IT’S THE HANGMAN, CHARLIE BROWN
The state of Alabama just performed America’s first execution by nitrogen gas, and this latest attempt to find a “nice way” to end a human life already has detractors, with condemned convict Kenneth Smith’s spiritual adviser claiming it was the “most horrible thing I’ve ever seen”, as reported by CNN.
Unsurprisingly, the condemned struggled a bit and didn’t appear to want to breathe normally. The White House opinion? “Troubling.”
His Royal Senescence will have to go to the great state of Mississippi and lecture them. Or perhaps the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights will take time out from criticizing Iran, the Taliban, and China to weigh in. Sarcasm off, but we aren’t holding our breath.
We should have predicted this. I will show my age and examine the strange case of Peanuts characters Charlie Brown and Lucy, and her infamous football, regarding the controversy.
This is a repeated Peanuts skit. Charlie Brown wants to kick the football so badly, and Lucy always says she’ll hold it for him to do so. But every single time in the past that she’s held it, she yanks the football away just as he kicks. Charlie Brown knows it, and says, “You’ll pull it away and I will kill myself.”
Lucy insists this time will be different. And Charlie Brown proceeds to do as he’s done in the past, and Lucy does the same. Charlie Brown, with a classic “AAAUGGH!” flies upwards through the air at an improbable angle and crashes to earth.
Charlie Brown never learns. Neither do we.
This harmful paradigm occurs often in American culture. The good people try to do the right thing, only to have the bad people repeatedly thwart them by turning their system against them. And it keeps happening with good faith assumed, despite clear evidence based on past behavior that it isn’t there.
There is no appeasing them; no making a deal, no compromising. The good guys keep playing the same game, and getting the same results. The bad people never waver—they know what outcome they want in the end.
Here, our death penalty naysayers have no intention of settling on a “good” way to impose it. They don’t want us to have it, and will shamelessly use every argument and trick they can towards that end—honest or not.
The Charlie Brown and Lucy Football Paradigm will be something we examine repeatedly on Deuces Wild, as it manifests itself in so many negative ways in our culture.
The story of the death penalty in the United States has been a black comedy of errors and struggles since the first Colonists got here and practiced it. It has been a fixture in almost every (I leave myself an out) civilization on Earth. Whether it was among European, Middle Eastern, Asian, or African peoples, it was long recognized as an appropriate sanction for extreme crimes.
It was also recognized, though, that the finality and spectacle of the penalty, despite its real or imagined necessity, wasn’t something everyone could deal with well. There was also the issue of who got to perform the killing, and securing their sensibilities; most people are unwilling killers of other people, and this is normally good.
So here and elsewhere, there was the need to dress the penalty up in enough officialdom, process, dignity, and trappings to set it apart from the sin and crime of murder and show it as a legitimate exercise of state power. This took in many official and social considerations, depending on the culture.
The French “Guillotine” was adopted not only to make the infliction of death more humane, but to make the process less prone to mishaps and equalize the manner of the death penalty for all the French classes—from kings to paupers. The last two points were fulfilled. The first one? That’s a debate.
These considerations migrated here from Europe. In the United States, the chattering class that we know so well complained when it was inflicted, or if that was unpalatable, complained on how it was done. This started a long, expensive and ghastly continuing social experiment.
Unlike the British we will discuss shortly, the courts and sheriffs of America never knew how to do common hanging well — resulting in many gory strangulations and accidents.
The electric chair—borne of the Industrial Age miracle of electrification, was supposed to make those problems a thing of the past, and suddenly we had the new word “electrocution”. Thomas Edison wanted the term “Westinghoused” used, in honor of his most hated adversary.
Alas; Old Sparky, Gruesome Gertie, and Yellow Mama, among others, demonstrated the electric chair was far from accident proof. Human bodies don’t react to electricity identically, and electrical equipment requires proper maintenance.
There were other ways, such as the firing squad—which was undignified and violent, and lethal gas—which could also be an unsightly process as the condemned tried to hold their breath. In 1982 Texas became the first state to use the new lethal injection protocol, which took the anesthesia process we know from health care and increased the dosages of the drugs to produce death.
This was going to be it—the answer for how to carry out the death penalty acceptably. Until it wasn’t. Between more accidents, disagreements about the chemicals, and the unwillingness of companies to sell the chemicals, lethal injection was finally not good enough either, despite tweaks in the process and the chemicals. So along came nitrogen asphyxiation.
But now some history on the British hanging method. In the late 1800’s in England, the government had a system of appointed and trained hangmen to work in the prisons, with gallows and equipment built to official specifications.
Two of these persons– William Marwood and James Berry, originated and perfected a scientific system of long drop hanging using a brass ringed rope noose with a gallows drop length calculated for the height, weight, and physical condition of the condemned. The noose tightened quickly and reliably, unlike the “cowboy coil” hangman’s knot most of us have seen in movies.
It was this system, further perfected by the Pierrepoint family, which produced three British hangmen, and used in Britain until 1965, that enabled the British Empire to execute many hundreds with almost no problems recorded ever—to include Nazi war criminals following Nuremberg. Official inquiries by the government on this process confirmed that when competently done, British hanging was fast, reliable, and humane.
The condemned experiences a neck break from 1000 pounds of drop force and immediate shock-induced unconscious and strangulation follows.
Britain stepped away from hanging in the 1960’s not because of accidents or ineffectiveness, but because of philosophical reasons about the death penalty.
The British process is still used in Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, Kuwait, Pakistan, India, and Jordan. We could have done the same. The world’s most advanced country has spun its wheels over it for over a century and still does.
There are no serious legal obstacles to continuing to use the death penalty. Even the Supreme Court does not require a “pain free” or otherwise “perfect” execution method, so long as reasonable diligence to make it quick and humane is had.
“The Blob”, currently presided over by a host of traitors and His Royal Senescence Joseph Biden, really doesn’t want to stop the noise. The dishonest dialogue will continue. As we continue the elusive hunt for a “perfect” way to put someone to death that is quick, easy, painless, and charms the sensibilities of death penalty activists, I have an additional thought.
Many leftists believe in the death penalty, whether they will admit it or not. I cite their willingness to abort children, and euthanize the elderly.
Also notice their willingness to let terrorists and thugs visit the worst treatment, including tortuous death, on the innocent or their enemies; on American streets or in Teheran or Tiananmen Square.
Remember Communism and examine their treatment of Donald Trump, conservatives, or Jews in Israel. Or their willingness to force dangerous vaccines on us. Many would have no problems killing us, with little if any fussing over how much pain we would be in.
I urge people not to believe the propaganda the Left spouts about the death penalty. Rest assured, when they finally can get rid of us all and not worry about the current laws, they will have no problems supporting it. It is absolutely a smokescreen. The agenda is to weaken our criminal justice system to uselessness and collapse—and then institute a new, highly illiberal order where death will come quickly to those they dislike.
At best, the chatterers are useful fools. At worst? Your future executioners.
Mark Deuce has had a life-long career in community law enforcement. He is the author of Deuces Wild for TTP.