Your execution problems confuse us. Why does your state require a doctor to help you kill somebody? Some of us think it’s to make sure he’s dead. Others insist that you must be hedging your bets in case the governor’s call is a little late. Many marzmas are riding on your answer.

Sorry, you’re all wrong. We need a doctor to be sure that, uhwell, we don’t really need a doctor, but we don’t want to hurt the guy we’re killing. That makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s a kinder, gentler way of killing. Kinder and gentler on us, that is, because after all, we have to watch it. Actually, only a few official witnesses watch it, but the rest of us can imagine what it looks like, and we don’t want to be thinking that it’s too messy, like the old electric chair was, with hair on fire and such. Or like a firing squad. Very bloody. So we use an anesthetic, and that way we can pretend we’re just putting the fellow to sleep while we’re killing himbut that means we need a doctor to make sure he doesn’t wake up. Hope that clears things up for you.