The Point of Death

Execution by lethal injection may not be the painless procedure most Americans assume, say researchers from Florida and Virginia.

They examined post-mortem blood levels of anaesthetic and believe that prisoners may have been capable of feeling pain in almost 90% of cases and may have actually been conscious when they were put to death in over 40% of cases.

My question is, do most Americans assume being put to death is a painless procedure? I honestly have no idea, and in a cursory search I was not able to find anything relating specifically to the pain aspect of the death penalty; it seems, however, that pain is probably not first and foremost on people’s minds. It’s probably something they simply do not think about. Is my guess. The death penalty involves killing, and in anything involving killing, we try not to think too hard (e.g., factory farming, wars abroad, genocide, etc.).

Will it make any difference if we have concrete knowledge of the pain caused by lethal injection?

(New Scientist: “Execution by injection far from painless,” by Alison Motluk [April 14, 2005])