Sunday, December 30, 2012

find this shocking?

How disturbing is the electric chair?
Ohio's electric chair was active between 1897 and 1963. Ohio was the second state to get one, it was officially retired in 2001. Three hundred and twelve people were executed in this chair of applied electricity. Notice the copper butt plate. Public viewing of the chair was curtailed in the 1930s. It was first put back for view in 2011, in Columbus. It has been in Cleveland this year. It has an extended visit at Cleveland's Police Museum (inside the 'Justice Center'). Most state authorities like to call the object 'Old Sparky', and they have a common appearance (similar to an un-unapolstered dentist's chair). In Alabama it is painted with yellow road marking paint, hence 'Yellow Mama'. 

In general, the adoption of its use was predicated as an improvement over hanging. Since the re-introduction of the death penalty in the US, it has been mostly replaced by drug injections. Often, the argument is the introduction of newer methods are of humanitarian considerations. It is advance of technology that is called 'progress'.

The creation of the electric chair was involved in the battle between Edison and Westinghouse over direct and alternating current. Edison and J.P. Morgan ($$$) wanted to make Westinghouse and alternating current look dangerous. Edison was against capital punishment, but pro-profit.  A series of animals were publicly executed to demonstrate the danger of AC. New York adopted the method, that Edison called 'Westinghousing'. The first electric chair was built by an Edison employee. Westinghouse tried to stop the first execution. The first electrocution by a state electrician of a man was in 1890. It was gruesomely bungled. George Westinghouse was a witness, "They would have done better using an axe."

The electric chair is almost exclusively an American phenomena. The United States imposed it in the Philippines in 1926, it was lastly used in 1976. In 2006 capital punishment was abolished. To-day, only six states in the American south still have it as a regular option, two have it as a suppositional option.
...I don't want to spend no
Ninety-nine years in jail
So judge, judge, good kind judge
Send me to the 'lectric chair 

— George Brooks
— sung by Bessie Smith 1927

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