September 23, 2009

that was a close call

The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg argues that we should stop performing executions with lethal injections, given the recently demonstrated issues with finding veins:

Perhaps this is an area where we could learn from our Chinese friends. Their method of execution, I’m convinced, is the kindest of all: a pistol shot to the back of the head. It’s quick, it’s inexpensive, and it’s not as messy as you might assume. No one knows for sure how it feels, obviously, but I expect that because the bullet instantly destroys the brain stem, the pain, if there is any, is minimal. You’d feel the blow, I imagine, like getting slapped on the back really hard or tackled unexpectedly from behind, but it’d but just wham, lights out.

Coming across this in my trusty Google Reader, the post offended my delicate liberal sensibilities, and led me down a deep dark path of despair: I was starting to worry a little about Hertzberg and wonder just what the hell was happening to my steady media diet of opinion I already agree with. Until I reached the end…

On the other hand, it might be better still to get out of the capital punishment business altogether.

…and all became right the world again. Whew. That was close.