They did it again.
So your sweet young daughter or your tender-hearted grandson goes out to the mailbox one day and brings in the newly published Church magazine for children. She or he takes off the wrapper, and sees this cover –
In this cover and story, the Instructor returns to the theme of an article from 1885: “A Barbarous Execution” describes this method of inflicting death as “driving a spear down through the shoulder of the condemned man until it strikes a vital part, and death ensues as an end to the sufferings of the poor wretch.” This is, she reads, “quite humane” compared to other forms of execution practiced in Africa, where “mutilation of the body in the most shocking manner” is the rule. This compassion, he reads, is due to the civilizing influence of the colonizing Europeans, “who, whatever their faults and their cruelty toward the savages whom they conquer and exact tribute from, are nevertheless averse to native barbarity” – so, these compassionate conquerors teach them more humane methods, such as the one pictured.
Other forms of execution, your child reads, include “flaying the victim alive or slowly roasting him to death … or shooting him into shreds before the mouth of a cannon … [and range from] the deadly electrical chair now used for condemned murders in New York State, to the simple but horrible practice of burying alive.”
The money quote, though, is in the concluding paragraph:
“The subject is a gruesome one in any aspect, and can have little interest for any proper-minded reader of the Instructor. We think the less said about it, therefore, the better for the feelings and imaginations of our little friends.”
Um, yeah …