Friday, November 18, 2005

Regret and the History of Lethal Injection

The American version of lethal injection was invented in 1977 as a more humane way to execute people. Bill Wiseman was a young Oklahoma legislator who bowed to the wishes of his constituency and voted to restart the death penalty in his state. His vote was against his conscience, and he set out to find a more humane way of killing people than the electric chair or the gas chamber.

Along with an anesthesiologist, Dr. Stanley Deutsch, he worked out the drug cocktail method of using three different drugs to cause 1. unconsciousness, then 2. muscle paralysis, then 3. stopping the heart. Oklahoma became the first state to have lethal injection, but Texas beat Oklahoma to the punch of killing somebody that way. (In 1982)

Wiseman has agonized over his place in history ever since.

Here is a video of an interview he did a few days ago.
Here's an article Wiseman did for the Dallas Morning News last month.



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