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Ways to kill Portillo

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Tetedelacourse, 16 Jan 2008.

  1. Tetedelacourse

    Tetedelacourse New Member

    Location:
    Rosyth
    Did anyone see Horizon last night?

    Michael Portillo was looking for the most humane way to execute a human. Presumably after working with Maggie all those years it was something that crossed his mind a lot.

    He "researched" all of the current methods in use in the USA, including hanging, cyanide gas, electricution (sp?), lethal injection and hypoxia via different methods.

    I thought it was all a bit school projecty (for a rough school obviously) until we saw him in the altitude training chamber, happily becoming less and less coherent to the point where he was being told to flick a switch or he'd die and he couldn't understand the instruction. Quite disturbing!

    Then at the end he spoke to a USA govt advisor suggesting that nitrogen gas provides a cheap, reliable and painless solution to execution and would they consider. The bloke was disgusted, saying that it'd be inhumane to the victims of the crimes the criminal had perpetrated, and that a euphoric death is the last thing they should be given.

    Did anyone see it? What did you think?
     
  2. Are you taking the Michael? :smile:

    I went to school with this Thatcherman:wacko: - he was older and more experienced though:wacko:... His radio 4 programmes seem interesting - he has a good face for radio though.:wacko:
     
  3. Tetedelacourse

    Tetedelacourse New Member

    Location:
    Rosyth
    True he does have a face like cobbler's thumb. Strangely watchable though.

    You're older than I thought Aperitif!
     
  4. I'm older than I think!:smile:

    (He was two years above me - it all mingles together when 'bright boys' stayed on to do third years scholarship sixth or whatever it was called...I stayed on an extra year to play cricket and rugby and do a bit of drawing :wacko:)
     
  5. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    Yeah, I saw it and was fascinated (I missed the first 20 mins or so). The hypoxia certainly seemed the way to go. If you're ever in a plane that depressurises at altitude, and you reckon it's gonna crash anyway, I think leaving the mask off would be a better way to go than being able to breathe all the way down to impact...

    I guess I can understand the idea that a painless execution is in some way letting down the victim, but from what I've heard of the US death row system, with appeals dragging on for years, I reckon the murderer has already been dehumanised and mentally screwed up a fair bit, and demanding that they die in pain seems like a final insult too far. I guess it comes down to WHY you choose to have a death penalty - are you doing it to remove them from society, to hurt them, or to deter others (which apparently doesn't work). If you merely want to inflict pain, why not just have flogging or something, then you can let them heal up and do it all over again, really get your money's worth...
     
  6. Tetedelacourse

    Tetedelacourse New Member

    Location:
    Rosyth
    That pretty much summed up my thoughts Arch. The US seem to have a habit of placing disturbingly backward / dim people in positions of authority and influence. I thought Dubya was a one-off.
     
  7. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    Location:
    middle of Norfolk
    A friend of mine finds him hugely attractive. Can't see it myself!
     
  8. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    I wouldn't say hugely attractive myself, no, but when ever I've seen him doing stuff on Tv, I've felt he was wasted as a politician, he seems to have a good way with documentary...
     
  9. yello

    yello Guru

    I thought the guillotine was the most 'humane' form of execution? In that it was the quickest and most painless.

    I'd hate to have my head on that block though... waiting... hoping the blade was sharp. I seem to recall mention of you actually being able to see for a very brief period of time once you've had your head lopped. That could be a surreal final image, depending on how your head fell.
     
  10. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    In the "Does anything eat wasps" book, there is an account of a doctor who talked to a guillotine victim for some seconds after his beheading - the guy didn't talk back obviously, but apparently opened his eyes when his name was said, a couple of times.

    The thing about waiting for the blade though, that's the thing. I suspect most people aren't scared of being dead, but are scared of the dying process.
     
  11. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    Location:
    middle of Norfolk
    Here we go...

    http://www.metaphor.dk/guillotine/Pages/Guillot.html

    Includes

    ""I waited for several seconds. The spasmodic movements ceased. The face relaxed, the lids half closed on the eyeballs, leaving only the white of the conjunctiva visible, exactly as in the dying whom we have occasion to see every day in the exercise of our profession, or as in those just dead. It was then that I called in a strong, sharp voice: "Languille!" I saw the eyelids slowly lift up, without any spasmodic contractions – I insist advisedly on this peculiarity – but with an even movement, quite distinct and normal, such as happens in everyday life, with people awakened or torn from their thoughts.
    Next Languille's eyes very definitely fixed themselves on mine and the pupils focused themselves. I was not, then, dealing with the sort of vague dull look without any expression, that can be observed any day in dying people to whom one speaks: I was dealing with undeniably living eyes which were looking at me. "After several seconds, the eyelids closed again, slowly and evenly, and the head took on the same appearance as it had had before I called out.
    "It was at that point that I called out again and, once more, without any spasm, slowly, the eyelids lifted and undeniably living eyes fixed themselves on mine with perhaps even more penetration than the first time. The there was a further closing of the eyelids, but now less complete. I attempted the effect of a third call; there was no further movement – and the eyes took on the glazed look which they have in the dead.
    "I have just recounted to you with rigorous exactness what I was able to observe. The whole thing had lasted twenty-five to thirty seconds.""
     
  12. velocidad

    velocidad Senior Member

    there was a time when i would have found the program interesting, but i unexpectedly found myself quite disturbed by it. so much so, that i was forced to turn it off. :smile:

    cheers, velocidad :wacko:
     
  13. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Location:
    York, UK
    Whereas, for reasons I don't want to go into, I came away feeling slightly comforted about something.

    It was disturbing, especially the electric chair bit - I came in just as they were showing the footage of Edisons experiment to electrocute an elephant, which I'd heard about on QI. And the pig experiment, with the burning and the melting fat.... But sometimes, it takes a bit of shock to make people think...
     
  14. betty swollocks

    betty swollocks large member

    I'd like to go like Major T J 'King' Kong at the end of 'Dr Strangelove'.
    Now that's how to depart for the hereafter with style and I suspect, painlessly!
     
  15. Pete

    Pete Guest

    There was an article in the New Scientist some years ago including Waffly's guillotine quote - this was I believe an account by a French doctor written in the early 1900s.

    Here we go again ... didn't see the programme though :cry::cry:.

    Cyanide under consideration is it? As used in California many years ago, whilst other states were still wired up to 'old sparky'. Also as used in the gas-chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. I wonder what the relatives and descendants (amongst whom, I suppose, I must number myself) of those who perished there, would make of that?

    As for hanging: a student with whom I used to share a flat, had an elder brother, or cousin, or whatever, who was in the Prison service and had some dealings with (British) executions back in the 1950s and 60s. He was very assertive about the '11 seconds' rule, that was: the maximum time from when Pierrepoint (or whoever) marched into the condemned cell, opened the secret door, manhandled the prisoner to the gallows, shackled him, pulled the lever, left him stone-dead in the noose ... all this time was supposed to total no more than eleven seconds. Having watched dramatic stagings of the act in several movies, which I think are accurate portrayals, I can believe in the timing up to the drop, yes. Whether the victim really did become unconscious or dead once he had dropped, or whether he remained conscious and in agony for many minutes thereafter, as some claim ... this is still open to debate.

    For me, 'barbarous' sums it up...