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Parallel Guillotine

Multiple decapitations with a single stroke
  (+4, -14)(+4, -14)
(+4, -14)
  [vote for,

Mass executions could be speeded up no end with this device. The principle is similar to a normal guillotine, but with a much lengthened blade, and multiple neck rests. The individual head baskets would be replaced by a sloping trough, so the heads would roll down to a receptacle after removal.

A must for capital punishment fans and busy executioners the world over.

Mickey the Fish, Jul 17 2000

Guillotined persons remain conscious for 13 seconds or so... http://www.urbanleg..._head_blinking.html
...or so says the AFU archive, anyway. [egnor, Jul 17 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The Straight Dope says maybe yes, maybe no. http://www.straight...lassics/a5_262.html
Many of the 'proofs' of a guillotine victim being aware are blatantly goofy. [StarChaser, Jul 17 2000, last modified Oct 04 2004]

The severed head bible. http://tinyurl.com/8b6s
[mrthingy, Oct 04 2004]


       200 years ago, you would have been rich and (in)famous. Civilization has since, hopefully, made some progress, although sometimes you wonder...
jetckalz, Jul 17 2000

       Actually, when the guillotine was introduced, it was embraced as a more humane means of execution. France continued the use of the guillotine in executions until fairly recently, ending the practice no earlier than the 1960s and perhaps (I don't recall precisely) using it even into the 1980s.   

       Just a bit of trivia, not an endorsement of this idea.
beauxeault, Jul 25 2000

       In Texas, the law requires six volunteer witnesses at each execution. I heard on the radio yesterday that the Lone Star State is executing so many criminals these days, they're having trouble finding enough witnesses. They've actually begun advertising for them. Maybe they should try your super-guillotine idea. It would be much faster than lethal injection, too---and they could go "yee-ha" as the blade swooped down. The executioner could do his Julia Child impression, as though he were preparing to chop up some sort of immense entree.
Ander, Jul 26 2000

       This could be a real money spinner. Make the guillotine to take say six, but at random one doesn't get chopped. People could place bets on who is to be the "Lucky One". Of course the Lucky One only gets reprieved from the death sentence down to LIFE LIFE LIFE, but with a free Colour TV!! You would have to take bookings it would be so popular. Door prizes too.
Alcin, Aug 30 2000

       Machine guns aren't very accurate; unless you really spent a lot of ammunition, there's a good chance you'd merely maim at least one of the convicts. Bullets are by no means 100% lethal.   

       Actually, the guillotine isn't a bad method of execution; it's arguably more humane than the electric chair, for example. It's only the hypocrisy of a squeamish public that prevents its use.
egnor, Aug 31 2000

       If it's volume that's the issue, anything like this would have been obsolete even in the guillotine's heydey -- the French had sorted out that drowning people on barges or shooting them was much quicker and easier where large numbers were involved. And then, of course, there was fantastic progress back in the 20th century in the field of industrial-scale de-lifing.   

       On the other hand, it could be a fun novelty in places like China, Vietnam, North Korea, the Middle East, and the United States where capital punishment's popularity never really faded. And then again, one of the nice things about the guillotine, besides its reliability, ease of use, and wonderful ergonomics, was its theatrical nature. And if a small swooshing blade is impressive, a bigger one has to be that much more so.
Monkfish, Sep 02 2000

       I'm all for collecting whatever needs to be executed, giving them a bag of drugs of their choice <From the failed American 'war on drugs'> and a knife, putting them in a room and waiting a week, then shooting the last guy standing. Gets it done, saves lots of money, and nobody has to feel guilty about 'pulling the switch'.
StarChaser, Sep 02 2000

       StarChaser - don't need to shoot the last guy standing; there'll be more criminals to fill the room with.   

       Perhaps the "last guy standing" gets a one-month reprieve in a small town. In a city, there'd be new entries every day.   

       This is somewhat morbid.
Thing 1, Sep 02 2000

       Shooting him is his reward for winning. Then he doesn't have to fight anymore. Possible alternative: Give them a knife and tell them that the last one standing gets all the drugs it wants. Being tired and probably wounded, the last one will probably 'shoot' itself to death anyway.
StarChaser, Sep 03 2000

       I don't see why people are so into this "eye for an eye" punishment. If somebody's going to die, there's no reason *not* to do it humanely. I really can't get into this gleeful spirit of painful execution. It does *not* seem "fair" to me for the method of execution to be "vile".   

       Society is, after all, supposed to be better than the criminals it is punishing.   

       Guillotined person remain conscious for around 13 seconds, apparently. See the link.
egnor, Sep 09 2000

       Mine wasn't 'eye for an eye', although I do approve of that. If the punishment isn't unhappy-making, people won't try to avoid it.   

       Guillotines were intended to be humane, rather than the often inaccurate use of a human axeman, who could miss or only partially decapitate.   

       As to how long guillotined persons remain conscious, I would like to point out that that is the urban legend archive. At any rate, is that any more 'horrific' than having been given an injection and feeling yourself fading out, knowing that you're not going to wake up again? Dead is dead. I feel that executions are TOO humane; their victims probably died screaming and begging, why should the murderers get to 'go gently into that good night'?   

       Yes, I have a low opinion of humanity and little regard for human life.
StarChaser, Sep 09 2000

       Maybe it's time to get out of tech support for a while...
jutta, Sep 09 2000

       Methinks tech support might be the reason.....
Alcin, Sep 18 2000

       Since they're allegedly still alive, I propose interviews by Network or Local News Reporters for each Convict post haste. [It is now common practice after "World Championship" finales to immediately ask about the demise of the franchise next season...]Also propose Fully Televised Multiple Executions on Nightly News just before the Weather Report. Since there would be greater resistance to the blade, it would be necessarry to strap on a little 'dead weight' if you will, in the form of fellow deathrow inmates [facing the action, of course]. The remains could be served to Prisoners in the form of 'Head Cheese'.
thumbwax, Sep 18 2000

       <grin> Jutta, I felt much this way BEFORE I did tech support. It just refines my opinion.
StarChaser, Sep 18 2000

       Nowadays the guillotine would probably not go over because of concerns about HIV. Last I checked, Utah had considered chucking the firing squad because prison workers feared handling the blood (maybe they've gone to injection now?). I still like the old joke about replacing the electric chair with electric bleachers.
BobStCul, Oct 13 2000

       beauxeault: More guillotine trivia--Dr. Joseph Guillotin (no "e") did not invent it, but merely advocated its use because he felt it was more humane than hanging. Guillotin died a natural death, contrary to legend. I think la guillotine became "finis" in France in the mid-70s.
BobStCul, Oct 13 2000

       I heard that Dr. Kevorkian (how quickly we forget) wrote a thesis in college on a scientist from Revolution-era France who screamed in the ears of freshly severed heads off the guillotine to see if there was any reaction.
BobStCul, Oct 13 2000

       thumbwax: maybe they could get the head to say "I'm going to Disneyland!"
BobStCul, Oct 13 2000

       France abolished Capital Punishment in Law in September 1981, the first important legislation of the newly elected socialist government under Francois Mitterand. The incoming Minister of Justice, former lawyer Robert Badinter, was a staunch opponent of the Death Sentence, as he had witnessed the execution of a client in November, 1972. The last use of the guillotine was in October, 1977, in Marseilles. France had also re-introduced the Death Penalty by firing squad for 'Crimes Against The State' during the Algerian crisis of the early 1960's - there were four executions, all of military personnel I believe, including Colonel Bastien-Thierry.
macalloa, Dec 01 2000


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