongful_Convictions04.shtml
What about the numerous cases when the cops and prosecutors falsify evidence to gain a conviction, MJ?
What about the cases when serial torture murderers videotape themselves raping, torturing and killing people?
There are always going to be borderline cases, and some of those are going to be wrong.
And those are the ones you lock up until they prove their innocence through appeals or, if unable to, die old men in prison.
... improve the legal system so the black guy with the shitty lawyer who didn't do it doesn't die for it.
And alternately fix it so that the Black guy with the great lawyer who did do it doesn't get off scott-free, speaking of gloves.
Yeah. No shit. I'll remember hearing that verdict for the rest of my damn life. What I hear in discussions about the death penalty is, "What if he didn't do it?" stated as if it neatly puts the topic to bed. But what if he did do it? Then what? Are you still anti capital punishment?
When all is said and done and I am very old, I have doubts that I will look back on my life and wish that I had lobbied more to have people killed.
I guess I'm curious as to if "What if he didn't do it?" isn't code for "I don't want to have to think about what to do with people I'd rather didn't exist; namely those who lack any kind of empathy and hurt and kill because it brings them pleasure." People would rather they didn't exist. Me too. How honest is it, exactly, to wish they didn't exist before they kill, yet be appalled at those who wish they didn't exist after they've killed? There's something going on there, and it's kinda lame.
The point is that when cops and prosecutors fabricate evidence, you don't necessarily recognize it when confronted with a "borderline" case. That some pyschopaths and serial killers are demonstrably guilty doesn't militate against the injustice in other wrongful-conviction cases. Nor does it justify then comitting the very act that you so (rightfully) condemn. Killing others is wrong, regardless of the rationalizations avdvanced for doing so. If we are talking principles here, when it comes to wrongful convictions (which happen frequently) it's a deal breaker. Simply throwing it out as a possibility doesn't advance your argument in any way. After all, if a frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his ass on the ground so much. But he does.
Just a curious question here. If a legal system was put in place that locked up murderers/serial killers/whathaveyou for life in prison with no chance of parole, and the system was actually in place that a sentence could not be overturned unless there was probable cause (ie. No getting out of jail for good behavior, etc), would the pro-death group still find this unacceptable? I know it's a big what-if, but it seems that the biggest reason most people like the death penalty is because of it's
. There's no way that person will harm another life, so to speak. If that system was in place
the need to take that persons life, would there be any other argument to keeping the death penalty? (Besides of course revenge, eye for an eye, etc.)
"That some pyschopaths and serial killers are demonstrably guilty doesn't militate against the injustice in other wrongful-conviction cases. Nor does it justify then comitting the very act that you so (rightfully) condemn".
This is what I condemned; "In my opinion, you forfeit when
you kill another human being for sport or sexual gratification."
Being pro capital punishment is not the same as being pro botched American application of the death penalty in the same way being pro research and development of new medical drugs is not the same as being pro thalidomide. There are two questions here; one being 'is it ever right to execute a human being for killing others?' and the other being; 'should people be executed in the U.S given the obvious failures of that legal system to ensure they've got the right guy?' My answers to those questions are
to the first, and
to the second, knowing that sociopaths will continue to maim, rape and kill regardless of anyone's answers to either question because they can't
be what they are; the only advantage to answering yes to the first question is a practical one - you can reduce the numbers of those killed by active psychopaths by reducing the number of psychopaths in operation at any given time. As far as advantages go, I think this one rates. This is the kind of thing that is far too complex for any group of people to find much common ground; however I find I learn something, or think about parts of the issue in more depth every time it comes up, so I think it's a good thing to chew on once in a while. In any case, I'm due to start a murderous cross-country rampage tomorrow, and haven't even started packing, so I gotta go.
I'm curious: what do you think of CBT or similar therapy to "fix" the sort of people that would do this? Do you think that a murderer who kills for sexual gratification is redeemable at all and could make a new start in society? I don't know myself, but I'm curious to hear your opinion. What bothers me is children killing children, like the
James Bulger murder
. The killers are young enough that they could be rehabilitated, theoretically, and rejoin society as they have now. Should they be given a chance, or spend the rest of their long lives in prison?
Okay, this is about to turn into an aimless rant.
From what I understand, a psychopath who kills for sexual gratification is not fixable, because a psychopath does not have any context with which to recognize the merit of
killing for sexual gratification. To such a person, killing someone is the same as breaking a dish in anger; they require an object with which to express themselves, and people are objects. That being said; not all psychopaths kill. Some are stock brokers, successful business men, or surgeons because they've used their understanding of other people as objects to allow them to take risks with other people's faith, money, and physical integrity; basically using their psychopathic super powers for 'good' rather than evil. Work by
indicates that psychopathic indicators in children can be identified while children are quite young, and what to do with this knowledge is one of the more heart-breaking aspects of Hare's work. Do you tell an eight-year-old's parents, "I've got good news and bad news - your kid may either grow up to be a fabulous neurosurgeon or Richard Ramirez"? Do you put that info out there risking that people treating this child differently
they know this about him may push him more towards the dark side? Or do you not tell anyone until the child kills, and so is, in my opinion already gone? What Dr. Hare has done (in addition to his Psychopathic Checklist for adults) is developed the the Hare Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version to determine if a child who kills is a psychopath, or not a psychopath, as defined;
A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.
So in regards to children killing children, I think a psychopathic child who kills is not able to be rehabilitated any more than a psychopathic adult who kills; they lack the mechanism to appreciate that purposely causing others pain and killing them is not an appropriate way of expressing themselves. A child who kills once because of an inability to cope with a situation because of immaturity or age-appropriate impulsiveness - say a kid being teased by a friend who grabs Dad's gun out of the closet and shoots, not understanding that his friend is not going to get up off the floor in a few minutes - or a thirteen-year-old who is pressured into a gang initiation killing - is, I believe retrievable if they have the capability to understand how
what they did hurt other people
, and to imagine what it would
be like to be
those other people. Otherwise, all is lost.
I should have realised, moneyjane, that your views were more nuanced than I was getting - sorry about that. But, in my opinion, the deal breaker is always going to be point 2 on your list, in any country. It simply isn't possible to be sure, no matter that the convicted has been found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, that in all cases they did the crime. Which means that, even in instances where there really is no doubt (see
for example) I cannot justify a death sentence. The man will never breathe free air again, that has to be enough.
*sigh* Matin = Martin
Which means that, even in instances where there really is no doubt (see Martin Bryant for example) I cannot justify a death sentence.
My deal breaker as to
justifying a death sentence is individuals like this dink,
. I am not any kind of authority on psychopathology, but I do have a decent layman's grasp of the concept, and I'm damn sure Bagwell qualifies. What the
was this guy doing walking around? They don't stay in prison, and so in my opinion, it isn't enough. I do understand what you're saying, but anti capital punishment advocates can't have it both ways; psychopaths
being released into society - and with prison overcrowding, probably on a daily basis - and they are killing again because that is who they are and what they do. The day that all violent prisoners judged psychopathic by the Psychopathic Checklist (or new methods as they arise) are given a status such that the only possible release from a maximum security institution is via natural or accidental death certificate is the day I'll become anti capital punishment. The system fails every one; it sometimes executes the wrong person;
it very often releases the wrong person who then goes out and kills those who are almost invariably the wrong people. I think the pro/anti capital punishment debate is covering something else; society does not know what to do with psychopaths. Society does not want to understand that there are people who, for reasons largely unknown, are born with little or no understanding of how not to kill the rest of us.
In what state in the US is the sentence for a conviction of first degree murder anything other than Life Without the Possibility of Parole?
Do you put that info out there risking that people treating this child differently because they know this about him may push him more towards the dark side? Or do you not tell anyone until the child kills, and so is, in my opinion already gone?
I'm not sure how that information could possibly be useful if people
treat the child differently after they got it. If we can agree that this is wrong -- and it seems to me that it most definitely is -- then the question is moot.
Ah! Now I realize that this is the question you meant to ask. In that case, I think it's rather like the argument for racial profiling. It depends on whether you think deterrence is an acceptable excuse to treat people in ways they don't deserve. I would say no.
bernockle As a regular Joe-ette I may be misinterpreting some of this info - changes in sentencing after certain dates, etc, - but so far I've turned up Tennessee, Kansas, New York State and Rhode Island as possibilities.