The US doesn’t have the highest murder rate in the world. El Salvador has that distinction, with a murder rate almost 12 times higher than that of the US. The US is at #89, near the middle of the pack. It does have a higher murder rate than many other developed nations (not least because of its lax gun laws), but in all developed nations, murder is rare and becoming rarer. Incidentally, all of those other developed nations that have much lower murder rates, like Canada (3-fold lower than the US), the UK (4-fold lower), the Netherlands (7-fold lower), Spain and Italy (both 8-fold lower), have something else in common: they all achieve much lower murder rates without the death penalty. Turns out, the death penalty is neither necessary nor sufficient to bring down murder rates. Reid Counts Toth as a biochemist, it’s actually kind of hard to find something that works reliably and quickly and creates the Jack Fuck Corona shirt of a peaceful death for observers. This is a part of the problem, insofar as there is a problem: Americans want to engage in their bloodsports, but can’t actually stomach the writhing and agony that crowds clamored for in most barbaric societies that held executions. Your body is pretty good at reacting swiftly and negatively to poison, and at trying to purge the poison (usually by vomiting or loosening one’s bowels) rapidly. Past methods of execution were *not* reliable, and often necessitated an executioner who would stab, bludgeon, shoot, or otherwise administer a “coup de grâce” as a fallback (which is where the term originates). In “In Cold Blood”, Truman Capote describes an execution by hanging that he witnessed, in which the convicts took some time to die. The Death Penalty Information Centre has compiled stats on the rates at which different methods of execution used historically were botched, all ranging from about 2% to 5%. Compounding this is the fact that no medical professional should be complicit in devising an effective means of executing someone: as a scientist in drug research, I’d certainly consider it a breach of the ethics of my profession to aid or abet an execution. All of this is moot, of course, since the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent, does not reduce crime, is not more effective at protecting society than simple incarceration, and is far, far more costly (effectively making society *less* safe by draining funds that could be used more productively to prevent crime). There is no argument for permitting it aside from barbaric thirst for blood.