Painless Executions: Are They Possible? (03:42)
Controversy over the state-sponsored killings has raged for centuries. Botched killings raise issues about the humaneness of capital punishment. Should executions be painless? Is lethal injection scientifically sound?
Lethal Injection: Humane? (02:37)
Coroner and eyewitness reports from across America suggest that lack of expertise in the execution chamber can result in painful deaths. Ill-trained technicians may be undermining the credibility of lethal injections.
Pain from Lethal Injections (02:40)
Controversy over lethal injection surrounds one of the drugs used in the lethal "cocktail." The drug acts as a paralytic to muscles during surgery, but can cause pain is some patients. Many believe the drug cases extreme pain to inmates.
Methods of Execution: Science of Hanging (04:02)
Hanging is a method of execution in several countries including Japan, Iran, Singapore, and two states in America. Historically, short-drop hangings resulted in slow suffocation. A longer hangman's rope may be more humane, but may also behead.
Hanging: An Imperfect Method of Execution (01:47)
A scientist demonstrates the differences between British and American tables that help calculate the length of the hangman's rope. Anatomical variables make it impossible to design a "correct" table of weights relative to rope length.
Execution by Electrocution (04:15)
The electric chair is still available in 10 American states and was last used in 2007. There are no scientific studies on this method of execution. A demonstration on a dead pig shows what happens when 2500 volts course through the pig.
Electric Chair: Torture? (02:42)
It is standard practice to shock an inmate 2 or 3 times to insure death. Improper techniques cause "horrific" burns prior to death. This amounts to torture in some people's opinions.
Death by Cyanide Gas (02:19)
Cyanide gas was used as a killing agent during WWI and again by the Nazis as part of their genocide program. This method of death is available in 5 states in America. The subject dies by asphyxiation. Warning: Graphic animal cruelty.
Gas Chamber: Painful Death (03:12)
Volunteers experience a modified dosage of cyanide gas to determine their ability to breathe slowly and calmly. They find it impossible, a clear indication that inmates suffer pain and anguish during gas asphyxiation.
Euthanasia Studies Reveal Painless Death (02:56)
The film host's study of methods of execution available today leads him to conclude that none of the methods are humane. Studies in animal euthanasia lead scientists to hypoxia as a painless agent of death.
G-Forces and Hypoxia (04:39)
Pilots often experience hypoxia during flight maneuvers. In a human centrifuge, the film host experiences powerful G-forces that bring him to the brink of death by gravity-induced hypoxia.
Oxygen Starvation (03:40)
In an altitude chamber, the film host experiences lack of oxygen to his brain. Oxygen starvation makes him feel "drunk," euphoric, and over-confident. Yet, the more hypoxic he becomes and the nearer to death, the less he cares or notices.
Hypoxia: Perfect Way to Die? (04:26)
Because oxygen starvation brings on euphoria prior to unconsciousness and death, some believe it may be the "perfect" method of execution. It would be painless and emotionally stress-free. Can this method be implemented as a killing mechanism?
Nitrogen: Humane Killing Method (03:57)
Science does provide an answer for a humane method of execution. Gas-induced hypoxia, already used as a humane method for killing animals, has obvious potential for human executions. Death penalty advocates want painful death for inmates.
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