Death Penalty Is Cruel

Death Comes RSVP

The Death Penalty is cruel, no matter how you slice it.

When a state panel recommended last April that Tennessee abandon the three chemicals used in executions across the nation in favor of the single drug usually used in animal euthanasia, the state’s corrections commissioner said no.

Though the move would have simplified executions and eliminated the possibility of excruciating pain, the commissioner, George Little, said Tennessee should not be “out at the forefront” of a decision with “political ramifications,” according to recently disclosed evidence in a death row inmate’s lawsuit.

Mr. Little’s decision helps illuminate one of the questions lurking behind the year’s most eagerly anticipated death penalty case: Why have states so doggedly and uniformly clung to an execution method with the potential to inflict intense pain when a simpler one is readily available?

[From States Hesitate to Lead Change on Executions - New York Times]

If the state can murder its citizens, how can the state tell citizens not to murder? And funny how many of the so-called Christians who create our nation's laws are pro-death penalty. They want to place the Ten Commandments in courthouses, yet the one commandment that makes the most sense* Thou shalt not kill is oft ignored.

The answer, experts say, seems to be that no state wants to make the first move. Having proceeded in lock step to adopt the current method, which was chosen in part because it differed from the one used on animals and masked the involuntary movements associated with death, state governments would prefer that someone else, possibly the courts, change the formula first.

“The departments of correction are dug in,” said Deborah W. Denno, an authority on methods of execution at the Fordham University Law School. “There’s safety in numbers. But if one state breaks from that, the safety in numbers starts to crumble.”

“If you change,” Professor Denno continued, “you’re admitting there was something wrong with the prior method. All those people you were executing, you could have been doing it in a better, more humane way.”
Lethal injection protocols nationwide were copied from one developed in Oklahoma in 1977 — the year after the Supreme Court reinstituted the death penalty — based on advice from a medical school professor to a state senator. They call for a short-acting barbiturate to render the inmate unconscious, followed by a paralytic and then a chemical to stop the heart.

If the first chemical works, there is no dispute that the process is quick and painless. If it does not, there is no dispute that the inmate will suffer intense and terrifying pain. But because the inmate is paralyzed, it may not be possible to tell whether the first drug worked.

*personally, I like this one better:
14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:
15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;
16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.
and is this a weird use of matrix or what?
19 All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.
20 But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 3, 2008 8:58 AM.

Lake Michigan water was the previous entry in this blog.

The Price of Neglect is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37