Before getting to the hard issues, such as what kind of equipment to use, or the historical issues, such as the development of the French guillotine, let's look at killing itself, and how we relate to it. This flips the generic viewer around 180 degrees, and approaches the American conscientiousness from a purely critical and negative perspective, an accurate perspective I believe--especially when compared to the conscientiousness of rest of the world. A quick look at the historical and even psychological reasons Americans have such a brutal approach may be helpful.
The General Environment
My general view of America is that the American peoples of the West and South are friendlier than those of the Megalopolis of the Northeast, but that the governments of the South and West are far more brutal than the Northeast. The South appears to seek to preserve slavery as closely as it can; I read in a compilation written by Southerners in the late 1950s that "slavery is the only proper economy for the South." That was the 1950s, not the 1850s. The West traces its brutality to the extermination of the Natives, which seems to have happened as much during the 20th Century, as in the previous three of four centuries of new world culture. In closely-related Canada, there are said to be the mass graves of hundreds of thousands of young Natives, exterminated, through all things, an educational system called the Residential Schools that was closely related to religion.
The supposedly Liberal Northeast
The Northeast is viewed as liberal by the rest and the most influenced by Europe, and it would seem to make sense then that East would resist the death penalty, but no! Supposedly liberal New York saw it's death penalty reintroduced by none other than the Liberal party of NY! Despite national perceptions, along with the economic reality that life is much more livable in the Northeast, institutionalized America killing is a national desire. Canada seems to be affected as well, and of course to the south in Latin America, killing is component of life, but Latin political culture diverges so far from American that I feel a comparison is unfair -- though clearly threatened Latin annexation desires empowered by the indiscriminate acceptance of the spread of corruption by multiculturalists might indicate that much of American killing lust may have migrated over the Mexican-American border along with much of the Mexican population. Texas has in fact the most "killing-ist" official culture in America and is a Mexican-American border state; perhaps there is a connection.
Christianity and killing
As a nearly logical extension of my study of Constructivism I joined a backwoods Methodist Church. A nutty ex-girlfriend of mine dragged into this church (and a few others), and here I found a text-book example of constructivist culture, human culture the way it is meant to be according to social scientists. Carefully preserved in this church are the two basic Christian concepts: love and forgiveness. Also key to this church is the basis of Christian success: the simplification of religious ideas into those two concepts. While nationally the Christian church provides citadel strength to conservative values, such as killing here and abroad, Christ opposed killing, as well as bias, and the many negative aspects of life. He opposed them with his life. Another church I visited with this ex-girlfriend supported nearly violent bias against Wiccans, and a state police officer sat in a front pew. Deliberately bypassing for the moment a discussion of possible Wiccan violence, let me state from my church-based learning that Christ's approach was always non-violence and forgiveness even for the most heinous crimes, and he and his ministry followed these moral values to a nearly suicidal degree. Violent Christians may be bad Christians, but they are none the less Christians, and they are forgiven. (Maybe this statement will help non-Christians understand Christian paradoxes.)
Christ's revolution was psychological and radical, and the many others who followed him also proposed radical departures from the "way things are," such as Wesley, the founder of the powerful Methodist church. Prayer, I found, is powerful; I am saying this as a part-time Buddhist who mediated often. Prayer differentiates from meditation in that it pulls together the congregation on a neural level, tapping all the powers of emotional communication. One can find many non-supernatural reasons why this "neural pulling-together" can produce desirable results! And it feels good enough to be addicting -- just ask my crazy ex, a bi-polar prayer addict.
The psychology of killing
So there really are different components to American killing and punishment, and they are spread throughout the official culture and appear in differing manifestations so much so that there must be a single influence acting as the killing and punishing agent that can be isolated at environmental and psychological levels. Bias absolutely has to be one of them, and we know that bias has a psychological foundation, or perhaps "lack of foundation." We know that psychological distress is not caused by something we may have, such as in a bacterial or viral disease, but something we don't have: specifically healthy neural constructs. This approach helps narrow the scope of critical inquiry. Also helpful is a "layered approach" that has been adopted from the abstraction of technological network communication called the "network stack." The layered approach implies that every outward event hits upon every other layer of inner or outwards neural or emotional communication, and that negative events occur because of missing neural or communication faculties.
So what is wrong?
Perhaps what is wrong is what we are trying to kill, but by using the ancient methods of punishment, and often torture (the Federal Bureau of Prisons is an entity unto itself with almost no accountability) we are simply digging ourselves deeper and deeper into the hole of hatred we have created with our endless punishment and killing. We seek to avenge wrongs but in-so-doing have become the agents of wrong, creating an ever-narrowing cycle of hate. Since this describes the conservative approach, a shift to liberal approaches seems tempting as a way out of the cycle. But wait! It was the Liberal Party of New York that introduced the death penalty! And the most killing-ist event of recent American history, the invasion of Iraq, was introduced as a Congressional bill by the ostensibly liberal and independent senator from Connecticut: Lieberman. His namesake even sounds liberal and he supports all the liberal social and environmental causes, except mass murder and genocide in foreign lands: domain of the hard-line conservatives. There certainly is a "liberal rub," and it may even be helpful to look at one seeming liberal's cultural background: Lieberman. He is of course Jewish. He introduced the bill that legalized the blindly violent and exceedingly stupid invasion of Iraq, as well as the equally sickening bill legalizing a future invasion of Iran. I think it is a fair assumption that he introduced these bills on behalf of the nationalists of the nation of his culture, right-wing Israelis, permanently throwing a blanket of suspicion on his "liberal side." As it happens he started his political career as a hippie throwing mud at his conservative opponents, much like the Yippies Hoffman and Rubin. In retrospect it appears from the left wing perspective that Lieberman went bad along the way, as Rubin did. My view is that he never actually changed; he was posturing as a hippie in his early days because hippie-ism was very popular and powerful at the time--remember the power Woodstock had. I believe that Lieberman never had an ounce of free hippie love in his heart, he was deceiving the people around him as part of a political development strategy. (During my time observing the musical fringes I saw a lot of posturing: punk rockers who were calling themselves anarchists were in fact fascist; politics they had inherited from their families.)
Lieberman on the death penalty: "I have long supported the death penalty.." A killing former hippie?
If we follow the neurological example above, and assume for the moment that something may be missing from Lieberman's "heart," then I think it is important to assume for the moment that Lieberman, as a poser and hence a liar, is missing an important neurological construct: morality. And judging from the endlessly duplicitous behavior of politics (not to mention the fundamental back-stabbing nature of corporate life), he isn't the only narcissistic leader.
Lieberman is interesting to me at the moment because his Jewish cultural background is the Judaism that Israel has used the rational for the extermination of the natives residing in what is now Israel, and that it formed the background of Christ's revolution. This Judaism is pumped into my brain every Sunday, and events thousands of years ago in the Old Testament seemed to be played out daily in real life right up the very day a man with the middle name "Hussein" became president. That very day the fighting ceased, implying a strong connection between departing right wing president and the hawks of Israel. In church they tell me I am a Jew by way of being a Christian (though my church secretly sympathizes with Palestine), and Lieberman appears to have attempted to cement this conservative Christian-Jew relationship by closely supporting "Hussein's" opposition for the presidency, the military right-winger McCain, almost as if he was running for the vice-presidency himself.
Lets get to the nitty-gritty of killing
Killing is nasty business, and I really don't see any reason why the majority that supports it should necessarily want to see kindness mixed with it. But the constitution outlaws cruelty--firing squads and hangings seem cruel--and public displays are considered barbarous so a curtain is pulled just before nasty moment. First there was gas, cyanide, and then lethal injection. As every junkie knows, the easiest way to go is a opiate overdose, but the killers of the government, unassisted by medicine because of the Hippocratic oath, use some weird injected mixtures that are show to be fairly sadistic.
Killing is wrong
Obviously from my writing you have to assume that I think this all psychotic to the Nth degree, but this arrangement is our national policy, and seems to be supported by the majority. It is rationalized and because it is rationalized yet insane (from my and most of the world's perspective), there must be some other mental disorder, specifically a thinking disorder, that is propelling this as well as much of the other killing madness of this world. The study of narcissism is a fair place to start looking for a thinking disorder as modern psychiatrists and psychologists give the label "malignant narcissist" to the big-time killers such as Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Adolph Hitler. Narcissism seems to be a requirement for political success, and hence may be an indicator was to why politicians support brutality, either at home or abroad. If so, and if you accept for a moment the layered abstraction approach to social behaviours and social functions, the there is a neurological basis for narcissism and associated brutality, and hence an identifiable neural construct that can possibly be identified through medical processes such a functional MRI machines, or even chemistry. Since we know that these violent afflictions are passed down through the generations, they are hereditary: they may even be found in DNA.
The death penalty is so dragged out with appeals that there is obvious psychological cruelty built into it, especially for the condemned innocent. No modification to the present killing process will change that. (Polls show that only a minority of Americans are concerned with the suffering of the innocent condemned.) This dragging out of justice is also a violation of the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which requires swift justice. The public spectacle aspect of executions is likewise hypocritical to me since observers view the condemned just before and just after the executions; often executions appear on television, as happened with Saddam Hussein.
High-powered rifles are kindest form of killing
To me the least cruel method of kill in is the high powered rifle: sniping. The brain is disintegrated before the nervous system has registered the bullet. The condemned can be happily enjoying a burger anywhere at the time of the nasty moment, never experiencing a moment of discomfort.
But what about due process? How do you know you are killing the guilty with a sniping assassination? I wonder if due process is relevant any more. In my opinion the rights of the peoples of the world are increasingly being ignored especially as exceedingly cruel governments such as the so-called government of China dominates the new world order of globalism. If one can accept any of the neurological concepts that I have discussed above, it may be possible that a chemical test can be devised to determine if the accused are in fact capable of the defective behaviors of hate related killing. Something like a mosquito bite that turns them momentarily purple, and then, say, a .50 caliber bullet shot from as far as a mile away.
If you are "in the know" about DNA disorders, you may know that recently a law has been enacted preventing discrimination against those genetically predisposed to cruelty. By doing this those in control may feel that they have cemented their systematic cruelty of control. When enacted, Pelosi said something like "we all have genetic disorders." No, it is YOU who have the genetic disorders, Pelosi, we the normal average people are, not surprisingly, basically normal; we are suffering as a result of YOUR genetic mental disorders, your obsessive need to control and kill! There is absolutely no question that these well-developed killers are way ahead of us. We the normal, the empathic with our warm social sciences are playing centuries of catch-up. But then our normal methods are collaborative therefore complex and require careful construction. The cooperative strategies of political predators, on the other hand, is stupid-simple; predatory cooperation had been demonstrated as the binary communication system of the squads of killer squids of the Pacific locally known as red devils. The killing culture that controls us despite our advanced morals precedes us not by generations but by millions of years, as it probably afflicted the species from which we evolved.
Dumping federal law
Fortunately there is a work-around to the federally mandated protection of the genetically sociopathic: most Americas are so fed up with the hypocrisy of the federal government, with its self-protections, that it's complete elimination is becoming a popular idea. Revolutions happen, and they are usually fairly quick, though rarely painless for the deposed. If there is a revolution, I strongly hope the spirit of forgiveness will allow our leadership to retire to places where they can safely stop whatever it is that they do that makes life for humanity so violent.