Execution style

My latest article at MercatorNet looks at the symbolism and grotesque realities of the death-penalty by various means:

The popularity of the lethal injection likewise conveys a desire to remove the outward violence from the execution, literally putting the condemned “to sleep” with an anaesthetic, followed by a paralytic, and finally a shot of potassium chloride to stop the heart.  In theory at least, the condemned person is well and truly unconscious by the time the paralysing and lethal agents are injected. In practice, opponents of the death-penalty argue it is possible – anaesthesiology being a complex discipline – that conscious yet paralysed inmates silently endure the agony of suffocation followed by the intense burn of the potassium chloride. As the physician who created the three-drug protocol admitted: “It never occurred to me when we set this up that we’d have complete idiots administering the drugs.”

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