Friday, April 15, 2005

Prisoners 'aware' in executions - A training issue

"American Medical Association ethical guidelines bar physicians from taking part in executions. But a survey has shown that 19% were willing to inject lethal drugs."

Good. So would I be willing, if only to eliminate the possibility of torturous suffering during the instants before oblivion.

...the Lancet said: "Capital punishment is not only an atrocity, but also a stain on the record of the world's most powerful democracy.

"Doctors should not be in the job of killing."

Nonsense. Capital punishment is not an atrocity, and the stain is that of ineffectuality, painted by people such as these authors. Doctors should be in the job of killing precisely because they know very well how to do it in a civilized fashion.

Civilized killing - that's right.

Whether or not the condemned risk inadvertent but horrific torture in the process of execution is immaterial to the legitimacy of the death penalty. There is sin, though, in not addressing the possibility of needless suffering, and in failing to seek elimination of the possiblility of such suffering. Needless suffering is always to be avoided, no matter by whom or what.

Executioners should be well trained to eliminate the possibility of torturous execution. An execution should be equivalent to surgical anaesthesia from which you don't return. That's because infliction of suffering is, or should be, more costly to the perpetrator than to the subject in all cases.

From a purely practical perspective, elimination of suffering during execution would remove this ridiculous argument from the mouths of anti-death-pentalty activists.

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