Social Question

filmfann's avatar

What do you think about Tennessee's plan to bring back the Electric Chair?

Asked by filmfann (40187 points ) 2 months ago

Ol’ Sparky looks like he will have a reboot, due to the unavailability of lethal drugs needed to carry out death penalty sentences.
Is this legal, since those sentenced were under the current system?
Is this the fault of death penalty activists?
Will this scary procedure lower the crime rate?

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75 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Barbaric.

ibstubro's avatar

I think the electric chair will be more easily struck down than lethal injection. It’s just so…archaic. From a time when X-rays were used to see your feet in your shoes.

zenvelo's avatar

I was shocked!

Seriously, one person set on fire again will have it struck down.

Perhaps we as a society will learn there is no humane way to execute someone.

And, it demeans us as a society. And it isn’t a deterrent.

ragingloli's avatar

I expect nothing less from degenerates.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I just hope they remember to put that darn wet sponge atop his head before strapping on the headpiece.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

If the object of the game is to kill the subject without causing suffering, I don’t understand why they can’t just put the subject under anesthetic. Then they can kill them in about any way they want without causing any suffering or duress.

bolwerk's avatar

There is somewhere between from zero and zero impact on crime rates from capital punishment. Very few crimes cause the death penalty to be applied anyway, and those few that exist tend to be arbitrary exacerbating factors piled atop a murder conviction.

This is just Tennessee being, well, medieval.

Rolfadinho's avatar

There actually is a we can get rid of those that are detrimental to our society.

Ship then to Somalia, and let the pirates do the rest of the work.

bolwerk's avatar

@Rolfadinho: starting with the authoritarians occupying Tennessee’s government?

SavoirFaire's avatar

I think it’s just trading one ineffective cruelty for another. Capital punishment is more expensive than keeping someone in prison for life, and it doesn’t deter crime. Furthermore, the Innocence Project alone exonerates an average of 3.5 people per year, and studies estimate that around 4% of those sentenced to death are in fact innocent.

Is the switch legal? Probably. The electric chair is still used elsewhere and has never been declared unconstitutional. Of course, there will be some legal challenges. Any judge who sentenced someone “to death by lethal injection” (instead of just “to death”) will have his order subjected to scrutiny. But I suspect the prosecution will win most or all of those cases.

Is the switch the fault of death penalty activists? Of course not. If I wrestle a gun out of someone’s hand and they pull out a knife to stab their victim instead, I can hardly be blamed for the attack. So while it may be (European) opponents of the death penalty causing the shortage, no one is forcing Tennessee to execute people.

Rolfadinho's avatar

@bolwerk Why stop with Tennessee? Go all the way up to everyone within the federal government.

JLeslie's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt I have wondered that too. It really isn’t that difficult to kill someone with our medical capabilities now. I don’t get it.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

it will ensure that the public will never be subjected to the guilty’s horrors again.

More importantly the fiend is removed from the gene pool.

marinelife's avatar

I find it appalling, but I do capital punishment in general.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SecondHandStoke

Life in prison does that. The death penalty accomplishes nothing but to temporarily sate society’s bloodlust.

Unbroken's avatar

No matter how techy the toys there is still a murder occurring and a murderer but its all government sanctioned so we are good right…

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Does anyone here really truly believe that murder is a genetic trait which can be passed down from the murderer to his/her offspring? Really?

As for government sanctioned murder (executions), does the guilt for this sort of thing spread out among all who pay income taxes?
I mean who actually pays for these executions and out of which fund?

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SecondHandStoke

And you believe that the child of a murderer will of course be a murderer themself?

josie's avatar

An institution as fallible and corruptible as the the Political State should probably not be granted the power to kill it’s citizens. Keep Ol’ Sparky in a museum someplace.

Or, come to think of it, bring it back and make political lying and incompetence a capital crime.

ucme's avatar

In the current climate, it may spark controversy.

bolwerk's avatar

Re the eugenics masturbation @SecondHandStoke is alluding to: my guess is violent/murderous types are actually more likely to reproduce than the general population, so the eugenic effect will be limited if not non-existent. There is evidence in evolutionary psychology that people who are prone to violence towards others also fuck more, and this often includes raping more. This is to compensate for the fact that violent asshats might not be around as long as everyone else because someone will eventually kill them in defense or revenge. However, it’s likely to be another violent asshat rather than the thug pig state’s murder machinery.

So-called war rape is a documented phenomenon as well. Soldiers, who are often pretty restrained people in peace time, suddenly start raping in the war zones they occupy. The act of going into battle actually triggers sexual/rape urges.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk Are you sure war triggers rape urges? Rape is used to control men and women on the opposing side during war, it is a tactic.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: wouldn’t that be a trigger?

Dutchess_III's avatar

War is violent. Rape is violent.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Darth_Algar

Why wait to find out?

Jesus, So few here seem to have a problem with abortion.

Certainly they wouldn’t have a problem with conception never happening in the first place.

longgone's avatar

Oh, man. I hadn’t heard that. Horrible. I hope there will be protests.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SecondHandStoke

Just to be clear, I don’t necessarily have a problem with those in prison not being able to reproduce. I just think your eugenics argument here is a damned poor one.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

A) Science has not, as yet, identified a gene that causes people to be murderers (don’t you think they would be selling the cure for that?).
B) I can’t believe I agree with darth vadar on this.
C) @bolwerk is quite correct regarding war and the urge to rape. This is why raping, pillaging and plundering are so often associated with war.

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk I don’t know if I consider it a trigger. Trigger to me means the man has it in him to harm women and he follows his inclination to do it. I think plenty of men would never want to rape a woman ever. Maybe they still wind up doing it in times of war because of orders or peer pressure. To me that is not a trigger that is circumstance and I assume that man does not get a rush from it but is sickened by it. Just like men who inadvertantly kill civilians during war. The war does not trigger them to want to kill, it is their circumstance. Some men like the idea of killing, especially if they see that person as the enemy. I think most people don’t want to take another life, or rape, or harm innocent children, even in times of war. Maybe I am just being naive. I look at slaughters like what happened in Rwanda and I just cannot fathom it.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@JLeslie Maybe I am just being naive.

Yep

JLeslie's avatar

I really need to go live on an all female Island. What was Wonder Woman’s island? Amazon island?

elbanditoroso's avatar

First, the electric chair.
Then the reality TV people will want to televise (maybe on pay per view).
Then it will become and industry, and people will compete on which way they choose to die.

Look, once the state has decide to kill another human being, the methods don’t really matter. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, what’s wrong with a firing squad? Or a noose?

methods are not the key. The key was that the state decided on capital punishment. Everything else is detail.

Mimishu1995's avatar

I’m expecting to see another strike from those who are against capital punishment.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@JLeslie @ibstubro The Amazons—both historical and fictional—are said to have lived in Themiscyra.

JLeslie's avatar

@SavoirFaire I never knew. Thanks.

DominicX's avatar

The death penalty is a funny thing. Humans have been sentencing people to death cross-culturally for thousands of years. It’s only recently that “we” have decided this is now barbaric, but it’s practically human nature to put people to death for crimes. And yet we still allow it in the modern age, but only with so-called “humane” ways of doing, like injecting someone with potassium chloride to stop their heart as if that’s somehow better than the ol’ firing squad.

I guess I see it as almost an all-or-nothing thing. I don’t think the electric chair is necessarily worse than lethal injection, firing squad, or gas chamber (the latter of which is actually still used in some states), so I am just opposed to all of it rather than try to argue that some methods of state-sanctioned murder are better than others.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Truly horrible.

Paradox25's avatar

It looks like the same issue concerning the scarcity of lethal injection drugs due to European boycotts, and controversy concerning the use of another drug (propofol) being challenged by death penalty foes and inmates, has led to some other states such as Missouri considering bringing back older methods of execution too, such as the gas chamber. It’s unlikely most states will actually do this, but Tennessee seems to be a rare exception.

Personally I think both the electric chair and gas chamber are extremely barbaric. If the procedure is done wrong during preparation for an electrocution, like not using the correct type of sponge, not having the correct level of saturation or loose electrodes can cause a botched execution where the inmate suffers greatly and catches on fire. Everyone’s body is different too, having different impedance levels, so this can be a factor too. The gas chamber might even be worse in my opinion because it literally suffocates you to death, and this is the one execution method where the inmate is asked to speed their own death up by breathing deeply. Looking back at some gas chamber executions, it doesn’t appear that breathing deeply always ensures a quick death though.

The botched execution of Jimmy Lee Gray was a good example of the gas chamber gone wrong. I agreed with Gray’s defense attorney when he criticized the warden for clearing the witness room. If pro-death penalty people are going to support killing and torturing their own peers, then they should have to view what they support doing to others.

Here’s what the electric chair does to people. Warning, very graphic. Yeah, some of these criminals were outright dirtballs, but can we really trust people who celebrate this shit? Moreover, the fact that justice many times comes down to money, fame, power, sex, race along with prosecutors who emphasize quantity over quality concerning conviction ratios can we really trust the system to take another’s life? I think all death penalty proponents should look at this list of exonerated death row inmates. This makes me wonder how many more are innocent, and how many innocent people were already executed.

Dutchess_III's avatar

All the violence can warp a person’s mind @JLeslie. He may wind up with inclinations he doesn’t have back at home.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Regarding my eugenics argument:

When one elects to cross that line and commit a crime they should be prepared to surrender some of their rights if convicted.

In the case of capital crime I see no problem with procreation being one of them.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SecondHandStoke

The thing is you’re not even arguing for sterilization or anything. You’re arguing for death as the means to accomplish that. As I said, the argument you’re using is a damned poor one.

And as to your link above there is a simple solution to that as well: make it to where male inmate are never in a position to have sexual relations with a female (including, perhaps, barring females from working as guards in male prisons, and vice-versa).

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Why should I also pay for the sterilization of someone whose destined to be executed?

Darth_Algar's avatar

Missing the point…

ragingloli's avatar

@SecondHandStoke
“why should I…”
Do you ever self reflect upon your selfishness and egocentrism?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ Yeah.

I’m the ONLY person that would benefit from things being I how want.

You know deep down my self centered approach is more intellectually honest.

ragingloli's avatar

You know deep down my self centered approach is more intellectually honest.
Only if you go live in the jungle, alone.

bolwerk's avatar

@JLeslie: by your standard, ”Rape is used to control men and women on the opposing side during war, it is a tactic,” it sounds like you acknowledge that rape is used during wartime. Isn’t that sufficient for an axiom like war triggers rape?

Re ”Trigger to me means the man has it in him to harm women and he follows his inclination to do it. I think plenty of men would never want to rape a woman ever”: that sounds right-ish to me. Note that I didn’t say every man who enters a warzone immediately becomes a rapist. But, yes, many do.

I think it’s likely that engaging in war-like behavior, which violence is, creates what could crudely be called fuck-urges. Some soldiers will not act on those fuck urges until they get home to girlfriends/wives. Some will masturbate. Some will fuck each other. Some will fuck locals consensually, either by seduction or by hiring them as prostitutes. And some will rape.

Re ”To me that is not a trigger that is circumstance and I assume that man does not get a rush from it but is sickened by it”: in most circumstances, this is unlikely. Ordering soldiers to rape is kind of blatant, and if there is peer pressure it means there is already a great deal of it going on. This means they are probably doing it because of an instinct to propagate themselves. Men risk their own death in war, so it’s natural for them to want to propagate themselves.

Re ”Just like men who inadvertantly kill civilians during war. The war does not trigger them to want to kill, it is their circumstance”: they may not want to kill under normal circumstances, but they learn to kill and may have urges to kill for various reasons.

Re ”Some men like the idea of killing, especially if they see that person as the enemy”: and you can see why these men might self-select to become soldiers and police officers, right?

@SecondHandStoke: do you favor killing their children too?

JLeslie's avatar

@bolwerk I can’t speak for men and some of the crazy shit testosterone does. I watch TV shows and I just cannot believe what some men do. I know some women are violent also, but men really take the cake. I saw Judge Judy the other nigwasabi man A was being sued because he hit man B, because he thought the that man B might hit his girlfriend. That was his rationale anyway. They had the video from the bar. It was totally stupid. Hot headed idiot. If my boyfriend did that I would be horrified. The next case a man was pissed about getting cut off on the road so he followed the car into the gas station and got out of his car, of course the other driver was afraid. He had cut him off, not that it is ok, because he was trying to get over to the gas station and no one was letting him over. I see shit like this all the time, and it never ceases to amaze me. I am glad none of the men around me are like that. I don’t know what they would be like in times of war. I really don’t want to know.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@SecondHandStoke “Why should I also pay for the sterilization of someone whose destined to be executed?”

Like @Darth_Algar said, this response misses the point. How? Because if eugenics is your justification for the death penalty, then sterilization could be used instead. Not only is it cheaper, some methods are reversible (which is nice since, as has been pointed out above, quite a few people sentenced to death have turned out to be innocent). Sterilization would invalidate your proposed justification for capital punishment, so the sterilized person wouldn’t be destined to be executed anymore. That’s why it’s a poor argument (or one reason, anyway).

SecondHandStoke's avatar

To me eugenics is not a justification for the death penalty.

Rather it’s a positive dividend.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SecondHandStoke

Eugenics isn’t a justification for the death penalty, yet you’re against life in prison because it “does not insure the proper eugenic effect”?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Darth_Algar:

I’m not against life in prison. Logic demands that a life sentence is merely one in a collection of tools for delivering fitting justice.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@SecondHandStoke If that’s not what you intended, then your argument is poor for yet another reason—because that’s the logical force of what you’ve written above. In any case, violent people do not necessarily have violent children. And as @bolwerk pointed out, the people you want to remove from the gene pool are likely to have had children before they are caught. Thus the entire sideline about eugenics is extraneous.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@SavoirFaire:

I never at any point suggested that the possible eugenic effect of the death penalty is complete.

I feel that the only people that can truly have an informed opinion about the death penalty are the loved ones of the guilty’s victims.

Who are we to take one of the methods of administering justice from them?

ragingloli's avatar

the victims’ families are the ones that are guaranteed to not have an informed opinion

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SecondHandStoke

Why do you think we do not allow the victim’s loved ones to sit on the jury during the trial of the accused?

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Darth_Algar

Because that would be the epitome of conflict of interest.

The death penalty is about sentencing, not Constitutionally determining guilt.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SecondHandStoke

Then they do not necessarily have an informed opinion about the death penalty.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Darth_Algar:

You and Loli are misunderstanding me.

They know, better than anyone else, if they want the death penalty available as an option.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SecondHandStoke

What they want is of no relevance. We do not allow them on juries and we do not allow them to decide punishment. If the goal of justice is, as stated, to be “blind”, that is – to be impartial, detached and objective, then someone who cannot be detached and objective, such as a loved one of the victim, cannot have any role in the process.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Darth_Algar is correct. This is why judges must recuse themselves from cases in which they have a personal interest.
And @SecondHandStoke although as you said, ”The death penalty is about sentencing, not Constitutionally determining guilt.” This is not strictly true, as knowing that a guilty verdict might also include a death penalty sentence can easily taint a juror’s decision as to guilt, even though they are instructed not to think this way.
And once again I reiterate, there is no gene for murder (at least none that has yet been identified).

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Darth_Algar:

Jesus. I didn’t say that the loved ones of victims decide sentences either.

If their hope for coming close to a sense of closure requires the death penalty then closure certainly isn’t coming if the death penalty isn’t available.

Everyone in this thread has opinions about the death penalty. I’m saying that victims of capital crime have the most invested opinions of all of us, whether for or even against.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@SecondHandStoke

I did not say that you said that. My point is that what the victim’s family may want is of no relevance to an impartial system.

BTW: I have never heard of a single case where the victim’s family stated that they felt a sense of closure after the convicted had been executed.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@SecondHandStoke You can’t sort of reproduce, the same way you can’t be just a little bit pregnant. So if someone has children before dying, then there is no eugenic effect. They either have progeny or they don’t. And if you really care about what the loved ones of victims think, then you should take into account how many of them oppose capital punishment and how the death penalty prolongs their suffering.

In any case, the justice system is not meant to be about revenge. In fact, it is meant to be a replacement for the cycle of vengeance that arises in the state of nature. For that reason, along with many others, justice and capital punishment are incompatible. Thus it makes no sense to ask what right we have to remove the death penalty as a means for administering justice because it was never such a means in the first place.

And for the record, this is not an uninformed opinion even by your standards.

bolwerk's avatar

@SecondHandStoke: justice is usually considered to be a social virtue. If it’s about what families of the victim want, then there is basically no or at least a diminished point in justice if the victim leaves behind no family or heirs.

Capital punishment masturbaters always drag that stuff into these debates, but they are utter irrelevancies. And victims’ rights people, who take these arguments a step further by trying to deny procedural rights to the accused, are RWAs looking to expand the police state.

Paradox25's avatar

Here’s an actual video of an electrocution on an electric chair taking place. The picture quality sucks, but it’s still graphic, and you can see smoke coming from the body (head and left leg). I don’t know which state this was in though, it just said midwest. This is what Tennessee is bringing back.

filmfann's avatar

@Paradox25 My Anti Virus software didn’t like your link.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Execution footage as exploited here can only be used to appeal to the emotional.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Like your vague appeal to the victims and their feelings? In any case, I disagree. People should know what they are supporting or opposing. There are people whose support for capital punishment is in part predicated on the belief that modern methods are humane and/or relatively easy on the one being executed. It is not illegitimate for those on the other side to help them get their facts straight.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@SavoirFaire – I get what you’re doing, even though I find the concept of “wanting to ensure that people are aware of what they support” a rather arrogant stance on your part. It’s not your role to “educate” me or anyone else. That’s your agenda, not mine.

That said, I’m going to disagree about your assertion that (paraphrasing) “people have the belief that modern execution methods are more humans…”

I don’t give a rat’s ass for the comfort of the criminal who is about to get fried. I certainly don’t care whether he/she is in pain and how long the pain lasts. The criminal already deprived someone else of that person’s life, years- often decades – earlier. I see no reason to lessen the amount that the criminal suffers, at all.

Now, the normal pushback is “we’re a civilized country and this is beneath us”—but I’m afraid that I reject that as well. We’re not civilized in a serious way if people are living in caves (parts of WV and NC), people are starving (every big city in America) and people are dying for lack of medical care.

The US has taken some big steps to make society LESS civil in recent decades, so I can’t buy the argument that capital punishment is in some way “beneath us”.

bolwerk's avatar

@elbanditoroso: um? He didn’t say you aren’t free to stick your thumbs in your ears and sing LA-LA-LA-LA. That is probably the one trait all self-acclaimed American “conservatives” have in common!

But people should be aware of the consequences of their actions, including who they vote for. They are inflicting this stuff on others, so it’s not “arrogant” to have them see what they do to society. Most of the things you mention as “uncivilized” are the consequence of people being unaware of consequences.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@elbanditoroso Apparently, you don’t get what I’m doing. I can see what you’re doing, however, and that is misquoting me despite the fact that my post is directly above your response. I didn’t say people should be aware of what they support. I said that people should know what they are supporting or opposing—meaning that opponents of capital punishment also have a responsibility to understand the consequences of their view. Moreover, it has nothing to do with me educating anyone (I’m not the one who posted the link, after all). It’s a comment about what a rational person does before forming an opinion.

Second, your paraphrase misrepresents what I said. In no way have I suggested that you specifically believe that modern methods of execution are humane. I said that there are people whose support for capital punishment is in part predicated on the belief that modern methods are humane and/or relatively easy on the one being executed. This is true. I meet about a dozen every semester teaching my political philosophy class—most of whom got the idea from their parents or other family members.

And finally, what you are calling the “normal pushback” is irrelevant. Because while the United States may not be a civilized country, it should be. That we have failed in the past to live up to our duties as human beings in no way justifies continuing to make the same mistakes.

Note also that you are equivocating on “beneath us.” You want to use it descriptively, but those who proffer the “normal pushback” are almost certainly using it normatively. Thus your response does not actually meet their objection.

Paradox25's avatar

@elbanditoroso According to your thinking these unlucky folks would had felt the wrath of your torture too. Moreover, many death row inmates are mentally impaired, came from horrible childhoods and have an extremely low IQ. People like Ted Bundy are exceptions.

In theory I think some people may very well deserve the death penalty, and maybe even deserve to suffer. However, a society full of bloodletters will continue to create future bloodletters, which in turn this same society will condemn. The bloodletters will allow innocent people to be executed because their sense of vengeance supersedes justice and fairness.

Wealthy people are not getting the death penalty either, so justice many times, along with deciding who should be tortured or not, generally comes down to the size of your bank account, and level of fame/power.

@filmfann My current anti-virus system allows me access to that site. I don’t know where else to find the video. I think people should see what they support doing to others though.

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