Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Hangman

190 The Hangman

We have learned from recent news reports from Iraq, that yet another time-honored profession has been diluted and given over to incompetents. Several recent hangings have been botched, and this calls into question the training of executioners, and the lower standards to which they now adhere.

Lopping a guy’s head off during a hanging would have brought shame to the American West. Now, it apparently is perfectly “normal,” if we are to believe the English translation of the most recent post-execution news conference from Baghdad. “It’s rare, but not unheard of…” said the government spokes-being, meaning, of course, that it happens a lot.

That said, there must, then, be a lot of hangings in greater Baghdad and vicinity. Which brings up the notion that we really don’t know how many and of that number, how many heads remain attached to the bodies. Something for the statisticians to play with.

Hanging is passé in this country. We have more humane means of executing our unwanted and unneeded. Most states have retired their electric chairs, gas chambers, gallows, firing squads and guillotines. Now, we use lethal injections.

We are led to believe (but can’t possibly know) that the intravenous method is relatively pain free. Probably it isn’t. But we’ll never know, because when the guy on the gurney dies, there’s no way to ask him if it hurt.

But the average American (and for that matter, the average Iraqi) never gets an up front execution. We have ways even more subtle than the lethal injecting of executing our undesirables. Much of it comes from withholding stuff than it does from DOING stuff.

How much longer would we live and how much healthier would we be if there were universal health care, for example? We get a rid of a lot of people by not doing enough stem cell or genetic research. We execute a lot of AIDS patients (even though the affliction is 100% preventable.)

We send our boys (and often, these days, our girls) to war. Executing those who can’t escape or who are misled into believing that military service helps the country, somehow. They get shot a lot.

We don’t do much about gangs, which keeps the underclass population reduced.

What we DO do about gangs also is a form of execution.

We warehouse the old and the young. We put people on welfare, which kills them, then take them off welfare, which kills them.

These killing mechanisms are still pretty efficient. But things are going to get “better.” Like pretty much everything else, they’ll deteriorate, too.

I'm Wes Richards, my opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.

(c) 2007 WJR

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