Thursday, February 2, 2012

putting all your heads in one basket....oh wait thats eggs huh? hmm nevermind.

Off with their heads, I never really thought about the names of stuff, yesterday’s ponzi scheme inspired me to find another thing that’s named after someone that I never really knew was named after someone. And thanks to my ever clever love for pointing me in the direction of guillotines. Seriously though, guillotines. I always thought they were scary torture devices. Little did I know it was a way to reform executions, all thanks to, drum roll please, Doctor Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, a French physician.
So the guillotine actually wasn’t invented by the doctor, it had been around as a form of execution with a different moon shaped blade before, but what Dr. Guillotine did was create a set of articles to reform capital punishment in France. Before there was a ton of torture devices, like that wheel that stretched people out or burning at the steak. He pretty much said he wanted people regardless of class to be executed in the same humane way. I know I know, cutting off someones head doesn’t sound humane, but compared to the other stuff they were doing this was totally okay.
The first execution by guillotine was performed on highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier on 25 April 1792. From June 1793 to July 1794 there was a ton of executions and people got super into them and would go to watch public executions on a daily basis. At one point programs were even dispersed containing the names of the people who were scheduled to die that day, super morbid. Eventually cause they were so repetitive people stopped going. I mean how many times can you see a head roll off someone before you were  a) creeped out or  b) just didn’t care anymore. Sad but true, I wonder if I would go see it if it existed today, id really have to think about that one that sounds super scary and not cool and would totally gimme the willies for days and days. In any case the last public one was of Eugen Weidmann, on 17 June 1939. After that, surprisingly France kept using this meathod until 1981 when they got rid of their death penalty.
And so there you have it. Heads a rollin and those crazy french.

want to know more: guillotines

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