Friday, August 8, 2008

Everybody Must Get Stoned!!

Well once again, Bob Dylan and Iran are in disagreement.

According to a recent article in the BBC, Iran has taken a critical leap into the future with its suspension of "death by stoning" from its arsenal of execution options. In other recent news, it has been discovered that the earth orbits the sun, not the other way around.
  • In case you were wondering how someone is stoned to death, males are buried up to their waists and have their hands tied behind their backs. Females are buried up to their necks. Stones shouldn't be too big, lest they kill the person too quickly.
  • In the last year a man was stoned to death for adultery. From what I've read, it looks like stoning is a pretty common punishment for adultery. In the U.S., it's possible that you'll get divorced and pay alimony, but that could always be supplemented with the profits from your reality show.
  • Notice how Iran says it's "suspending" the practice? Not banning, not eliminating... suspending. It's like... To Be Continued...
  • The Taliban were eager to piggy-back on the story, releasing this statement "The Taliban also does not practice death by stoning. Of course, this is because we have banned both throwing and stones."
  • My wife thinks this story isn't newsworthy because we still execute people here, so why does the method of execution make a difference. She may (may!) have a point, but I thought of the Taliban line right when I heard the story and couldn't resist.
So you tell me, is this newsworthy? Would it be hypocritical for our nation to criticize Iran's methods of execution, when we still send people to the "Texas Toaster"?


Coovo said...

I must admit Roller, I don't know much about capital punishment. I have heard though that it costs taxpayers more to execute someone than it does to keep them in prison. If this is true, I can't imagine stoning is that expensive. Plus, in age of recycling, stones can be reused. That's one for stoning.

In terms of suffering, I think I remember a story about how certain elements in lethal injection were extremely painful and there was some controversy. Unfortunately, none of the participants were available for comment. My guess here for least painful would be death by firing squad. Unless of course they were horrible shooters who missed every vital organ.

I used to be for the death penalty. I'm not anymore. But I never understood the intense argument of how a person died if we truly believed they deserved to die. The methods above are barbaric, but it's probably less about the victim than it is more about the participants and the acts they have to fulfill.

But Imagine if adultery was punishable by death here. We'd have no professional athletes. We'd be scraping the bottom of the barrel for presidents and other legislators. It'd be hard to find televangelists as well.

Ryan said...

Yeah, or imagine if theft was punishable by cutting off the thumbs or hands of the perpetrator. Emails from our CEOs would have no spaces.

Personally, I'm against the death penalty as well. But I won't go into that. I think Coovo is right that the methods we use are way more about making us feel better about ourselves than about the person being killed. There is just not a pleasant enough way to kill someone I guess.

Lethal injection is tricky because you have no idea if the drugs are doing to that person what they are designed to do to the average person. Electrocution is savagely inhumane. Hanging is weird. If I had to vote for one, i would honestly vote for firing squad.

Bullets tend to have the same average effect on everyone.

p.s. Coovo, perhaps we already are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Roller said...

Drowning is supposed to be awesome! That might make the public feel better. In Iran they drown you but it is in a vat of acid. Not so awesome.

Mike said...

sweet pic of Dylan. sidebar - i finally found a Dylan song I like, "Buckets of Rain". Just don't tell Austin.

I have no problem with the death penalty. Yes it's cruel and inhumane, but so are the crimes that call for it. Hey, at least we're not China : a gov't official was just sentenced to death for embezzlement (i think last week). They found over a million bucks stashed in his wall after a plumber checked on a leaky toilet.

This is also pretty scary:
(note - it's from 2006)

Coovo, I'm sure you're right in comparing the costs of executing/imprisonment. It's pricey to keep someone locked up, but the appeals process takes too much time and makes it more expensive.

The bigger problem is the huge percentage of non-violent drug offenders flooding the prison system. Barney Frank might be onto something with his newest legislation to decriminalize the ol' sweet leaf.