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I would still be opposed to the death penalty if we executed prisoners by tickling them to death.  Now, thanks to Oklahoma's governor rushing an execution, more people now know that "lethal injection" is not as neat and civilized as it sounds, regardless of what you think about the death penalty.  After the recent botched execution of Clayton Lockett, we're learning more about what goes into a condemned person's veins and how it gets there.

Personally, I've never bought the argument that killing people reinforces the concept that killing is wrong.  (Not to mention executing prisoners is expensive and is definitely not a deterrent.)  Seems like no matter how hard we try, we just can't seem to kill people in a moral, efficient way.  Go figure.

Enjoy the cartoon, and be sure to check out some of the links behind the cartoon either in this blog post or in the News Behind the Toons section of my website.

[Pokie the Punisher]

Hi everybody!  You may know me as "Pokie the Punisher," but if you're an inmate who needs to be killed, you know me as "Slashy the Vein-finder" or "Jabby the Screw-up!"

See, everybody makes mistakes-- even good people killing people to show people that killing is wrong!

I'm sure you've heard about the little mishap in Oklahoma, "Oh, man," is right!

But don't worry, that sort of thing is perfectly normal.

It's what happens when you've got a really bad guy, secret, weird and wonderful chemicals mixed together so they kill people, and a governor running for re-election!

I mean, even Bill Clinton took a break from campaigning to go home and kill a prisoner who was missing a chunk of his brain.

"Lethal injection" sounds so civilized and calm, but it's really a lot more fun than that!  Interesting things happen all the time!

Like the other botched execution in Oklahoma just a few months ago!

Some say "botched," I say "creative!"  Oops!

Creative in Oklahoma, Ohio, Florida, Georgia . . .

And sometimes you can't find a vein so I get to poke poke poke poke poke!

And if that doesn't work, just jab 'em in the groin or slice 'em open and find a vein deep in there somewhere.

Then let the mysterious mix of untested chemicals do their thing!

Hey, mistakes happen!

Just ask Oklahoma, who, ah, mistakenly had three innocent people on death row.

Or the 140 others who were mistakenly on death rows across the country!  Oops!  My bad!

But that's the price we have to pay, so we can show people killing is wrong . . . by killing people.

Like, you and you and you and, oops!  And you and you, oops!  And you, oops!

Originally posted to Comics on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Springtime for Hitler (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kingsmeg, Risen Tree

    Not sure this incident isn't too fresh for the victim's family to be treated with humor.  It took some 30 years for Springtime for Hitler--and many survivors were not amused.  Also, Mel Brooks at least is Jewish, is Fiore related to the victim?

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Fri May 09, 2014 at 07:06:38 AM PDT

    •  I don't see this comparison... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Risen Tree, MHB, Joffan

      ...which is, after all, a comparison of the mass murder of well over 6 million human beings who were guilty of nothing other than their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc versus one very nasty excuse for a human being who was subjected to a thoroughly botched execution.  While there have been questions about the guilt of many people who end up on death row, there don't seem to be any questions surrounding the guilt of this particular individual.

      Furthermore, if the purpose of a political cartoon is to get people to think and act on an issue, then now is exactly the time for Fiore to run this cartoon -- the death penalty is a "now" thing in the US and lethal injections continue to be performed.  When the day comes when all of that is in the past, then this cartoon wouldn't really serve much of a purpose.

      Finally, one can't help but note that while the US public did not know that anything was going on while Hitler was busy murdering European Jews (and others).  If a bit of well-placed contemporary satire back then could have opened the publics' eyes to what was going on and actually get some people to give a crap about it, then perhaps some "Springtime for Hitler" type satire might have been both appropriate and useful in, say, 1943.

      If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

      by TexasTom on Fri May 09, 2014 at 10:54:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You misunderstand reasons for death penalty. (0+ / 0-)

      First, it discourages criminals. No one wants to be killed, not even hardened criminals who rule in prison.  
      Second, it guarantees that the criminal will not get to repeat the crime.  
      Third, it gives the families and friends of the victims closure.  
      Has anyone you love been raped and murdered by a multiple offender?  Until that happens, it might be wise not to mouth off too much against the death penalty.  

      •  As unpleasant as the subject is, I have to agree (0+ / 0-)

        I have been victim of some terribly unpleasant things in my life, and I've seen much, much worse in the world around me. One has simply to look at the genocides and "Racial cleansing" ongoing in Africa, or talk to the families of those who were brutally murdered or subjected to other atrocities to know that there are some people who just shouldn't be in this world. Most people who are involved in the investigative side of death penalty cases, the law enforcement and forensics, believe in the death penalty. Because there are butchers, and rapists who subject their victims to the unimaginable, and there are those who kill many or those responsible for the deaths of millions for no reason other than the station of their birth or the color of their skin, and there are people who trade other human beings into living hell, being abused and violated each day. These are people who cannot be rehabilitated, people for whom the ultimate punishment is indeed the only fit punishment.

        For victims of violent sexual assault, waking up every day knowing that their assaulter is still out there, even in prison, can be an unbelievable burden. The depression, the anger and confusion, of how one human being can do that to another, can be unbearable.

        By the tenets of just about every faith, life is sacred. The belief is nearly universal in the human race. I believe it wholeheartedly, as do most people, and its frequently used as an argument against the death penalty. But there are people who violate the sanctity of life so utterly, so thoroughly, that the act of letting them continue to walk the earth, no matter how confined, would itself be a violation of that sanctity.

    •  The victim's family won't change their minds (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kirnerpilstime, MHB

      I would hope that the victim's family would appreciate that people are talking about this barbaric event, even if satirically.  Satire often makes points better than preaching or making reasoned arguments.  Hopefully, this cartoon reaches people and causes them to consider capital punishment in a different light.

      There are many good reasons for abolishing capital punishment, and no good reasons in favor of continuing it.  The US, you know - the pinnacle of civilization, was one of the last civilized countries to abolish slavery, the last to provide comprehensive health care to its citizens, and now one of the last to abolish capital punishment.  I live in a third world country that beat the US to all of these long ago.  Is it any wonder that much of the rest of the world has a low opinion of the US?

  •  That was painful to watch . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, BMScott, TexasTom

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Fri May 09, 2014 at 07:13:42 AM PDT

  •  This cartoon makes a serious point: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, BMScott, meinoregon

    A society that claims itself sophisticated, humane, and "advanced" yet continues to zealously commit the ultimate barbarism, calling it justice, is none of those things.

  •  That is the best illustration... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DerAmi, meinoregon

    of the truth behind Capital Punishment or The Death Penalty, I've seen to date. The reality of a barbaric law shown in Looney-Tune fashion so that everyone, even the lowest of low information types whose heads are solidly in the ground, will understand. Here’s hoping it will open an eye or two!

    Death Penalty IMHO!

    A search for truth will find injustice!

    by thinkingblue on Fri May 09, 2014 at 07:34:05 AM PDT

    •  PS: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      meinoregon

      I YOU MARK FIORE!

      A search for truth will find injustice!

      by thinkingblue on Fri May 09, 2014 at 07:38:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i agree... (0+ / 0-)

      ...as an artist, mark has done his job: feelings have been stirred, and he has generated conversation - whether it be pro, con, or preaching to the choir.

      i found "creative execution" funny & as well as rude, without having to reference a "springtime for hitler" analogy.

      this is now, and this is what we are doing, and will continue-- until it's stopped.

      "...upon the instruments of death, the sunlight brightly gleams..." p. sinfield
  •  The death penalty is acceptable (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kingsmeg, a2nite, snwflk

    to immoral people.

    This better be good. Because it is not going away.

    by DerAmi on Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:21:01 AM PDT

  •  Americans are the New Romans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, enhydra lutris, Risen Tree

    They LOVE their public executions. Especially the 'Christians'. Forgiveness? We don't need no steenkin' forgiveness...

    I'm so old, I remember the years when America briefly retained its sanity and joined the vast majority of civilized industrialized nations in rendering the death penalty un-constitutional. IIRC, I also remember what brought it back so quickly--a California referendum submitted to voters within WEEKS of the SCOTUS decision, and within two years was UPHELD by the SCOTUS.

    Can't keep Americans from killing. It's a national tradition.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:29:00 AM PDT

    •  It's what makes us so EXCEPTIONAL. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris, Risen Tree

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:30:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The referendum was in 1972. The reinstatement... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      ...was in 1976. By then, 37 states had rewritten statutes or amended their constitutions.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:44:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No we're not... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      At least the Romans didn't expect the citizens of Rome to give up things that better their lives to pay for their empire--like we do here in the USA with HUGE out of control military budgets with proposals to cut things like Social Security, Medicare/aid, education, health, etc.

      Instead, if the Romans were us today, the Germans, the Japanese, Afghans, etc., would all be forced to pay an American tax for our military presence and protection. In the USA, they want US to pay for it. Indeed, we are an empire without any of the perks of being an empire.

      •  Nice OT response (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snwflk

        A Republican President began our global empire in 1898, and millions of outraged Americans at that time identified it and protested it as such. We are still well on that track, by a back road, distracted by propaganda. The people of Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia know only too well that we have empirically exploited their resources, not for the citizens of America, but multi-national corporations, for nearly a century.

        And the history of Rome is rife with examples of crushing taxes on its own citizens to pay for their military conquests, reinforcements and uprisings, and even mad delusional Emperor's escapades.

        It may be that we are in agreement in general, but this response just didn't sound like it.

        "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

        by DaddyO on Fri May 09, 2014 at 09:22:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  CO2 (0+ / 0-)

    While I do not support the death penalty, at all, I think a less inhumane method would be to use concentrated CO2.  Turns out it has an anesthetic effect:
    Per Wiki..

    As with many gas killing systems, CO2 partly acts by displacing oxygen so the brain cannot function and brain death ensues. However, CO2 also has a direct anaesthetic effect which results in loss of consciousness more quickly than with some other low oxygen gas mixtures such as argon and nitrogen mixtures.
    Plus, we certainly have an ample supply of it.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Fri May 09, 2014 at 08:46:03 AM PDT

    •  Not enough suffering involved for 'conservatives' (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, tle, snwflk

      Now, crucifixion...THERE'S a death penalty for ya. Or maybe AR-15. Plenty of color for all those snuff videos.

      "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

      by DaddyO on Fri May 09, 2014 at 09:25:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  BBC Horizon (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tle, Risen Tree, Joffan, snwflk

      did a documentary "How to Kill a Human Being" (available for viewing on YouTube) with former former Conservative MP Michael Portillo as presenter, in which Portillo undergoes a first-hand experience with hypoxia under controlled conditions in a military altitude training chamber.  He was one happy feller just before the technicians restored his oxygen supply.  He was also seconds from death.  Portillo offers hypoxia as a "humane" method of execution.  Amazingly (or maybe not so much), American Professor Robert Blecker, a super-pro-death penalty advocate, is horrified at the notion of a person being "euphoric" while being executed.  He wants the condemned to suffer while being killed (and it would seem the more suffering, the better).

      The hypocrisy of killing to show killing is wrong staggers me.  Even more staggering are those (like Blecker) who think "justice" is only served when execution is carried out in a manner in which the condemned is fully aware, and I presume, in great pain.

      Yuch.

      •  Exactly right. (0+ / 0-)

        Well, only the 2nd Amendment still applies.  Those other amendments are so 20th century, ya know.  The very idea that the U. S. Constitution would ban cruel punishment is anathema to a disgustingly large number of people.

        I find that, if I place myself in the role of judge or jury,  passionate thoughts of vengeance are superceded by the pressure of a weighty responsibilty.  I wish more people would exercise their imagination and consider the overall situation.

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Fri May 09, 2014 at 09:59:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  High CO2 is a signal for panic breathing (0+ / 0-)

      Better is nitrogen. We breathe that all the time, of course - it's 78% of the air - so there's no adverse effect to 100% nitrogen. Well, except death, if you don't revert to air within a couple of minutes.

      I don't support the death penalty either, but I do support well-controlled elective suicide, and nitrogen asphyxiation seems like one of the best methods.

      This is not a sig-line.

      by Joffan on Fri May 09, 2014 at 03:29:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd much rather it be like this. (0+ / 0-)

        Discussing the least painful alternative is a lot better than seeking the most malevolently cruel technique.  Of course, like many of us here, I'd rather it not be a point of discussion at all.

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Sun May 11, 2014 at 11:59:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I can't get my mind around this cartoon. (0+ / 0-)

    My sense of outrage is going "d00d wtf?" because of the happy little cartoon guy.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Fri May 09, 2014 at 12:19:10 PM PDT

  •  For more ghoulish reflections (0+ / 0-)

    on ways people have executed people over the years:

    Top 10 Gruesome Methods of Execution

    Still doesn't include many other extremely unpleasant alternatives like stoning, pressing and impaling.

    This is not a sig-line.

    by Joffan on Fri May 09, 2014 at 03:42:49 PM PDT

  •  The death penalty isn't much of a penalty anyway (0+ / 0-)

    Honestly, we'll all die: you, me, EVERYONE. Statistically, someone reading this site today won't make it to see tomorrow's sunset. At best, we can say that we're killing them earlier than they otherwise would meet their death. At best, from a punishment point of view, we could say that we are making them bear the curse of the Cyclops, who gave up their eyes to see the future, but the only event they could see was their own death.

    No, I say let them live the rest of their lives behind bars, subject to the crushing boredom and terrible living and social conditions inherent in prison. Make sure they know they'll never breathe free air again. THAT, my fellow Kossacks, is a punishment.

    Besides, if it turns out we put them there by mistake then we can always set them free. We've not learned how to bring the dead back yet.

    •  Not mention how ecstatic it makes (0+ / 0-)

      the Jan Brewers of this world when they get to fill their private prisons with children who get life without possibility of parole!

      If you teach your child only one thing, let it be kindness through example.

      by Nodin on Sat May 10, 2014 at 02:26:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's not forget ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MHB

    ... that the victim in this piece is not the killer who was executed. The victim was the 19-year-old girl he raped and buried alive, so she died a slow, torturous death, in terror and in agony.

    Karma can sometimes be a raging bitch, can't she?

  •  Kill more murderer's not less (0+ / 0-)

    This is fucking bullshit. It costs more to keep these scum alive and in prison for life than it does to kill them. I'm sick and tired of all this molly coddling of psychotic murderer's.

  •  Why not the same as with beloved pets? (0+ / 0-)

    The difficulty of "properly" killing someone is the absolute least compelling argument against the death penalty.  

    I know it's no picnic to hold your beloved but suffering pet while a vet puts it "to sleep," but for the love of dog how hard would it be to end a murdering scumbag's life the same way?  

    Or just gas him with CO.  And that's Carbon Monoxide, not Colorado cannabis vapor.  

  •  I'm a liberal who supports the death penalty (0+ / 0-)

    I feel that there are some people where the evidence and their admissions makes it clear that they are guilty. They should be put to death for their cruel and unusual crimes. And the hell with their comfort or dignity.

    But I also support reforms to capital death trials to eliminate the uncertainty of guilty verdicts. If there is even a question of uncertainty then I'd support life without parole if found guilty by the preponderance of evidence.

    I'm also a gun owning liberal who would not hesitate to kill someone who threatened me or my family with deadly force.

  •  Not to mention the large number of innocent... (0+ / 0-)

    people put to death.  But old white conservatives think it is OK to execute innocent people as long as they can vent their righteous rage of retribution on someone.  Of course if they were strapped to the chair well that might be wrong.

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