Often when I hear of someone given multiple life sentences as punishment for a crime, I ask my self what the difference is between one life sentence and five life sentences. I understand there is symbolism in the additional sentences; and in some cases people with a “life sentence” may be released early.1 In any case, I ask myself is whether there would actually be a way for multiple life sentences to be carried out. Perhaps the sentence could mandate killing the criminal and then resuscitating them again, only to kill them again and then resuscitate them. The process could be repeated enough times that the criminal could serve 5 life sentences in the course of a month. (No, I’m not a lawyer.)
A new book by a doctor who specializes in resuscitation suggests that there is a common experience of dying that is consistent across cultures. To be considered “dead”, one’s heart has to stop beating. This stops brain activity, but it does not mean the the brain cells have died. In fact, it is possible for a body to be chilled, and the person to be resuscitated several hours later.
Upon regaining consciousness, many patients have no memory; but others report seeing a bright light and feeling a very loving presence. They recall having their life reviewed with them and feeling pain as they recall times when they caused others pain. Some patients report being inspired to try to do better with their new lives.
So perhaps instead of giving our prisoners a lethal injection, we could give them “death thearapy”.
I can imagine that were this resuscitation perfected, so that the risk that patients stay dead is reduced, many wealthy people would pay for such an experience.