Thursday, July 24, 2014
Capital punishment shouldn't be this difficult, I mean technically, not politically
So after a number of recent "botched" executions, where the condemned men took too long to actually die, many states are scrambling to find a new drug cocktail that is more reliable and kills the prisoner faster. Currently, the three drugs used by most states are, in order of injection:
-Sodium Thiopental, a barbiturate that is used in the Netharlands for medical-assisted suicide. US execution use 3 times that amount for executions.
-Pavulon, a paralytic that binds neuro-muscular junctions, including the diaphragm, causing rapid respiratory arrest or asphyxiation.
-Potassium Chloride changes the electrical potential of the heart muscle which causes it to stop beating.
I don't know why or how this cocktail fails to kill a man in mere minutes. Apparently prison infirmary orderlies aren't skilled at administering it. Also, states are having to resort to different, more exotic, cocktails as drug companies are not granting permission for their drugs to be used for capital punishment. If the drug is sold publicly, I don't know how they have anything to say about it one way or the other.
Having said all that, there must be scores of drugs that will kill a dude in seconds, why all the trouble? How about a cyanide drug? Or how about a version of the gas chamber where instead of cyanide gas, they just raise the CO2 level? He'll go to sleep very quickly and within minutes die of hypoxia. That's the currently approved method of humane animal sacrifice in research labs.
For some reason we've made capital punishment much more difficult than is necessary.