Thornton P. Knowles On Death By Gas Chamber

On February 8, 1924, a Chinese immigrant named Gee Jon became the first person in America to be injected by cyanide gas. He died in the gas chamber inside the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. Over time, eleven states adopted the cyanide chamber as t…

On February 8, 1924, a Chinese immigrant named Gee Jon became the first person in America to be injected by cyanide gas. He died in the gas chamber inside the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. Over time, eleven states adopted the cyanide chamber as the official method of execution. From 1924 to 1999, 594 persons died in these gas chambers. In 1990, asphyxiation executioners in California killed a man named Caryl Chessman. He perished in the cyanide room for the crimes of kidnapping and rape. He is the only person in U.S. history to be executed for a crime other than murder. (It seems to me there are better ways to make history.) The gas chamber, compared to hanging, firing squad, electric chair, and lethal injection, is the cruelest way to dispatch murderers. (That, of course, might be of no concern to proponents of the death sentence.) Death by cyanide took between six and eighteen agonizing minutes, and for those witnessing the execution, was a gruesome tableau. It was the only form of capital punishment that required the condemned man to contribute to his death by breathing amid a cloud of cyanide. I find the concept that the government can, with malice and premeditation, legally kill a human being, fascinating. I image it takes a special kind of person to open the trap door, throw the switch, sink the deadly needle, or release cyanide into a chamber occupied by a breathing person. I'm not the nicest guy in the world, but I couldn't do it.

Thornton P. Knowles

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

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