Alfred P. Southwick

Why am I not surprised that a dentist invented the electric chair.

In 1881, Dr. Alfred Southwick witnessed an intoxicated man touch a live electric generator. After the man died quickly, Dr. Southwick concluded that electricity could be used as an alternative to hanging for executions. As Southwick was a dentist who was accustomed to performing procedures on subjects in chairs, his device for electrical execution appeared in the form of an “electric chair.”

Dr. Southwick worked with David B. Hill, the governor of New York State to help pass laws making execution by electricity legal. Southwick also served on the state’s Electrical Death Commission which between 1888 and 1889 recommended that electrocution be made a valid form of Capital Punishment. The first law allowing the use of electrocution went into effect January 1st, 1889.

And an account of the first electrocution using the electric chair from the Crime Library:

Only a few details remained—Kemmler was brought back to Buffalo to be resentenced, as all his previous execution warrants were expired. His execution would now take place between August 3 and August 6, 1890. When the call went out for the official witnesses to report to the prison, crowds began to gather outside. Witnesses were to report on August 5, and among them were Alfred Southwick and George Fell, there to see their idea finally realized. Kemmler was informed that he would be executed at 6:00 a.m., August 6. Though he paced and seemed nervous, he did not lose control. Upon waking on the 6th he dressed hurriedly in a suit which had been chosen for him. He walked resolutely to the death chamber. Asked if he had anything to say, he stated, “Well, gentlemen, I wish everyone good luck in this world. And I think I am going to a good place and the papers have been saying a lot of stuff that isn’t so.” The warden’s hands shook as he fastened the straps that would secure Kemmler to the chair. Kemmler chided him: “My God, warden, can’t you keep cool? Take your time. Don’t be in a hurry.” An electrode, in the form of a metal cap containing a sponge, was attached to his head. Another electrode was attached to his spine, so as to provide a clear path through the body for the current. The electrodes were moistened with a saline solution.

Rio Carnival Show in the Sky Closing

From VegasTripping:

The long running Show In The Sky at the Rio will close on April 8th according to a blurb in todays Norm!.

The show, which is best described as Carnival meets Rose Parade on the ceiling of the Rio’ casino, is famous for… uh… not raining scrap metal and other parts down on gamblers below like the much more expensive Las Vegas Monorail.

According to Norm’s report, the “show” will close on April 8th – 70 artists and technicians will be laid off.

Rate-My-Cop: New Website Has Police Furious


SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) ― Police agencies from coast to coast are furious with a new website on the internet. has the names of thousands of officers, and many believe it is putting them in danger.

Officer Hector Basurto, the vice president of the Latino Police Officers Association, recently learned about the site. “I’d like to see it gone,” he said.

“Having a website like this out there puts a lot of law enforcement in danger,” he said. “It exposes us out there.”

Kevin Martin, the vice president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, agrees. “Will they be able to access our home addresses, home phone numbers, marital status, whether or not we have children? That’s always a big concern for us,” he said.

Creators of the site say no personal information will be on the site. They gathered officers’ names, which are public information, from more than 450 police agencies nationwide. Some listings also have badge numbers along with the officer’s names.