January 24th, 2011 § 0 comments

Political ideas, regardless of validity, rapidly seem to develop a level of inertia only otherwise encountered in the more esoteric branches of physics. The British government are currently kicking up a fuss about UK companies supplying drugs to death-row executioners in the US. I forget why the US prisons can’t get the stuff for themselves locally, but the question is immaterial; the supply of the chemicals is just one of the well documented issues with lethal injection, ranging from the difficulty of finding a vein to the question of the pain it may or may not cause. If it were the only option, or perhaps the best of the bunch, then debating and maybe accepting these issues (the morality of execution in general aside, for now) would be reasonable. That’s if there were any chance of lethal injection being the best option. There isn’t.

Nitrogen is cheap, absurdly plentiful, can be administered with minimal difficulty and essentially no training, is painless and effective, and even maintains a level of clinical detachment which some say is to be afforded as a courtesy to the executioner. This is not a complex moral issue, it’s not the debate about whether capital punishment should be carried out at all, it is simply a question of method. One method is demonstrably superior in all respects. So fucking use it.

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