South Carolina faces execution impasse

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Eternal_Freedom
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Re: South Carolina faces execution impasse

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-03-29 06:34pm

Surely there are other drugs that can be used? Aren't there countless things where an overdose is fatal? Like, morphine?
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Re: South Carolina faces execution impasse

Post by mr friendly guy » 2018-03-29 07:01pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-03-29 06:34pm
Surely there are other drugs that can be used? Aren't there countless things where an overdose is fatal? Like, morphine?
Its easier to use drugs with a narrow therapeutic index, that is the ratio of the fatal dose vs the ratio of the therapeutic dose. Barbiturates like phenobarbitol don't have a very high one, a literature search suggest its at least greater than two. Now consider morphine who according to wiki has a therapeutic index of 70:1 or benzodiazepines with an index of 100:1.

This means that its easy to just take drugs at therapeutic doses for some and mix in a higher concentration. For those that require a high therapeutic index, you can imagine you need to mix a shitload of them, or the drug manufacturer must be willing to create a really concentrated dose.

Another potential agent is dihydromorphine or heroin. Not used as a pain reliever in Australia, but the UK uses it. This was what Harold Shipman used to murder his patients.
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Re: South Carolina faces execution impasse

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-03-29 07:18pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-03-29 06:34pm
Surely there are other drugs that can be used? Aren't there countless things where an overdose is fatal? Like, morphine?
There are likely to be problems acquiring it for executions. You've got to find a medical company who is willing to produce drugs that they know are being used for executions and is willing to risk pharmacists deciding that they want nothing to do with a company that is knowingly helping to kill people.

Try and keep the manufacturer secret and you risk a repeat of the public figuring out who the manufacturer is, followed by them suddenly cutting off the supply when they take a public stance of "first do no harm". It only gets worse if the manufacturer doesn't know what the morphine is intended for.

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Re: South Carolina faces execution impasse

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-03-29 07:52pm

See, the thing is, if the argument is entirely about "this does or does not dehumanize the condemned," then the death penalty loses the argument by default and is unconscionable.

If there are circumstances under which it is proper for the state to have me executed, then implicitly, those must also be circumstances where something considerably more important than whether or not I feel dehumanized by the process is at stake.

The least bad candidate I've seen for this is the state's promise to all the other citizens that it will monopolize the use of force, employ this monopoly to keep them safe. And that there are ways in which a person might attack the citizenry that are simply beyond the pale. At which point they make themselves a target for the monopoly of force, rather than a fellow member of the community.

If this, or some other such abstract justification, isn't in play to justify the death penalty, then the death penalty is unconscionable and should not be used for any reason or by any means.
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Re: South Carolina faces execution impasse

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2018-03-29 08:46pm

Zaune wrote:
2018-03-29 04:43am
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-03-28 11:47pm
Well gee, it's almost like the people performing executions are people and we're telling them, as a society, to do a thing at our behest! We kinda owe it to them not to traumatize THEM for something we've collectively decided is OK and socially sanctioned. :wanker:
If states are that worried about traumatising their executioners then they always have the option of abolishing capital punishment.

That was ultimately the point I was trying to make. If society is too squeamish to use the fastest and ultimately most humane method of executing someone just because it's a bit messy, maybe it's time to do away with the practice altogether.
While I agree that we should abolish capital punishment...

The people who do things like that for the society in which they live are owed something by that society. At the bare minimum, it isn't to leave them with PTSD.

It isn't about societal squeamishness, it's about the executioner and the condemned both being human beings. Very few people, if you picked them up off the street, could stomach killing someone else without some sort of passion being involved. There is a psychological barrier to doing that, and crossing it causes psychological trauma. No matter how justified or not the killing in question is.

We have to train the fuck out of soldiers and police to get them to a point that they're willing to kill consistently in life or death situations (the difference in method is part of what accounts for police brutality but that's another discussion). Try doing that direct and cold. No.

We need to find a quick and humane way of executing people if that's what we're gonna do. But at the same time, we can't go turning our civil servants into mental patients.
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Re: South Carolina faces execution impasse

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2018-03-29 11:03pm

Surely if the problem is availability of drugs for the job, the solution is for the US Government to buy/build whatever infrastructure is necessary to produce the drugs themselves? I can't imagine a state-owned facility being at all concerned with publicity. I'm guessing there's probably some obvious reason why this hasn't been tried already that I'm totally oblivious to.
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Re: South Carolina faces execution impasse

Post by Imperial528 » 2018-03-29 11:19pm

I'd imagine building such production facilities to FDA standards while also being unable to sell the product (for all practical terms) runs straight into the bad end of economies of scale: small operations are very unprofitable most of the time.

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Re: South Carolina faces execution impasse

Post by Napoleon the Clown » 2018-03-29 11:22pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote:
2018-03-28 11:47pm
Napoleon the Clown wrote:
2018-03-28 10:23pm
Zaune wrote:
2018-03-28 06:53pm
This cannot possibly be cheaper than four guys with AR-15s and one bullet each.
Firing squad is mildly traumatic for the shooters, though. Gotta pretend executing people is clean and pretty!
Well gee, it's almost like the people performing executions are people and we're telling them, as a society, to do a thing at our behest! We kinda owe it to them not to traumatize THEM for something we've collectively decided is OK and socially sanctioned. :wanker:
I was not speaking of public execution in a manner that is, in any way, positive. Personally, I think it's fucking barbaric. Hell, I can't see it being easy on the people who have performed the "pretty" versions of executions.

I'd rather not be basically seeking out the sort of person who wants to kill people with a gun. And that's what most applicants would probably end up being, were firing squad to become the default.

So yeah, my main point regarding firing squad is that bullets are cheap, but the toll on the people who do the deed is gonna be steep. Unless we start giving people who get their jollies from killing a job to get their rocks off. Which I would rather not do. The "gotta pretend executing people is clean and pretty" is more for the way the government is trying to handle it. I probably shoulda been more clear there.
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Re: South Carolina faces execution impasse

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-03-29 11:26pm

EnterpriseSovereign wrote:
2018-03-29 11:03pm
Surely if the problem is availability of drugs for the job, the solution is for the US Government to buy/build whatever infrastructure is necessary to produce the drugs themselves? I can't imagine a state-owned facility being at all concerned with publicity. I'm guessing there's probably some obvious reason why this hasn't been tried already that I'm totally oblivious to.
Wouldn't such a facility either:
- Be limited to providing execution drugs for the state it exists in. How many of the governments in states with the death penalty are willing and able to increase spending ?
- Run into the interstate commerce clause, which means the federal government can get involved. Causing a lot of red tape, maybe even shut down the facility if the current federal government doesn't like the death penalty.

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