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Old 11-12-2012, 03:06 PM   #141 (permalink)
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I understood there were a variety of reasons for doing away with the chair. Mostly they boil down to inhumane punishment I suppose, but part of that was that it didn't always kill on the first go; it ultimately did the job, but might take more than one attempt.

Regardless, I didn't mean to open a debate about whether it is a good tool for the job, only to point out that it sometimes doesn't kill immediately, and that is is a pretty gruesome way to go.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:37 PM   #142 (permalink)
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As I recall the story of the electric chair is quite fascinating (if gruesome).

It was developed by Edison as part of a big PR campaign against George Westinghouse over electricity services.

Edison had massive patent income from his Direct Current (DC) electric power generation system that was used in the US. DC however really sucks when trying to distribute it any distance unlike Alternating Current (AC). AC systems were developed and widely used in Europe.

Westinghouse realised AC was a better system and figured if he could introduce it in the US he could make a motza.

He invested heavily in it. Edison however was not going to relinquish his cash cow easily. Much money was at stake.

Edison then started a massive PR scare campaign against AC. He figured if he could make people fearful of AC he would stop its adoption. He did all sorts of things to paint AC as highly dangerous unlike his safe and simple, safe, pure US made DC electricity.

He publicly electrocuted animals (including a circus elephant) using AC to show how nasty the stuff was.

One of the stunts was the building an electric chair (that ran on this dangerous AC electricity) for a New York gaol to use to execute a prisoner. This was the first electric chair. It was meant to highlight how lethal AC was.

As someone else here said it didn't work very well. The first execution apparently was horrific - it required several goes before the prisoner was finally killed, each one only serving to torture him.

The quote from Westinghouse was along the lines of 'it would've more humane to have used an axe'

In the end Edison lost anyway. AC was the better system and became the standard.
What is weirder - apparently Edison actually opposed the death penalty. Weird stuff.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:40 PM   #143 (permalink)
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I don't really think it matters HOW the government decides to kill people, it's all pretty sickening. Beat them to death with a broom handle, gas them, electrocute them, it's all the same, it's the government deciding who gets to live and who gets to die.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:22 PM   #144 (permalink)
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Sounds a bit like the NHS demonic.


Only from the other angle.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:06 PM   #145 (permalink)
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I don't really think it matters HOW the government decides to kill people, it's all pretty sickening. Beat them to death with a broom handle, gas them, electrocute them, it's all the same, it's the government deciding who gets to live and who gets to die.
Actually it's the jury who decides the punishment during a separate phase of the trial if/when guilt is established. The death penalty is only an available option; another new one that's more palatable to the jurors, is 'life without the possibility of parole'.

While it's never a pleasant prospect to put another to death; it's 100% insurance against recidivism. Other nations have their own policies, and as such we have to respect them. If the Norwegians turn him loose, and he kills again; they will have brought it on their own society.

A point of interest, 'Old Sparky' (our electric chair has it's own name) is now a museum piece. Lethal injection took it's place, and it is far more humane than the sort of death that the victims usually suffer. ....James.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:48 PM   #146 (permalink)
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Actually it's the jury who decides the punishment during a separate phase of the trial if/when guilt is established. The death penalty is only an available option; another new one that's more palatable to the jurors, is 'life without the possibility of parole'.

While it's never a pleasant prospect to put another to death; it's 100% insurance against recidivism. Other nations have their own policies, and as such we have to respect them. If the Norwegians turn him loose, and he kills again; they will have brought it on their own society.

A point of interest, 'Old Sparky' (our electric chair has it's own name) is now a museum piece. Lethal injection took it's place, and it is far more humane than the sort of death that the victims usually suffer. ....James.
I agree with most of what you said but a lethal injection seems pointless if life without the possibility of parol is a choice. And a cheaper one at that. I don't think there are enough jail breaks by these guys to overcome the risk executing the wrong man. The irony there is that if an innocent man is executed, the search stops for whomever really did the dead.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:05 PM   #147 (permalink)
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Sounds a bit like the NHS demonic.


Only from the other angle.

Cute.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:25 PM   #148 (permalink)
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Jonkster, you're right about Edison creating the chair and about his motives behind it, but Westinghouse was only the money man. AC electricity as we know it was the brainchild of Nicola Tesla. He actually worked for Edison and tried to get him interested in the AC system but Edison shunned it as he was already heavily invested in his DC system. Tesla was one of his leading engineers and managed the installation of Edison's first power plant in NYC at the completion of which he was due a large bonus. When he went to Edison for his check, having done the job well, Edison stiffed him saying 'you have a lot to learn about business in America' or something to that effect. (Tesla was an emigrant from Serbia)

Shortly after, Tesla left Edison and resorted to digging ditches until he eventually hooked up with Westinghouse who provided the means to fund his AC dreams. This is when Edison's 'theatrics' took place. Eventually Tesla/Westinghouse won the bid to provide power to the Chicago world's fair which was the tipping point where the world began to see AC power as the better alternative. That led directly to them winning the contract for the power plant at Niagra, and from there DC never stood a chance.

I'm something of a Tesla fan; I feel he was one of the greatest minds of the century but is often overlooked in history.

I also think Edison was a bit of a d!ck.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:46 PM   #149 (permalink)
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But I am extraordinarily lucky. I have only had minor infringements imposed on my freedom of choice and I don't have to compromise my beliefs or attitudes very much or very often.

A good guy I used to know told me "I always have a plan for everything. If you do not have your own plan, you are, by default, part of someone elses plan."
So, that invites a question. If it is your freedoms being infringed upon, who is exerting dominion?, to what end?
And, If you are compromising your beliefs and attitudes, who is exerting theirs? to what end?
And, ultimately, would you and yours be better off with freedom as you know it, believing as you see fit? or under someone elses rule?
Or, more to the point, do you anticipate that those willing to impose their designs on you, would be as benign as you yourself would be?
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:11 AM   #150 (permalink)
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Whooa There '73T140, there's some hard core questions there and they could take things any-which-way. To think I nearly didn't check this thread again.

In my belief system T140, every single human should have the right to pursue their own course of life. They still have to fit into society and remain social and responsible, but they should be completely free otherwise. I understand that adhering to social rules AND being completely free may seem contradictory, but I have thought about it and I don't think the two need to be contradictory, though I am preaching from the idealistic position where we're all looking out for each other's interests and no-one is incline to put their hand in the till or have any desire to have controlling power over anyone else.

As far as unfair impositions, I don't like paying taxes that get wasted or lost, I don't like having to kowtow to political correctness; you can see how long this list is going to get. Essentially I am anti-Big and anti-Global, they are the forces that I feel are eating into my freedom, they are the monsters that I feel press their might upon me. But in the grand scheme of things, in comparison to many other countries, we Australians get to live a pretty free existence. Every decade though the walls move in a little closer.

Julian Assange is one of my Heroes. He's paid a massive price regarding his freedom, he may yet pay the ultimate price if America gets their hands on him, all in efforts to minimise the bullschit fed to us, used to manipulate our thoughts and actions.
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