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Lethal Injection the Latest Chapter in America's History of Botched Executions

Robert Wilbur @ Truthout - The American correctional system has repeatedly sought to deploy our native ingenuity to devise the ultimate corrective: an engine of death that will dispose of our villains in a civilized manner. The quest, which goes on to this day as states refine the technique of lethal injections, has been fraught with disappointments.

Hanging was the traditional means of execution from the founding of the Republic, but it had the disadvantage that it often failed to break the neck. Sometimes, a charitable executioner would scramble underneath the gallows and pull down on the condemned person's feet until he heard the satisfying snap of breaking bone, but this measure to hasten death was never written into law, perhaps out of due respect for the sensitivity of executioners.  Read more.

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