Ecology of Death Penalty or Being Buried in a Watery Grave
Immortality is one of those dreams that would turn into a nightmare if it’d ever become reality. Even without the proverbial zombies roaming the earth, we still need desperately to die on a regular basis.
Not a pretty picture, to be sure, but a point of support to all blessed forms of natural death, the economics of crime and punishment, and the ecology of making sure we dispose properly the bodies of those who passed away.
According to the Annals of Improbably Research, modern forms of execution went through considerable changes until reaching Continue reading →
It’s been 35 years this month since the reinstatement of the federal death penalty in the U.S., but if you’re not involved in the country’s criminal system, you wouldn’t give the fact much though. Photographer James Reynolds did. He decided to create and photograph replicas of meals inmates ordered in their last day on earth.
Some death-row residents got actually hungry on their day of reckoning. Some had your typical off-the-highway diner meal. And yet, some were very particular about what they wanted to eat. Given the pressing engagement waiting for them next door, it’s really far out that most would want to eat at all.
But some did it and enjoy it, right to their last cigarette, despite the advice on the contrary from the prison physician. Abstracting any consideration on why they were sent to death in the first place, it’s almost poignant that someone thought about memorializing their last supper.
That’s what Reynolds did. He researched the prisoners and their crimes, and recreated their last meals. After photographing the trays, he went as far as to eat some of the food. He hasn’t made up his mind about the death penalty itself yet, but he surely found a way to contextualize it.
JUST IN: In what looked like another staged guilty “confession,” Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was shown on the Iranian state TV, along with her son and lawyer. The highly suspicious broadcast was blurry and no identification of the faces of the three could be positively established. What looks like another farce follows a Minister of Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki declaration a few weeks ago that “the authorities of justice had not pronounced the final verdict in the affair concerning Sakineh.” That meant either Iran was once again backpedaling on its intention to hang her, or just trying to divert the world’s attention to her fate, as it did many times in the past, according to human rights activists. They vowed then, as now, to keep up the public vigil to prevent the issue from falling through the cracks and allowing Iran the undisturbed opportunity it’s apparently seeking to carry on Ashtiani’s death sentence.
Once again, the world’s bracing itself breathlessly in the face of horrible news that the Iranian state is ready to kill Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani very soon. And once again, a global mobilization is apace to prevent this crime from happening. Human rights organizations are urging Iran’s authorities to free Ashtiani, who stands accused of a murder to which no proof has been provided by the prosecution.
Ashtiani was initially sentenced to death by stoning, a medieval form of capital punishment only Iran and a few other authoritarian regimes still carry. Faced with a huge wave of public outcry, the Iranian state commuted her sentence to death by hanging, insisting the 43-year old mother of two murdered her husband with a relative it said she was having an illicit affair. The proof for these charges have never been produced publicly and they wouldn’t be even considered by the strict but Continue reading →