In the English Common Law
"A cold and depraved indifference," brought to light with all due process and confirmed by a jury of one's peers, sufficed to punch one's ticket to the gallows.
In "No Country for Old Men," Javier Bardem portrays such a felon -- Anton Chigurh, never convicted of his crimes -- with such intensity and authenticity that it would not surprise if the actor's own wife thereafter refused to share a bed with him. Early in the film, Chigurh carries around a heavy canister with a hose attached to it. We don't know what it is. We surmise that it is a prop that helps him to get into places that would otherwise be forbidden to him, like a fake FedEx uniform that might be worn by a petty thief. But it is in fact a pneumatic captive penetrating bolt pistol, a device designed to kill cows, pigs and calves efficiently, but also humanely, by firing a metal rod into their skulls, a rod that then immediately retracts in preparation for the next hit.
It all comes down to intent I suppose. Dr. Kevorkian might have such a device in his arsenal in a place like Canada that widely celebrates euthanasia. He might sign a contract with a dying person, and the contract might authorize him at any time within a prescribed period to approach the person unawares and dispatch him with the device. The patient would never know what hit him.
A single engineer at Lockheed Martin is credited with the anti-personnel variant of the HIMARS missile, the variant that contains 1000 tiny tungsten balls. From 50 miles it can land within 20 feet of its GPS-identified target, and its kill range is 200 meters from the impact point.
When the remains of the troops are brought back to Novosibirsk in simple pine coffins, they are so mangled and co-mingled that they might as well be a bolognese of beef, pork and veal served on Salem Street in Boston's North End.
"A cold and depraved indifference."
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