Sunday, 11 February 2007

Bring back “The Lord High Executioner”

Bring back “The Lord High Executioner”

Roger K.A. Allen,
Consultant Thoracic and Sleep Physician, Private Practice
Suite 299,St Andrew's Place,33 North St, Spring Hill, Brisbane,Qld 4000, Australia

Dear Editor, as one who comes from a country free of the shame of capital punishment, I think any medical officer who actively participates in an execution is misguided and a shame to the profession.

The phrase “a put down” or “to put someone down” an insult, has lost its veterinary meaning in every day parlance. Recently my dog had to be put down humanely while my wife tenderly nursed her. The veterinarian was compassionate and knew our dog well. There was sad farewell by those present and we buried her in our garden.

In contrast, we now have the American way of execution, so unlike the “third world” methods some purists abhor.

In Australia, tens of thousands of kangaroos are culled cleanly by professional shooters with telescopic sights by a single head shot. The Chinese use a bullet to the back of the head for execution, the Thais use the machine gun, we used to use to noose, and the French used more messy but rapid means; all without the use of a “doctor” apart from the pronouncement of death which a butcher could do. Even the British used the firing squad for its own and other troops until a generation ago and the Japanese used the Samurai sword on more than one innocent allied soldier but I suppose that was swift too.

Why all this squeamishness? If you want to kill someone, for goodness sake, why mess around? If you are going to spill the blood of another human being, spill it; it is both symbolic and therapeutic. You can always hose it down it done outside. Use the giblets for all sorts of things like organ donation, corneal grafts, blood and bone fertiliser, sausage skins, lamp shades, and the skeleton for middle class medical students. Why beat around the bush. This could help the balance of payments and also get rid of all sorts of societal refuse...bit like Australia for the British only more permanent.

The state should not hide behind clean drapes, operating table, sterile drapes, and the technical sophistication of a peripheral or central line to legitimise sending felons on a one way ticket across the River Styx.

By the way, another reason peripheral veins are difficult to access is fear causing venous shut down. Do the medical ghouls out of a job and deregister them.

Bring back the hooded executioner. May the Mikado reign again! Do it in the town square where we can all participate in the macabre scene together. At least that is honest. Make it a public holiday. Get sponsors like some big hamburger chain or a bank involved. Season's tickets could help pay for the penitentiaries.

As the majority of those executed are from the lowest socio-economic groups of society and include the mentally defective in the USA, why not democratise execution? Let's include those corporate criminals who ruin countless lives, impoverish those relying on their investments for their retirement, and even lead to the suicide of those ruined. Surely this crime of the stealing of billions of dollars is worse than some crime of passion amidst domestic squalor? I shall let the politicians ponder this one.

Off with their heads! Down with the gown and glove of the modern board- qualified executioner! Bring back the tried and true method of hanging, drawing and quartering! That really did the presiding doctor out of a job… everyone could see the quartered corpse was…. “life extinct…no vital signs”.

Yours sincerely, Dr Roger Allen

No conflict of interest.

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