Human Exceptionalism

Lethal Injection: “Death with Dignity” or “Cruel and Unusual Punishment?”

I don’t get into the death penalty here at Secondhand Smoke, but I find this confluence of issues so paradoxical. In the Netherlands, the preferred method of euthanasia is to inject the suicidal person with strong drugs to put them in a deep sleep. Then, a lethal drug is administered that paralyzes the muscles and stops the heart. This is called “death with dignity” by euthanasia supporters.

This is very close to the method used for lethal injection in California, which is now under attack in the courts, not because it kills–the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that capital punishment is not unconstitutional–but because it supposedly causes suffering to the point that, the argument goes, executing by lethal injection is unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.

So, I guess this means that if the executed murderer wants to die it is cruel and unusual death with dignity.