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Motion-Activated Execution

The condemned person executes self
  [vote for,

The role of "executioner" is morally and ethically ambiguous. When a culture denounces murder, and enforces the denouncement by executions of murderers, whoever carries out the execution is, technically, a variety of murderer. This Idea seeks to fix that problem.

The condemned person is locked in a place that has appropriate execution equipment. If the execution is by hanging, then the condemned is fitted with a noose over a trap-door, and prevented from moving away from that location. If the execution is by lethal injection, the condemned is strapped to a chair and remote- controlled injectors are mounted at appropriate locations. And so on, for any other execution method that a society decides to use.

The "trigger" for the execution method is basically quite simple. A high-resolution motion detector is turned on, and when the condemned person moves, say by twitching a finger, the motion detector activates the execution method. Since someone might say that the executioner is the person turning on the motion detector, there could be a long series of motion detectors and remotely-activated "on" buttons....

Only one of the series is "on" when the condemned person is brought into the execution chamber. Motion will turn the next motion detector on. More motion will turn the next motion detector on. We would want, say, a 5-second delay in-between each activation and the next (to reduce the total number of detectors). By the time the condemned has been locked into place and the guards leave, only a few motion detectors in the sequence remain to be turned on. And as previously mentioned, motions made by the condemned will turn them on, including the final one that triggers the execution.

Vernon, Oct 21 2015

Rise of Endymion https://en.wikipedi...he_Rise_of_Endymion
[theircompetitor, Oct 22 2015]


       //Since someone might say that the executioner is the person turning on the motion detector, there could be a long series of motion detectors and remotely-activated "on" buttons....// In that case I would say that the murderer is the person who designed the system.
pocmloc, Oct 21 2015

       //I would say that the murderer is the person who designed the system// - or maybe the person who first thought of it
hippo, Oct 21 2015

       Not a popular halfbakery category, but anyway, four days later..... Still no movement
xenzag, Oct 21 2015

       It has always puzzled us as to why your society has never resorted to Nitrogen as a means of execution.   

       It is cheap, fast, painless (rapid loss of consciousness) and effective. What's not to like ?
8th of 7, Oct 21 2015

       [8th], has /your/ society done so, praytell? And which society would that be?
absterge, Oct 21 2015

       [xenzag], a high-resolution motion detector should be able to detect chest motion associated with breathing. There should not be a delay of more than a few minutes, after the guards leave the condemned locked in place, before the execution is done.
Vernon, Oct 21 2015

       This seems like a form of torture to me.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 21 2015

       I recall reading about a system like this in a sci-fi novel (can't remember the title, unfortunately).
They got around the "executioner is the one that turns it on" by having the machine ALWAYS on. The condemned goes into the room/area, and it kills them. I forget the details of clean-up etc.
neutrinos_shadow, Oct 21 2015

       //It is cheap, fast, painless (rapid loss of consciousness) and effective. What's not to like ?//   

       I find "justice" is generally a euphemism for "revenge".
Voice, Oct 22 2015

       // I find "justice" is generally a euphemism for "revenge". //   

       True. But what else should be done? It's often argued that a life in prison is worse than death. In any functional system a death penalty would be astronomically less costly in resources than keeping someone in prison for life.   

       I'm a bit of an agnostic on the issue. I can see why a society might choose to utilise a "humane" execution method - ie when it determines that someone is irredeemable, will never be anything other than dangerous, and consumes too many resources to keep in isolation. On the other side, killing people is horrible.   

       I think that if you're going to have a death penalty then the decision to execute someone should not be on the basis of how heinous their crime was. Because at that point it very much is about revenge. Rather the decision process should be a dispassionate benefit/effort assessment in light of the good of society as a whole.   

       A simple example would be to ask - how many people's full productivity does it take to keep a recidivistic violent offender in prison. At some point n > X, and the decision should be clear. The real variable is how to decide that someone can't safely be released - and I've never seen anything to indicate that we have developed any foolproof rehabilitation methodologies.
Custardguts, Oct 22 2015

       If the goal is to avoid having an executioner, in the linked Rise of Endymion -- if you haven't read Dan Simmon's Hyperion & Endymion series, it's unparalleled SF literature -- there's a much more interesting concept of a Schrödinger execution chamber, therefore not only absolving the potential executioner of killing someone, but putting in doubt even the concept of them having been executed.
theircompetitor, Oct 22 2015

       Trying to absolve the executioner of his action, is an attempt to absolve society of its action. If you're going to execute people, then don't fuck around and just execute people.   

       We've had systems like this in the past. "I was just following orders" or "That's what the paperwork said to do." Yeah, no thanks!
the porpoise, Oct 22 2015

       //This seems like a form of torture to me.//   

       Nah, these is pretty painless. You want torture, read some of Vernon's more verbose works. Oh, wait, you meant the idea itself...
RayfordSteele, Oct 22 2015

       Regarding execution suitability and methods, perhaps we need to ask the question: 'What would Cecil do?', where Cecil the Lion stands for 'victim of the accused'.   

       I've always been a big fan of asking the people (beings) directly affected.   

       A similarly interesting adventure would be to ask the perpetrators what they would do. The ones who answer 'I would have never ____, and I want to fix it by ____' could be immediately allowed to make restitution. The ones who answer 'It wasn't my fault' are immediate candidates for whatever Cecil would do.   

       As a relative of Schrödinger's Cat, I suspect Cecil would enjoy the semi-uncertainty nature of this invention.
Sgt Teacup, Oct 23 2015


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