Themed Set: 2010

At 1,100-odd posts as of this writing, we’ve chronicled a fair few historical executions in different lands and places since our launch.

But whatever our volume, the world’s [real] headsmen do more efficient work than its antiquarians.

Executions in the contemporary world have averaged several per day over recent years (conservatively, 714 total in 2009; 2,390 in 2008), and those are just the documented ones: observers have long believed the true tally to be several times any given year’s official count.

North Korea, for instance, is notoriously opaque on the point, but is believed to carry out at least hundreds per year; figures for China, the perennial global leader, are derived from counting those officially announced, but many occur that are not publicized and the real number is considered a state secret. And that’s leaving aside the annual harvest of semi-official, extrajudicial stuff.

The bottom line is that with each passing day’s Executed Today post, the shelves of tales yet untold only groan with still greater weight. It’s bound to bury us, sooner or later.

Before it does, we offer this next week a nod to the death penalty in the here and now … or at least, last year: seven different trips to seven countries’ scaffolds (or modern-day simulacra thereof), an insufficient but perhaps not unrepresentative look at the the modern executioner — inexorably at work day by day, faster than you read these words.

On this day..