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Hanging was reputed to be painless and so we thought gettinbg sentenced to death was the perfect out: that way you could have the benefit of dying without the guilt of doing it to yourself. It was unfortunate that you had to do something awful to get sentenced to death, though. As a liberal who was a pacifist and against the death penalty, I didn't think murderers deserved to die, but I thought I certainly should die. I was lazy, wasting my life, flunking out of graduate school because I would rather lie in bed with the covers over my head. It wasn't that I wanted to be punished but rather that I felt my life was so worthless that it wouldn't make a difference if I were dead (after all I was accomplishing nothing) and I certainly didn't want to be alive and suffer. The question of whether a painless suicide was right hinged on this distinction; there are whole taxonomies of suicidality. If you are suffering and want to die to escape pain, then a painless method makes sense, but if you hate yourself and think you deserve to die, then it is cheating to do it painlessly.