IN September the State of Virginia in the Disunited States of America executed a 41-year-old educationally sub-normal woman named Teresa Lewis by lethal injection of sodium thiopental.
This event was widely reported, possibly because the unfortunate lady is the only woman to be judicially executed in the US in the last 100 years.
I have listened to much rhetoric in recent times about the barbarity of death sentences carried out in what we pompously call the third world, usually spouted by those who believe that they are of a higher caste.
William Jefferson Clinton is one name (well, three actually) that comes to mind.
There are a number of organisations around the world that monitor state controlled executions but I have used data compiled by Amnesty International (AI) and the picture presented is not a happy one.
For example, in 2009, China executed more than 1,000 people.
One could argue that this is an insignificant fraction of the 1.4 billion Chinese extant at the time.
Any one of the ill-fated 1,000 might beg to differ.
AI publishes a league table of executions which, unsurprisingly, China topped.
Iran made it into second place with 388; Iraq and Saudi Arabia took third and fourth with 120 and 69 respectively.
Those good old boys in America came in fifth with a body count of 52.
With the notable exception of Saudi Arabia, where beheading and crucifixion are the norm, methods of execution around the world appear to be similar, though Iran does go in for a bit of stoning now’n again.
Lethal injection is popular with hanging and shooting close runners up.
America appears to be the only country that uses electrocution.
Now I can already hear the bleeding heart liberals reminding me that barbarians in the Middle East execute for offences that we consider trivial – adultery is high on the list.
That may be so but it is the law that prevails.
What I did find to be unusual were examples of executions being carried out many years after the death sentence was imposed.
In one case it took 32 years for the State of Texas to inject a lethal cocktail of drugs into the guilty arm!
I don’t know the answer but I must ask the question: which is more humane, years of emotional torment on death row or justice promptly executed (pun intended)?
There is not enough space in this column to adequately debate the subject of judicial execution in all the countries that still practice it (I counted at least 18).
However, unless, and until, those nations that regard themselves as morally superior put their own houses in order – yes America, I’m talking to you – it might be better to keep quiet about how other countries choose to enforce their criminal codes.
Electric chairs and sodium thiopental should not be required in any truly civilised society.