WATCH: The First Amendment Challenge to the Death Penalty

Do states have the right to conceal the details of how executions are carried out?


This story was first published on March 6, 2015. Here's the original writeup:

Americans may shudder at the barbarity depicted in videos showing public executions by the governments of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China, but the fact remains that alone among all Western countries, the United States is a death penalty country.

Though the death penalty is legal in the majority of American states, only a handful of them actually carry out executions, numbering in the few dozens annually. Part of the reason the American public maintains a steadfast support of its government killing convicted murderers is due to the cloak of secrecy covering executions and the fact that the most common form of execution, lethal injection, is sold to the public as a medical procedure, akin to putting a sick animal to sleep.

But a series of botched executions in 2014 have exposed a problem largely unknown to the American public: The drugs used for lethal injections are experimental, untested, and proving to be ineffective at killing prisoners without excruciating pain. Just last week, the execution of a woman in Georgia was halted hours before it was scheduled to take place because one of the drugs appeared "cloudy." The last thing the state of Georgia wanted was to join the list of states making a mess of killing people. 

"Since the 70s, America has tried to sanitize the way it kills people in death chambers by saying that this is an act of medical intervention," says Ed Pilkington, chief reporter for The Guardian US. He adds:

By using pharmaceutical drugs to do the killing, they're implying that this process is painless, it's humane, it's very civilized. They've used that as a way of undermining resistance. But now we're seeing pharmaceutical companies, the European Union, interest groups, protest groups, all saying, "Hang on, this is wrong. Medical drugs are created to save lives, to make people's health better, they are not created to kill people."

Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, says skepticism of lethal injection is "not driven by sympathy for the defendants, who committed terrible crimes," but rather, "(the public) doesn't want hear gruesome facts," such as prisoners writhing in agony while strapped to a gurney as their loved ones watch.

Faced with a European Union ban on selling drugs used in lethal injections, death penalty states now rely on compounding pharmacies. These are typically small businesses who produce execution cocktails to order. These compounds are unregulated by the FDA, and their manufacturers are cloaked in secrecy. 

"The Most Visceral Form of Censorship"

Oklahoma is one of the states which relies on compounding pharmacies, and when Clayton Lockett was executed by the state in April 2014, the procedure was anything but quick and painless. It took 43 minutes from the time the first needle was inserted in Lockett's arm for him to die. 

Pilkington describes the scene, as related to him by a Guardian colleague who witnessed Lockett's execution:

He was groaning, he was shouting out. They were finding it impossible to get the vein, so blood was spurting over all the people in the death chamber, I mean it was the most horrendous situation. And right at that moment they decided to shut the curtain, which would prevent any witnesses, including reporters, from seeing what happened.

Pilkington calls this the "most visceral form of censorship" and says "with something as serious as the wielding of state power to kill somebody, there should be maximum transparency," rather than the current system of complete secrecy surrounding every step of the execution process, from the sources of the drugs themselves to the grisly reality when those drugs fail to kill the condemned in a timely and painless fashion. 

Missouri is one of 13 states to have expanded what are known as "black hood laws," which are meant to protect the identities of executioners, to now also make confidential everyone involved in the production and delivery of lethal injection drugs. These laws even supersede the Freedom of Information Act.

In response, The Guardian, Associated Press, and several prominent Missouri newspapers have filed suit against the state, in what is believed to be the First Amendment challenge to the death penalty. The lawsuit argues the public has a First Amendment right to access all information pertaining to government activities in capital cases, beginning in the courtroom, through the death chamber, and into the autopsy room. No court date has been set. 

The increased difficulty for death penalty states to procure lethal injection drugs has led to some anti-death penalty politicians, like Virgina's Governor Terry McAuliffe, to support increased secrecy for lethal injections because the alternative would be to bring back grislier forms of executions, like the firing squad, which Utah is considering, or even the gas chamber, which Missouri is contemplating.

Death penalty states have argued that compounding pharmacies would cease to provide lethal injection drugs if their names were to be made public because it is a very small part of their business and, as Dieter says, "they're not in the business of perfecting executions." Dieter compares these pharmacies to contstruction companies contracted by the government to build bridges. If the bridge fell, the public would demand the right to know who was responsible. He argues that the same level of transparency should apply to executions, especially when they are "botched."

Using the First Amendment to Fight for Eighth Amendment Rights

Following the lead of the Missouri lawsuit, death row inmates in several states have filed suit on the grounds that the drugs they are to be killed with may violate their Eighth Amendment rights prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. One of these suits was thrown out by a federal judge in Ohio last month. While explaining his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Gregory L. Frost conceded the "Kafkaesque absurdity" of denying inmates the right to "challenge the use of a drug that will be used to execute them," while noting that the information regarding the drug is denied to them (italics in original):

In execution protocol challenges, the law tells death-sentenced inmates to bring evidence into the courtroom while concurrently upholding a scheme that places the bulk of select evidence outside the reach of the inmates. The necessary is also the withheld: you must give us that which you cannot have to give. In order to challenge the use of a drug that will be used to execute them, inmates must explain why use of that drug presents a risk of substantial harm. But the inmates are not allowed to know from where the drug came, how specifically it was manufactured, or who was involved in the creation of the drug. This means the inmates can attempt to complain about the reliability of the drug without being afforded the information that would place the drug into a context in which the inmates and by extension the courts can evaluate the reliability based on more than impermissible speculation or perhaps unwarranted assumptions.

"There can't be anything as important as the state killing someone," says Ed Pilkington, "Going back to these methods that are very hard to describe as civilized or painless or humane: firing squad, electric chair, or the gas chamber, which has ramifications of what happened in Germany in the 1940s is pretty chilling. I think it becomes much more difficult to put up this facade that the death penalty is not causing anybody discomfort."

Despite the potential of a return to grislier methods of executions, the illusory civility of lethal injection is likely to remain the norm as long as the death penalty is practiced in the U.S. Regarding continued efforts to shield the public from the reality of state executions, Pilkington says, "if people aren't prepared to see what's being done in their name then perhaps they shouldn't be doing it."

About 5.45 minutes.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher. 

Camera by Josh Swain and Fisher. Graphics by Jason Keisling. Additional assistance by Robert Mariani.

Music: "FOUR YEARS EXACTLY" by Jared C. Balogh (

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  1. Why don’t we put them on an altar made of law books and Supreme Court decisions and have a priest cut their heart out and devour it in the name of the blindfolded Goddess of Justice?

    1. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do

  2. Put me down as firmly opposing the D/P as I’m not willing to turn over that sort of power to the state, but:

    “But now we’re seeing pharmaceutical companies, the European Union, interest groups, protest groups, all saying, “Hang on, this is wrong. Medical drugs are created to save lives, to make people’s health better, they are not created to kill people.”

    I have a feeling at least some of the people protesting under this umbrella are equally in favor of ‘assisted suicide’, and like it or not, some of the drugs are indeed used that way

    1. I’m also entirely confused as to why anybody would give a single shit about what the European Union thinks. Excepting the United Nations and the NKVD, it’s mankind’s most abysmal institution since… ever.

      1. Agreed and who exactly is The EU? Is it the bureaucrats when they’re in Strasbourg?

        1. Pretty much. Europeans generally collectivize themselves into subservient ethnic or national groups and identify themselves by their governments.

    2. Medical drugs are created to save lives make a profit.


      1. God Willing. I’d like to own an island before I’m 40.

        1. … and slaves to staff it, I’m sure. You don’t want to lose your honorary monocle, do you?

          1. I like to do the dirty work myself

  3. I’ve never understood the preoccupation people have with sanitizing unpleasant processes esthetically, as if doing so somehow alleviates their moral, or practical, gravity. I propose that shooting a man in the head is infinitely simpler, more humane, and less painful than annihilating his internal functions with a mixture of poisons and watching him fade away.

    If an individual commits a crime heinous enough to warrant execution, grow some balls, quit being a population of whiny bitches, and effect the execution cleanly and quickly — by, say, hanging, or firing squad. Lethal injection is retarded.

    1. You are right. Lethal injection is slow, error-prone, and can be very painful. The electric chair and hanging (provided the victim drops from a height so that he dies of cervical dislocation rather than strangulation) are much superior: quick, easy, and painless.

  4. Considering the whole assisted suicide industry as noted above, why not use the same drugs in DP?

    If there is one thing medical science is clearly capable of without any doubt, it’s putting people ‘under’ via anesthesia and then offing then w/o pain

    Anesthesia works

    Btw, Ferguson mother keeping it classy!!

    Article assumes pro DP people would be anti if only they knew…

    Highly suspect assertion

    1. Are you ready to be vetted?

      I actually thought the real Dunphy made a contribution to this community. That was a long time ago, though.

      This troll bullshit is so tiresome.

      Prove that you’re Dunphy or fuck off.

      You know my history. You know that I have the means to verify what you say. Prove that you’re not a troll. Or. Fuck. Off.

      1. I care

        Remember, most of the time here people have claimed I wasn’t a cop

        From the very beginning

        Plus ca change
        Believe what you want

        I could not care less


        I will continue to spanx the ignorant on co law, crimlaw, procedure, Garrity, bifurcated invests, the difference between admin leave (been there many times) and suspension etc


        1. This is exactly what I expected, Tulpa.

          It would be so easy to prove, but you can’t.

          The ever changing handles, the HTH, and the SMOOCHES. This is junior HS level performance art. Give it up.

          1. yawn

            Tulsa has never demonstrated const law or crimlaw spankshe

            I have

            The ignorati STILL don’t understand garrity, let alone Connor

            Spare me

            1. Dude, I have a CLETS terminal in my house. Prove yourself. Be as cryptic as you want.

              You can jump around google all you want, but you aren’t fooling anybody.

        2. That’s just fine. Where I’m from, it’s pretty much a minor incident akin to taking a shit on a public sidewalk to shoot a cop who’s doing something violent to you. Thank God for the South.

          1. Stat speaking, South is substantially more violent in regards to OIS

            how refreshing to see a valid point made


            1. If you’re Dunphy, you’re some self-entitled Yankee transplant, and a power-abusing cop fuck. If you’re Tulpa, you’re a cocktail statist. Either way, you’re not too popular, son.

              What I sure as shit don’t need is some Yankee cop telling me what the South is like. Take a trip down to eastern Dixie and try your shit. I dare you.

  5. Social studies teacher asks 14 y/o students to analyze an anti-racist cartoon from 1874. Repeat, *anti-racist.*

    Parents freak out. One of them says it’s like teaching sex ed by showing porno.

    In the article, an image of a lynching in the cartoon is blurred out. But the reader is given an option: “(Click here to see the full, unedited image. Warning: Some may find the image disturbing)”…../70238942/

    1. The full, uncensored image:…..jpeg-2.jpg

    2. It’s desirable for our children to be cowardly, craven, uneducated, awkward, hypersensitive, morally and logically retarded, and developmentally stunted. Censor the shit out of what they learn about the world around them, and of its history. That shit’ll teach them far too much, and that may incite suspicion as to our fucked up, dumbfuck worldviews and sensibilities.

      John Kerry 2016! RUBBERIZED PLAYGROUNDS!

      /Liberal parent.

      1. Rubberized life

      2. The school decided to replace the cartoon with another Thomas Nast cartoon which they hope will be less offensive:…..tml?page=1

        1. /no, not really

        2. The principal’s first and sole reaction to the parents who complained should have been, “Fuck off.”

        3. Cue PJ ORourke…

    3. One of my friends was teaching a US history course in college and showed a couple of racist cartoons from the 19th century to demonstrate some of the politics of the period. African-American student complained to the department chair about the “racism” in the class. Can’t remember the exact outcome but he still has his job so assuming nothing too drastic.

      1. Hypersensitive retards come in all ethnicities and colors.

      2. “OK, class, in the 19th century we had the Civil War, when Northerners and Southerners, white people and black people, were like this:”

        1. No, too depressing, more like this:

  6. Biggest lie of 2014 – hands up, don’t shoot

    I said it then. I say it now


    and the latest polling data shows american people still love cops!!!!!!

    Cop haters niche minority

    1. Weakest troll ever

      1. Three posts, and I’m already shit-tired of him. Zoloft must be in short supply this time of month.

    2. It didn’t take me long to suspect that there wasn’t nearly enough evidence to convict Officer Wilson, and that he sure looks innocent compared to Brown. I was also skeptical of that shooting in Montana where an inquest jury exonerated the cop.

      The thing is, the social-justice crowd doesn’t focus on *real* police abuse, except by accident, only cases they have an opportunity to exploit.

      Now as to Eric Garner, my first reaction was that it’s just the cops doing their job, enforcing a retarded cigarette tax. But now the NYPD announced they will de-emphasize the enforcement of those kids of laws. To which my response is, you mean they could have chosen *not* to have a violent confrontation over cigarette tax evasion? So my sympathy went down several notches.

      And there’s the wrong-door raids, the burn baby burn, and other abuses. If the public puts up with that sort of thing, the public is taking itself down the road to serfdom.

      1. “skeptical of that shooting in Montana” = skeptical of Reason’s coverage

        1. the ‘violent confrontation’ aspect is entirely the subject, not the cops fault

          You resist, we press!!!!


          To do otherwise creates perverse incentives

          We will never incentivise people to NOT COMPLY/to resist

          We get paid to win

          It doesn’t matter if the offense is chippy

          If it’s an infraction, I can demand name etc

          And I, nor will any real cop, accept no for an answer

          Yes the cigarette stuff is bullshit chippy crap

          But the issue is if a cop is investigating, ‘sorry I’m not going to comply’ when that means providing name etc for civil infraction ain’t going to fly

          And the ONLY person to blame for violence is the resister

          I can say that with ZERO excessive force complaints

          We don’t get paid to accept that shit

          1. I think you missed my point – the NYPD decided it *didn’t* have to enforce petty infractions, meaning they say they don’t have to make the initial contact at all.

            So if that had, from the beginning, the discretion to ignore this “chippy crap,” but they chose to enforce it anyway, yeah, some of that is on them.

            1. Don’t waste your time.

              1. The specific point he made was worth engaging, there’s plenty of people who share his views.

                Sometimes a commenter goes off the rails, and I respond accordingly. If they make a useful, debatable point, I respond accordingly.

            2. if *they* had, from the beginning…

            3. I’m intrigued by the NYPD’s slowdown strike. “You civilians don’t support us? Well, then, we’ll stop hassling you over petty offenses, and see how you like it!”

          2. This is a troll, Ladies and Gentlemen. Do not feed him.

            And, to be honest, he ranks somewhere below Tony in troll abilities. He’s just not very good at it.

            1. It’s a perverse sort of draw that drives people to respond to pricks like him, and that includes me. I’m trying to resist.

          3. Somewhere, a pharmacy is overflowing with anti-psychotic medication. You haven’t picked up your prescriptions in weeks, obviously.

          4. You work for me; you’re society’s janitor. Get over on aisle 6 and mop the floor. Shut up and I don’t want to hear any noise about you winning.
            Fuck you.

            1. I do work for you

              Thanks for 6 figures

              And I also give thanks to the cops that Have abused my rights because as I said anybody who thinks it’s hard in this country to sue police is a fucking moron and both myself and my union have made great strides in that respect

              1. The artist known Dunphy|3.14.15 @ 9:08PM|#
                “Thanks for 6 figures”

                I’m sorry you’re overpaid. I’ll see what I can do to fix that.
                Now, shut up and mop up that aisle.

      2. The sorts of powers, official and simply de facto, law enforcement personnel in this country exercise daily are an absolute abomination. 99% of what your average cop does in the line of duty isn’t permissible in a moral society.

        1. lol

          Setting aside I have complete confidence you have no idea what the average cop does 40% of his shift let alone 99%

          Do a ride along
          Educate yourself

          Part of the reason I became a cop was how ridealongs taught me the truth vs the media bullshit and the nobility and beauty of the job

          1. Nobility? That’s so Tulpical.

            1. Of the dozens of cops I’ve had extensive dealings with throughout my life, two were decent enough to be considered something better than awful.

              1. I’m sure there’s a handful. I mean, statistically speaking there’s got to be a few that simply fell in with the wrong crowd and haven’t been corrupted…yet.

          2. “Part of the reason I became a cop was how ridealongs taught me the truth vs the media bullshit and the nobility and beauty of the job”

            You’re a goddam janitor.

            1. He’s not anything. It’s a troll.

    3. Biggest slaver of 2014 -The asshat known Dunphy

      He believes that simply answering your door at 3am with a gun in your hand should be a death warrant.

  7. Er, doesn’t the public actually support the death penalty? Even in Europe, where it’s not allowed.
    If companies don’t want to sell drugs to do it, I say shoot them by firing squad. The only people really in an uproar about the death penalty are liberals (who don’t mind abortion) and cosmotarians (who also don’t mind abortion)

    The only qualms about the death penalty from a libertarian viewpoint is that there’s no recourse if the victim is innocent, and thus should only be used when guilt is overwhelming and/or in the case of multiple murder. (Serial killers most notably)

    1. Yep. Aversion to executing the animals in our midst perplexes me.

      1. Fiscal.

        It costs far more to put a man on death row and execute him (or not) than it does to put him in gen pop and keep him there until he dies.

        1. mad libertarian guy|3.14.15 @ 11:47PM|#
          It costs far more to put a man on death row and execute him (or not) than it does to put him in gen pop and keep him there until he dies.”

          True, but it’s only a result of the whining.
          I’m sticking with denying the state the ability to off someone. The state is not smart enough to spend money, so there’s no way the state is smart enough to kill people.

    2. JeremyR|3.14.15 @ 9:03PM|#
      “Er, doesn’t the public actually support the death penalty?”

      Could be; it seems to be sort of cyclical, but even if ‘the public’ does, it’s no excuse to hand over more power to the state.

    3. doesn’t the public actually support the death penalty?

      And – if true – that matters, why, exactly? “The public” support all kinds of things that you may or may not like.

      The only people really in an uproar about the death penalty are liberals (who don’t mind abortion) and cosmotarians (who also don’t mind abortion)

      “Guilt by association” – liberals bad ? liberals are against the dealth penalty ? death penalty good. That’s some first-class reasoning.

  8. People are missing the point individual cops decide or not decide to enforce all kinds of discretionary stuff all the time the point is that given the decision to investigate anything no matter how minor I do not know any cop that will accept resistance if I am investigating infraction I can demand name or ID and I will get it or the person will go to jail and yet that final option is necessary in less than 1% of these encounters because if you treat people with dignity and respect and you some basic verbal judo you almost always get compliance no matter how grudging

    It does not matter how shitty the offence is if it’s an infraction I can demand ID and I will do so IF investigating

    With the understanding that so Often we know the players anyway and that we don’t need to demand ID because we know who we are talking to – the street remains the same

    1. This is troll bait. Do not feed the troll. DO NOT FEED THE TROLL.

      1. Correct; sorry.

      2. You got to give him credit though his posts seem perfectly worded to piss people off. Either he is a troll, or just a complete dumbass who is hurting his own cause everytime he types a letter. The smart thing to do would be to ignore him.

        1. That’s the point. The original Dunphy had an unpalatable message, but he delivered it graciously, and avoided being a dick. The new variations of the Dunphy handle, which appear to change monthly, are intended to piss people off.

          1. This. I could tolerate the real Dunphy, though we disagreed almost always. This is a fucking shitbag imoster.

    2. Sigh…

      “given the decision to investigate anything no matter how minor I do not know any cop that will accept resistance”

      Which doesn’t address what the NYPD is doing, i.e., *not* investigating certain things.

      Before that, I would have accepted the “we just have to enforce the law even if we disagree with it” schtick. After their slowdown strike, that defense just doesn’t seem credible.

    3. You can’t spell “The artist known Dunphy” without “we shit on truth”.

      1. ?

        Are you insulting yourself? Or are you a regular poster using a troll handle who forgot to change? Either way, get a hobby.

  9. Again The polling data proves my point . THE PUBLIC THE PEOPLE THE Public does recognise THE NOBILITY OF THOSE that choose to serve as peace officers and you guys can wanker you want but the reality with most of persons in this country respect the police and I love it and you hate it

    We get props

    You get nothing


    1. Still waiting on the challenge, “Officer”.

      You clearly haven’t been in a briefing room in the last year, have you?

      Every PD in the US is on high alert. None of this “we’re winning” bullshit. Yes, most of it is the fault of the legislature. But nobody who has set foot on the street wearing a badge in the last 12 months would say what you’re saying.

      You’re full of shit.

      1. People who have to constantly tell themselves “we’re winning” probably aren’t. He’s probably just a troll saying something stupid to get a reaction, or someone who is retarded enough to sincerely believe in what he is saying. Either way there isn’t much point in talking to it.

    2. There’s good cops, there’s bad cops, and there’s clock-punching cops. Far be it from me to generalize about all cops.

      But just as you deal with misbehaving “civilians” without (I presume) hating on the entire “civilian” population, it’s possible to get mad at misbehaving cops without hating on all of them.

      In fact, by your account you’ve confronted bad cops, and of course you love to hate on cops above a certain supervisory rank.

      So it seems you’re a bit of a cop-hater yourself.

      1. You are wasting your time on a troll. It’s not Dunphy

        1. I really don’t care if he’s dunphy or tulpa or Baron von Munchausen. When he says the kind of yay-cops stuff that you get in the general public, it’s worth engaging.

          When he goes off the rails, I show him the bacon videos.

          1. It’s applewood bacon time

            1. Scratch that. Sugar cured maple bacon.

            2. The local Whole Foods has a thick applewood bacon, and when tomatoes are in season, you can make a BLT that will stay in your memory.

        2. You are wasting your time on a troll. It’s not Dunphy Eddie.

    3. You can’t spell “The artist known Dunphy” without “we shit on truth”.

  10. You devolve to the meta

    But the reality is in the principle

    We are winning

    The vast majority knows that guck stain got legitimately shot in Ferguson

    The vast majority support us

    While you make dumb ineffective dog shooting jokes

    1. D-. Find a new hobby. This isn’t even grade school level performance art.

    2. You can’t spell “The artist known Dunphy” without “we shit on truth”.

      1. I wasn’t expecting you to do my homework for me.

        1. Ah, ah, PM. No feeding.

  11. Here’s a patriotic picture to distract us all from the autistic infant shitting all over the thread:

  12. You’re time on HnR will be much saner and less full of shit if you just don’t engage with:


    There’s just no point. They are not honest and will never do anything except bait you into wasting your time. Every second you spend on them is a second you’re not spending on something more enjoyable. Unless you like beating your head into a brick wall of course.

    I’m sure I missed somebody in that list, and I’m sure some people have specific posters they would put in that list that others would not.

    1. Danka

    2. Add mtrueman and craiginmass
      Neither has ever argued in good faith AFAIK, except what seems to be accidental. And shame on me for wasting time on trueman.

      1. Also flaming ballsack

        1. I’m 73.2% certain that FBS is Mary.

          1. How about 92%? Just asking…

          2. I don’t know. Doesn’t Mary usually out herself as a terrible racist within a day or two of showing up? FBS is so utterly devoid of argument that I wonder if it’s not a regular poster with a troll handle.

          3. Like I said in the reformicon thread, I thought we figured out that fbs was Kizone Kapow?

      2. And Michael Hihn might literally be insane.

        1. Hihn is strange; not sure he’s a troll, but he’s Bo-certain he’s the only guy who got the memo.
          Problem is, the memo he got was sent along about 1970, and he just woke up and figured it’s brand new!

          1. Hihn is strange; not sure he’s a troll

            Yes, he is a zealot and a true believer. He earnestly believes the shit that spews from his keyboard and is not trying to rile people up.

            1. I’m a radical socon according to him. *snicker*

          2. Oh I wouldn’t say he’s a troll. Or Bo for that matter. I think they both genuinely believe their own bullshit and are utterly convinced that everyone except them is the problem. I’ve got an uncle who’s like that. I was just adding to the list above of people who you’d be better off not interacting with.

            1. No Bo goes troll when he starts arguing minor shit and won’t let it go.

              When I see his handle more than three times in a lengthy thread I figure it’s a Bodeo and I just scroll past.

              1. He’s here to argue. He doesn’t care about what.

              2. Warrren|3.14.15 @ 11:14PM|#
                “No Bo goes troll when he starts arguing minor shit and won’t let it go.
                When I see his handle more than three times in a lengthy thread I figure it’s a Bodeo and I just scroll past.”

                Good analysis, and I’d steal that term if it were applicable anywhere else. Nice!
                I have to admit to poking Hihn with a stick, since he’s also an old fart and I can find the buttons to push.
                I shouldn’t, but he deserves it even if if were from someone else.

          3. I seriously think he’s a stroke victim. He argues without stating his case as though others can read his mind. His ramblings make sense to him, but he doesn’t realize that he doesn’t provide enough information to be intelligible to others.

            AND, he’s an asshole to people without provocation.

            1. Hinh or Bo or both?

            2. My uncle does all of that. I used to wonder if he took some bad acid or something in the 60s. My dad says he’s been that way since they were little kids though. He makes vague arguments without any clue that the people he’s talking to have no idea what he’s talking about and wouldn’t give a shit if they did. And he’s completely certain that he’s the smartest guy in the room.

              1. Gotta ask if your dad and he get along?
                I have a WBIL (woo brother-in-law, for those not familiar). AFAIK, he’s been woo most all of his life and I just stay on the other side of the room.

                1. My dad can’t stand being around him, and doesn’t speak to him unless he has to. He’s not actively hostile or anything, but if anyone asks he’ll tell them that his brother is a stupid asshole. He once told that to my uncle’s son. To which my cousin replied “Yeah, I know.”

                  1. OK, that answers the question.
                    I have a bother I’d prefer to avoid, but none that I actively dislike. The WBIL, OTOH…

  13. Hello faithful Reason readers.

    Do you ever wonder why when we drive off an annoying troll, another one shows up a few minutes later?

    The troll appeals to your worst nature. He says something wrong, and you feel compelled to make him understand that he’s wrong.

    Let it go. We have a good thing here. This place is not the “regular” internet. DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.


      1. Real helpful, guy.

    2. So we have:
      flaming ballsack,
      (oops: Jackand Ace)
      As not worthy of response, and there is a good chance of overlap among them from sock-activity.
      We also had Blitz in the family tax thread earlier; s/he made some claims that were pretty easily shot down.
      I sure wish we had some commenters offering arguments that weren’t so obviously lame. It’d be nice to engage an argument of substance.

      1. Eddie is borderline troll.

        He’s here to push his religion.

        1. I don’t mind that and I don’t mind anti-abortion folks in general. But there are exceptions.

          I like the guy and like having him around. He’s one of those “on one (or several) list(s) but not others” posters.

          1. I used to not mind him. He’s revealed himself a bigot. He’s dishonest about his reasons for being here.

            1. Francisco d’Anconia|3.15.15 @ 12:37AM|#
              “I used to not mind him. He’s revealed himself a bigot.”
              I missed that.

                1. Frank,
                  I pass on those threads since they are predictable in the extreme; Tony posts ‘if you don’t give homos free shit, you’re a bigot’; everyone else says ‘find someone who wants to sell’.
                  But I did scroll down at least half of that and didn’t find it. Got a pull quote? Not doubting, but not willing to scroll the entire thread…

                2. I don’t think that quote was bigoted, I think it was idiotic. He’s not really ‘bigoted’ against gay people, he just has really odd ideas about how God created marriage before the state, therefore the government can’t define marriage as between two men or two women since that’s against God…or something.

                  It doesn’t actually make any sense since the US is a secular state so we shouldn’t be basing our laws on what Eddie believes God says anymore than we should be basing our laws on what Achmed thinks Allah says. I don’t think it’s really bigotry though.

                  And Eddie clearly is not a troll because he comments on a host of subjects. He’s just a very religious man.

                  1. He clearly admitted he wants to use government power to discriminate against gays in that quote.

                    He wants government to recognize hetero marriage but not gay marriage, despite the absolute fact that such recognition harms no one (any more than recognizing hetero marriage does). He wants government sanction of his discriminatory beliefs.

                    He’s a fucking bigot.

        2. Francisco d’Anconia|3.15.15 @ 12:26AM|#
          “Eddie is borderline troll. He’s here to push his religion.”

          A lack of manners, as it were.
          I’m prolly the poster-child atheist, but I respond to the issue and never bother to raise it. Eddie will pitch some Catholic crap or other for a post or two (I think; I ignore that sort of stuff). Other than that I see no single-issue ‘wa’.

      2. (Not so) Intellegent Mr Toad is one of the posters like Bo and Hihn. He is certain that he is the one true scotsman and if you don’t agree you’re an idiot.

      3. Lets not forget Francisco, he seems to think anyone opposed to gay marriage is some kind of bigot.

  14. NBC Nightly News just ran a story about exploding houses in Colorado. I jokingly told my wife that “it’s the pot, it’s them durn pot heads!”

    And well, it was. People are trying to do their own hash oil are blowin’ up their houses.

    Naturally this will be used as an excuse in an attempt to re-criminalize.

    1. “People are trying to do their own hash oil are blowin’ up their houses.”

      Are they gonna cover the folks who burn down the joint trying to deep-fry a turkey?

      1. Can you deep-fry a turkey in hash oil?

        1. Dunno. Got 5G of hash oil?

          1. Next on Mythbusters….

      2. Or the “noble ones” who throw flashbangs into cribs?

  15. To return to subject:
    I do not trust the government to spend money efficiently. Why would I trust the government to kill the right people?
    I don’t.

    1. You do realize that death sentences are issued by courts, the same institutions we rely on to protect our rights from government overreach.

      1. Michael Ejercito|3.15.15 @ 12:56AM|#
        “You do realize that death sentences are issued by courts, the same institutions we rely on to protect our rights from government overreach.”

        And that means something or other, I’m sure.
        Did you know purple? Just asking…

      2. You do realize courts are part of the government. Why should I rely on them for anything?

        1. Don’t even bother reasoning with him.

          Had Michael Ejercito been born 7,000 miles away, in either direction, he would currently be in Mosul, sodomizing an 10 year old Yazidi boy while screaming Allahu akbar at the top of his lungs and firing his AK-47 in the air until he coughed blood.

  16. We had a tasty fresh crab Louis salad this evening with a crisp Pino Grigio; was there something I missed?

    1. Ooop.
      Meant as reply to HM.

    2. Sounds good! I’ve been requesting Thai crab curry from my wife. Hopefully, she’ll whip up a dish soon. If you never had crab curry, I highly recommend it.

    1. mfalseman is certainly one of the most mendacious person who posts on this website, but I’m not certain he’s the dumbest. I mean dumb is whomever the person is behind the sock known as Plopperphile. Denying he’s a child molester in one post and then in his very next post admitting he had sex with an 8 year old and an 11 year old. Because that’s what people who aren’t sexually attracted to children do, have sex with children.

      1. Shit, when did he do that?

        He occasionally gets accused of being a pedo because he shows up in the pedo/child porn threads and leaps to the defense of the pedos, but I’ve never seen him actually admit to having had sex with children as an adult.

        Also, if Plopper sees this thread prepare to have him stalk you for weeks wanting to rehash a conversation that made him feel bad.

    2. It’s hard to tell stupidity from mendacity sometimes. So it depends on which trolls are giving their honest opinion and which are just trolling for the sake of trolling.

      Does Buttplug really believe that Obama is a classical liberal?
      Does Tony really not understand the difference between Jim Crow laws and property rights?
      And anyone who would self identify as a socialist in this day and age is either intentionally evil or profoundly retarded.

      1. Since we’re on the topic of trolls, I’ll present one last gift before I check out for the night:

        A visual representation of the interaction of every troll on this site ever.

  17. “Pilkington calls this the “most visceral form of censorship” and says “with something as serious as the wielding of state power to kill somebody, there should be maximum transparency,…”

    The 1st Amendment guarantee of free speech is that the government has no authority to suppress what you say or what you write, it does not require the government to be transparent about what it does. Whatever one thinks about the death penalty, Pilkington is engaged in a category error here.

  18. ” Pilkington says, “if people aren’t prepared to see what’s being done in their name then perhaps they shouldn’t be doing it.”

    Except he is not interested making the public aware (as the public is against or ambivalent about his point of view), he just wants to harass the drug manufacturers in order to ban the death penalty de facto through the back door instead of de jure, as the law and the people are against him.

  19. a large dose of morphine kills without pain, it is cheap and easily available.

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