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Five Death Penalty Alternatives That Are Vastly Superior to Lethal Injection

By Jared Jones

The botched execution of Clayton Lockett that took place in Oklahoma on Tuesday has raised a heap of (faux) outrage and (momentary) concerns about the state of capital punishment in America. News anchors, Europeans and Twitter users nationwide took to the Internets and Youtubes to lament Lockett’s passing with RIP hashtags and cries of reform, all while conveniently eschewing the reasons Lockett was being executed to begin with: for kidnapping, sexually assaulting, shooting, and then burying a 19-year-old woman alive among many other horrific things. But please, let’s all continue to mourn the rapist-murderer who met his end in the most karmatic way imaginable. (*wipes away fake tear*)

In any case, the half-hour of excruciating pain Lockett suffered on account of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary’s incompetence begs the question: Are there any better, more badass ways to end the lives of convicted scumbags out there? Upon doing a little research, I think I’ve come up with a few alternatives…

#1: Bullet

According to Wikipedia, a bullet is “a projectile propelled by a firearm, sling, or air gun.” According to the studies I’ve recently conducted on stray cats that roam my neighborhood, a bullet also has a 95% success rate in humanely and immediately ending the life of its target when its enters through the skull. And if that scientific fact hasn’t sold you on this recently-developed, groundbreaking technology, maybe the fact that the average bullet costs .00000036 times as much to make as the chemicals necessary to administer a lethal injection will! Everybody wins! (Even Clayton Lockett, who would have been separated from this mortal coil almost instantaneously had a bullet been used. Not that he would have earned such a privilege.)

#2: Pressing

The method of execution popularized during the Salem Witch Trials may seem barbaric to the untrained eye, or even to the trained eye, but it’s effectiveness cannot be denied. Simplicity is key here folks; all you need is a bunch of things that collectively weigh more than the condemned convicted individual, and time. Time, something Stephanie Neiman probably wished she had more of while she was being buried alive. Alive, something Clayton Lockett would most certainly not be when the Oklahoma State Penitentiary was finished peeling him off a dirty prison cell floor with a spatula after he had been pressed.

#3: Keelhauling


(An artist’s depiction of what the keelhauling of Clayton Lockett might have looked like circa 1500.)

Originally used as a method of punishment in the Dutch Navy, keelhauling typically involved a boat, a rope, and a barnacle-induced decapitation. Perhaps I should clarify: You see, if you were a sailor in 1500′s Holland who had committed an atrocity punishable by death, you were not granted the honor of walking off a plank into shark infested waters like the miscreants of days past. Rather, you were “tied to a line that looped beneath the vessel, thrown overboard on one side of the ship, and dragged under the ship’s keel, either from one side of the ship to the other, or the length of the ship.” If you weren’t lucky enough to be torn apart or beheaded by the barnacles that lined the bottom of said ship, you would survive just long enough to watch a passing barracuda nibble on your nether-regions before you drowned.

Basically, keelhauling was the precursor to the dragging deaths we hear of in the news every few years (mainly in Texas. Way to go, Texas), and I can think of no more fitting a death for Clayton Lockett, who again, buried a 19-year-old-woman alive after sexually assaulting her and shooting her in the face. Except maybe perhaps…

#4: The Judas Cradle

Lockett: “So I’m thinking of breaking into this guy’s house, kidnapping him, and possibly killing anyone that should be unfortunate enough to pass by the situation as it’s in progess.”

Accomplice: “Sounds like a plan. I just hope we don’t get caught on account of that new Judas Cradle law and all.”

Lockett: “What’s that now?”

Accomplice: “Oh, it’s just this new thing where if you get convicted of Murder 1, they suspend your body in mid-air before lowering you down anus-first onto a metal pyramid, until you are either impaled or die from the infection of having your butt ripped apart.”

Lockett: “I…I think I’m just gonna continue watching TV.” (*changes channel*)

#5: Scaphism

Clayton Lockett told police that he decided to kill Stephanie Neiman “because she would not agree to keep quiet,” even after watching one of Lockett’s accomplices spend 20 minutes digging the shallow grave that she would eventually be buried alive in. I cannot begin to imagine what it’s like to literally stare impending death in the face for that long a period, but had Mr. Lockett been condemned to a death via scaphism, perhaps he would have gained some perspective in this regard.

Scaphism (or “the boats”) is every bit as nasty as it sounds: The perpetrator is stripped naked and placed inside two rowing boats (or a hollowed out tree trunk) with only their arms and legs protruding. After being force fed a mixture of milk and honey until they BM’d, the perpetrator’s extremities would be covered in milk and honey before they were placed in a stagnant pond and essentially left to rot. Over the days/weeks that followed, the insects would feast on and eventually breed within the perpetrator’s flesh while they were still alive. Worse yet, the individual would be fed the honey-milk mixture daily in order to prolong the torture and prevent them from succumbing to the effects of sweet, blissful dehydration.

The first recorded instance of scaphism occurred in 401 BC after Mithridates, a particularly brash soldier in the army of king Artaxerxes II, got drunk off his ass at a dinner banquet and claimed to have killed Cyrus the Younger, a Persian prince and general who had died in the Battle of Cunaxa attempting to oust his brother Artaxerxes from the Persian throne. This did not sit well with the king, who, being the king and all, wanted sole credit for the death of his rival brother. Long story short, Mithridates spent 17 days being slowly eaten alive by worms and maggots while wasps turned his bunghole into a hive.

So yeah, perhaps scaphism is a little too brutal for even the likes of Clayton Lockett. The fear of possibly being sentenced to death via scaphism, however, seems like a hell of a crime deterrent, if you ask me.

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