Saturday, April 18, 2015

An Attack of Gas

I note that Oklahoma has legalized the use of nitrogen gas as an execution method, though stifling people in this fashion has never been tested and it would raise certain ethical issues to run a phase one trial. In any case, you’d think that opting for helium would have demonstrated a more developed sense of humor on the part of the legislature.  Really, I don’t know why we have so much trouble with this issue. We worry about how much a handful of condemned murderers will suffer, but we routinely torture living inmates.

The solution to the execution problem should be obvious to anybody who has taken Econ 101. There are surely many wealthy people who would pay a good price for the right to kill somebody with impunity, thus providing much needed revenue to the state while making the choice of lethal instrumentality a question for whoever was willing to pay the most. Privatizing state-sanctioned murder has the added benefit of undercutting a familiar argument against capital punishment. Opponents are forever carping that execution is much more expensive then life imprisonment. My suggestion would make the death house a profit center. A win-win situation.

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