La Silla / The Chair
The Inventor: Thomas Alva Edison. You gave us the light bulb, and the record player, and the motion picture machine. Power generators and the distribution grid. You argued against war and for nonviolence and no harm to animals. And you electrocuted stray dogs and cats and cattle and even an elephant to prove your point about electricity. And you hired associates to develop an electric chair, to kill people more “humanely” than hanging.
The hundreds of murders by electric chair include mobsters and serial killers, and the political executions of Sacco & Vanzetti and Julius & Ethel Rosenberg. But now we are past the age of the great inventors, and on to the age of the great pharmaceuticals: lethal injection is the new “humane” way to murder, but the chair doesn’t look that much different.