That's the title of commentary at Philadelphia public radio station WHYY-FM NewsWorks. It's by Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor of history and education at New York University.
Did Joseph Wood suffer when he was executed in Arizona last month?
Some witnesses reported that Wood gasped over 600 times during his July 23 execution by lethal injection, which took nearly two hours. But one official said that Wood "appeared to be snoring," while another stated flatly that the inmate "did not endure pain." We'll never know.
But here's what we do know: the quest for a pain-free mechanism of capital punishment is a fool's errand. As Amherst professor Austin Sarat shows in a terrific new book, we have spent two centuries trying to put people to death without putting them in discomfort. And it hasn't worked.
Earlier coverage of Austin Sarat's latest book begins at the link. Related posts are in the botch category index.