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Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones points out in her State Executioners: Untrained, Incompetent, and "Complete Idiots" piece that the torturing of Clayton Lockett in the Oklahoma death chamber last week was not exactly an aberration in the move toward lethal injections in state-sanctioned killings.
Historically, lethal injection has been plagued with problems just like those that occurred in Lockett's case, and they are due in large part to the incompetence of the people charged with administering the deadly drugs. Physicians have mostly left the field of capital punishment; the American Medical Association and other professional groups consider it highly unethical for doctors to assist with executions. As a result, the people willing to do the dirty work aren't always at the top of their fields, or even specifically trained in the jobs they're supposed to do. As Dr. Jay Chapman, the Oklahoma coroner who essentially created the modern lethal injection protocol, observed in The New York Times in 2007, "It never occurred to me when we set this up that we'd have complete idiots administering the drugs."

States typically have had few requirements for those serving on an execution team. At one point, in Florida, the only criteria was that a potential executioner be at least 18 years old. Wardens, prison guards, phlebotomists, paramedics, and nurses are sometimes in the mix.

Even though medical personnel should never be asked to be involved in executions and should lose their licenses if they agree to do so, there was the notorious, much-sued, much-sanctioned doctor in Missouri who oversaw 54 executions (and later was called upon to develop the federal protocol for executions). He admitted that his dyslexia made it difficult for him to combine execution drugs in the proper amounts. In one case, illustrated here in a report titled simply "Botched Executions," he screwed up the insertion of an IV into the femoral artery in the groin the same as was done to Lockett.

Then there was the nurse in the botched execution of Stanley Tookie Williams in 2005 who said of several failed attempts to insert the IV that led to a collapsed vein: "Shit does happen."

The team leader of executions at San Quentin State Prison was found to have been disciplined for smuggling drugs into the penitentiary, the sort of crime some people are serving decades in that very facility for having done.

Capital punishment should be done away with entirely, as it has been in 18 states and the District of Columbia. But given that a majority of Americans support the death penalty and always have except for very brief periods, according to the polls, it will be with us for a long time despite the cruel but hardly unusual screw-ups. Reading the putrid comment threads accompanying stories covering the killing of Lockett, it's obvious that far too many Americans have no problem with torturing people to death.

Objecting to this vileness does not constitute a lack of sympathy for the victims of those being executed. On the contrary, it demonstrates what the Eighth Amendment mandated more than two centuries ago: humanity.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  how is it possible that such incompetence in the (15+ / 0-)

    availability and administration of drugs makes these events possible at any level - it favors prolonged incarceration instead of capital punishment and does favor the expansion of the PIC in the failure of recidivist measures

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:35:50 AM PDT

  •  Agreed. Well done. (9+ / 0-)

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:49:53 AM PDT

  •  One would think that we could show a bit more (13+ / 0-)

    humanity than the person being executed did. Why should we be just as vile as they?

    "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats ..." - Kenneth Grahame -

    by RonK on Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:52:53 AM PDT

  •  BTW, I appreciate this "Author, Publication, (9+ / 0-)

    Article" format. Not only does it appropriately honor the original author, allow the reader to know if it is a publication they wish to link to, but also allows a later reader of a printed out version, or even one doing research in a hurry, to find the full reference.

    I often put a comma prior to the article as I was taught in school, however, the way you've done it here looks so much cleaner you have convinced me that a comma is not always necessary.

    I've been reading this guide of 18 rules of using commas that is only gradually making sinking in. Sure about a dozen seem obvious. Some are more subtle.

    Thanks for the great post, MB. Your writing serves as praiseworthy example I've learned many valuable lessons from.

    David (A rare break of character.)  

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:58:16 AM PDT

  •  I suppose it is too much to ask... (11+ / 0-)

    ... for a dialogue about the difference between "justice" and "vengeance."

    I don't think many Americans see those concepts as two distinct things.

    Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

    by The Termite on Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:59:53 AM PDT

    •  justice versus mercy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dov12348

      Belief in "justice" is ironically what motivates support for the death penalty in the US; the punishment must fit the crime.  The doctrine of deterrence furthermore demands that the punishment be worse than the crime.  In the days of the Bloody Code of Georgian England, when over 200 crimes carried the death penalty, the saying was: "Men are not hanged for stealing horses.  Men are hanged so that horses will not be stolen."

      The idea that violent criminals are sufficiently punished by a "time out" - with ACLU lawyers on standby - doesn't jibe with a lot of people in this country.  Also the survival of old ideas that crime is committed by the lower orders who simply can't be managed except by the Pai Mei approach: "If you don't get me I'll communicate with you like I would a dog, when I yell, when I point, when I beat you with my stick!"

      The widespread belief that prison is a "free ride" comparable to welfare - room, board, healthcare, TV, weight room, etc. at taxpayer expense - really doesn't help.

      Mercy - the idea that the punishment should not fit the crime by being "less than" the crime - is what you're looking for.

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Wed May 07, 2014 at 02:12:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, not really (4+ / 0-)

        There is a nearly bottomless well of philosophy around the idea of justice, and retributivism -- the school of thought that emphasizes the importance of punishment and revenge in restoring order -- is only a narrow sliver. Punishment can certainly be a component of justice in theory and in practice, but when I talk about "justice" I do not mean punishment.

        Moreover, I think you know that the idea that our prisons are pleasure domes is a bunch of horseshit. The prison system is a morally bankrupt profit engine built on slave labor and the conditions of most prisons (all but the Club Feds where the Martha Stewarts and Michael Milkens of the world go) are engineered to produce recidivism. If anybody thinks that sentencing someone to a lifetime in prison is a shitty alternative to the death penalty because it isn't harsh enough is profoundly confused.

        We as a society have narrowed our understanding and our definition of justice to mean revenge (with much lip service paid to deterrence, though we realize none of that in reality). If we had the stomach and the patience for dialogue, we could evolve past worrying that not executing people makes us weak.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

        by The Termite on Wed May 07, 2014 at 02:47:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "Men are not hanged for stealing horses. ... (6+ / 0-)

        ... Men are hanged so that horses will not be stolen."

        The problem with this aphorism was that it was utterly false. At public hangings attended by hundreds, sometimes thousands, in a carnival-like event, pick-pockets worked the crowds while perpertrators convicted of picking pockets (one of those 200 crimes) were strung up on the gallows.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Wed May 07, 2014 at 03:12:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thurgood Marshall once told the story (5+ / 0-)

        of how in the early 1700's London was plagued by pick pockets, so the government decreed that anyone caught pick pocketing would be hung in the public square.  But they had to stop the public hangings because too many spectators watching the hangings were having their pockets picked.

        "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

        by Navy Vet Terp on Wed May 07, 2014 at 03:14:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Justice v mercy is a more correct (0+ / 0-)

      opposition.

      Anyway, vengeance has a strong emotional element that may, or may not, or only partly be, just.

      Best Scientist Ever Predicts Bacon Will Be Element 119 On The Periodic Table

      by dov12348 on Wed May 07, 2014 at 02:38:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See above (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, dov12348

        As well, choosing not to exact vengeance does not need to come from a notion of "mercy." It could come from the notion that vengeance is irrational and counterproductive.

        Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.

        by The Termite on Wed May 07, 2014 at 02:49:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  But what ABOUT vengeance? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't mean to troll, but can we not acknowledge the urge?

      The fact remains that at heart I am an animal.  And if there were no doubt in my mind that someone theoretically under my protection had something horrible happen to them because of the direct, premeditated actions of another individual whose identity were also in no doubt, I would want vengeance.  In the absence of a state mechanism for seeking it, the temptation to seek it myself would be great indeed.  I don't think it's noble or manly, but I also don't think the urge is at all unnatural.  And in a pinch, I don't really think I'd have much urge to rise above it.

      I've never seen the death penalty as anything but the state regretfully taking onto itself actions that might be done regardless.    To me, it isn't about punishment, and it isn't really about deterrence.  It is about preventing future retaliatory murders by the loved ones of the person wronged by having the state take the matter of vengeance into its hands.

      It is unfortunate that so many innocent are caught in that mechanism.  But I think that says more about a deeply flawed legal system that gives great incentive to prosecutors to convict, while providing cut-rate defense to the poor schmucks on trial.  I think that the great numbers of people executed in America could also be chalked up to that same factor, that and the fact that the death penalty is more sensational.

      But, hats off to the Nordic folk who can see a single nitwit plan and carry out terroristic murders of so many of their children and be content with giving him a twenty-year sentence in prison.  Frankly, I don't see how they do it, because I really don't think I could.

  •  Thanks MB (6+ / 0-)

    I voted tuesday because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Wed May 07, 2014 at 11:02:54 AM PDT

  •  "Humane" Executions (14+ / 0-)

    I think the move towards lethal injection was not out of any desire to make it more humane, just more sterile and less icky, so more people will continue to support capital punishment.  Arguably, a guillotine, or a shotgun blast to the head at point-blank range, are quicker and cause less pain than these botched lethal injections, but they would be violent & bloody, so people might recoil.

  •  state-sanctioned barbarity (12+ / 0-)

    is barbarity. its apologists embrace it.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed May 07, 2014 at 11:06:47 AM PDT

    •  so (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, 4Freedom, CenPhx, Paragryne, BMScott, BYw
      The 200-page report published on Wednesday by the Constitution Project, a Washington-based thinktank, carries particular clout because it is endorsed by a bipartisan panel of experts who both oppose and favour the death penalty. They include former judges, police chiefs, attorneys general and governors who have signed execution warrants.
      guess now we see in HD what's reflected, eh?

      TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

      by greenbird on Wed May 07, 2014 at 11:24:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm surprised death penalty states.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom, CenPhx

    don't troll lists of license-revoked physicians who aren't bound by the Hippocratic Oath anymore.

    Do no harm mutated to "ahh, what's a little more harm."

    No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

    by Magster on Wed May 07, 2014 at 11:26:21 AM PDT

    •  Don't give them any ideas. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, CenPhx

      Or for that matter, don't give the MIC's favorite contractors any ideas as to how to recruit "psychologists."

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Wed May 07, 2014 at 11:34:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A good many of the physicians I enountered in the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4Freedom, CenPhx, YucatanMan, BYw

      federal system had lost their licences. I had the impression that even practising in a State prison required a State License but the feds cam preempt the states.

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Wed May 07, 2014 at 11:35:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Conservatives have overlooked this opportunity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    mostly:  Corporate bidding on the lucrative "business" of administering executions. Sell it to their friends, just as they sell every other function of government. Campaign contributions from the capital-punishment-for-profit "industry." More extreme laws to execute more people. The Reagan Revolution can continue to its last bitter kernel of hate, fear and greed. And, of course, some Dems will want in on the lucre.

    Let's hope not, but that's how these things generally go.

    Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

    by deben on Wed May 07, 2014 at 11:43:43 AM PDT

  •  I'm not sure about the public support part... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BMScott, Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

    You said:

    ....a majority of Americans support the death penalty and always have except for very brief periods, according to the polls,
    This paper by Richard C. Dieter, "Changing Views on the Death Penalty in the United States," delivered in Beijing, China, October 7, 2007, at the Conference on Alternatives to the Death Penalty in U.S.A and China, gives us some reason to believe the public has been slowly moving in its opinion on this issue:
    Overall, public support for the death penalty remained about the same in 2006 compared to 2005, but it has dropped from 80% support in 1994. The Gallup Poll, which has consistently asked the U.S. public about their views on the death penalty for many decades, indicated that about 65% of the American public still supports the death penalty for murder. However, for the first time in the 20 years that the Gallup Poll has tested support for the death penalty as compared to a sentence of life-without-parole, more people chose the life-without-parole option as the proper punishment for murder (48% to 47%).9
    Link.

    More recently:

    A recent Gallup Poll measured Americans' abstract support for the death penalty at 63%, the second-lowest level of support for capital punishment since 1978, and a significant decline from 1994, when 80% of respondents were in favor of the death penalty. Gallup noted the results of the poll may have been affected by the fact that it was conducted a few days after the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. In 2011 Gallup found 61% in support of the death penalty, the lowest level in 40 years. When Gallup and other polls offer respondents a choice of the proper punishment for murder--the death penalty or life in prison without parole--the public is nearly evenly split on the question. Among the groups most supportive of the death penalty in this latest Gallup poll were conservatives, Republicans, men, older respondents, and those with a high school or less education. The poll was conducted December 19-22, 2012. The margin of error was +4 percentage points.
    (emphasis added)

    Death Penalty Information Center citing 2012 Gallup poll.

    So if given the choice of life without the possibility of parole instead of the death penalty, the country seems to be evenly split.

    Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves. -Thoreau

    by CenPhx on Wed May 07, 2014 at 12:19:24 PM PDT

    •  Support goes up and down, but, with one... (4+ / 0-)

      ...exception almost 50 years ago, Americans have favored the DP.

      Even when, life without parole is offered as a choice, which it often isn't, the results are still almost always supportive of the DP. The good news is that it's moving ever closer to even. Unfortunately, if you do the polls by states, it is much more skewed.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed May 07, 2014 at 03:02:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Morphine Overdose (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paragryne, dov12348, Meteor Blades, BYw, triv33

    I oppose the death penalty, because the state cannot guarantee that it won't kill people not guilty as charged.

    But in the meantime, why don't execution states kill those sentenced to death by a morphine overdose injection? Or some of the even more powerful opiates like fentanyl. That stuff is pretty cheap, in constant supply, and is extremely effective. If they don't die from the initial administration, just put another lethal dose in right away. Or give 10x the lethal dose every time to be sure.

    The use of these unreliable chemicals with all their problems makes it look like just a corrupt supply chain that needs death penalty victims to consume their products, rather than an instrument of justice.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed May 07, 2014 at 12:55:00 PM PDT

  •  If we have to kill a few innocent people (4+ / 0-)

    to get a guilty one, that we torture to death, well, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Right?

    (was that snark? Or general public opinion?)

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Wed May 07, 2014 at 01:57:53 PM PDT

    •  In 1987, when I was deputy editor of ... (10+ / 0-)

      ...the editorial page of the L.A. Herald Examiner (R.I.P.), I got into a heated discussion with right-winger Dennis Prager, whose weekly column was always such a treat. He had written a column in which he said that killing a few innocents under capital punishment was the price we have to pay for a deterrent to murder (although he also believed in extending the death penalty beyond that crime). I asked him finally in our argument how he would feel if his then 3-year-old son became, later in life, one of those innocents condemned and executed unjustly. His reply was that this would never happen because his son was being brought up properly and so would not find himself in a situation to be condemned. It was then I truly grasped the full meaning of cognitive dissonance.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Wed May 07, 2014 at 02:46:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Debating with morons (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson

        It isn't just online. There are morons in the upper reaches of the media as well.

        "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

        by gjohnsit on Wed May 07, 2014 at 03:32:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, indeed. Joe Farah, founder and editor of... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, FogCityJohn, gjohnsit

          ...WorldNetDaily, was executive news editor at the HerEx when I was there. He twice tried to get me fired for editorials I had written, one about the contras murdering doctors and nurses in Nicaragua and one about Leonard Peltier on the 10th year of his incarceration. He failed.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Wed May 07, 2014 at 03:40:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It never occurred to a lot of people... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    * That idiots would be administering the death penalty.
    * That idiots would be running the TSA.
    * That idiots would be selling health insurance.
    * That idiots would be deciding stuff.
    * That idiots....

    Yeah. My whole life is filled with such summations.

    That idiots would be on my death panel.

    Ugh. --UB.

    The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

    by unclebucky on Wed May 07, 2014 at 02:45:41 PM PDT

  •  And we kill the wrong people a good percentage of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, rbird, Eric Nelson

    the time.

    And rich people are never killed for killing.

  •  This would fix the problem 100% . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Termite, a2nite, Eric Nelson
    Capital punishment should be done away with entirely,

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Wed May 07, 2014 at 02:53:37 PM PDT

  •  ONLY Things GOP Trusts Gubmint To Do.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

    Let's see... executions....oh and torture, apparently torture is something the government does flawlessly.  Republicans are absolutely sure about this. Government can't do anything right except executions and torture.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Wed May 07, 2014 at 02:56:04 PM PDT

  •  I don't get the squeamishness shown (0+ / 0-)

    by State officials. You want to kill someone? What's wrong with a guillotine. It's painless and pretty instantaneous. The French came up with a damned reliable design. Don't want all that blood? Gets your tim-tum upset, does it? How about a hollo-point to the back of the head? Brain splatter a non-no? OK, how about this: carbon monoxide 5%. They just go bye-byes. I mean, seriously, if the killers of prisoners want to do it right, they just have to abandon the pseudo-medical BS and go back to the tried and true. You can't be squeamish and a killer at the same time.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Wed May 07, 2014 at 03:12:07 PM PDT

  •  executions are essentially human experimentation.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myrmecia gulosa

    ..these days, and the standard protocols are not being followed: experimental drug cocktails and violating the rule on using two veins.

    With the lack of countries willing to supply the U.S. with Sodium pentothal [sp], the original 1/3rd of the cocktail developed by Dr. Jay C - multi-drug synergism (sodium Pentothal, Tubocurarine and Potassium
    Chloride0, and who now is against his original method of execution, it seems to me that as Rachel Maddow  recently that executions have devolved into experimenting on people to develop a new method of killing them.

    The original protocols required 2 veins to be used. Not one groin artery.

    It seems to me that this is unlawful. Even setting aside that executions are premeditated killing - how is any of this execution business lawful when even the rules governing executions are scrapped?

    Thx MB

    P.S. pro death penalty argument I've heard explaining why killing innocent people is the price we must pay for a civilized society:

    Hugo Bedau (1982) claims:  

    The execution of the innocent believed guilty is a

    miscarriage of justice that must be opposed whenever  

    detected.  But such miscarriage of justice do not  

    warrant abolition at the death penalty.  Unless the  

     moral drawbacks of an activity practice, which include  

     the possible death of innocent lives that might be saved  

     by it, the activity is warranted.  Most human activities like  

     medicine, manufacturing, automobile, and air traffic, sports,  

     not to mention wars and revolutions, cause death of  

     innocent bystanders.  Nevertheless, advantages outweigh  

     the disadvantages, human activities including the penal  

    system with all its punishments are morally justified ( p. 323).

    Or this:
    Wesley Lowe states,

     “As for the penal system, accidentally executing an innocent person, I must point out that in this imperfect world, citizens are required to take certain risks in exchange for safety.”  He says we risk dying in an accident when we drive a car, and it is acceptable.  

    Therefore, risking that someone might be wrongfully executed is worth  saving thousand’s of innocent people who may be the next victim of murder (Internet).  

    I couldn't find the exact source I wanted but this is basically it. The rationale for murder - imo
  •  exceptional (0+ / 0-)

    We are indeed exceptional--the worst form of slavery--one of the last industrialized nations to end slavery--which took a 4 year civil war--we refused to accept people fleeing the holocaust--we killed off most aboriginals and then celebrate them in Thanksgiving--and a rare western country to still have capital punishment.  Right wing crazies are not a new phenomenon -- it is our sad history.  Did I mention we are the only country to have used an atomic bomb--twice? I am not blindly patriotic--I am ashamed.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Wed May 07, 2014 at 03:37:05 PM PDT

  •  A killer who is put to death is free.. (0+ / 0-)

    If a killer is sentenced to life in prisonment without possibility of parole, he/she is doomed to a non-life behind bars.

    You do hear stories of death row inmates who have access to all sorts of perks from t.v.'s to books, to socialization with others who are condemned.

    My idea is not for cruel and unusual punishment, but just an hour of t.v. a day, an hour to read, and an hour outside in a small space.  That's all.  No socializing other then that hour outside, if at all.

    A person who commits a heinous crime should have to stew about it for the rest of their life.  IMHO, putting them to death makes it easy for them.  I don't want them to forget for one minute what they did.  That takes a lifetime behind bars without frills,

  •  When the Constitution was written (0+ / 0-)

    cruel punishments did not mean death, but torture solely aimed at inflicting pain rather than death, whether or not death was the ultimate aim. The rack, red-hot irons, impaling, drawing and quartering, confinement without food or water, death by inches…

    Unusual punishments typically meant those invented for a particular victim, or any not known before the crime was committed, or any imported from supposedly barbarian societies.

    These experimental injection protocols are in fact being invented one victim at a time, and do cause extreme pain not related to killing the person. This appears to be intentional on the part of some of the people involved, particularly the more bloodthirsty politicians, as in Oklahoma.

    The use of paralytics or strong muscle relaxants in the cocktails along with anesthetics presents further issues. It is intended to prevent involuntary motion of any part of the body, but it also prevents voluntary motion or speech if the subject is conscious without in any way contributing to reducing pain. It may fail of either function when incorrectly administered, or when subjects are incorrectly monitored and dosage adjusted, just as anesthetics may fail in much the same ways.

    We know that anesthesia sometimes fails in operating rooms, so that patients are conscious throughout the procedure but cannot move. Some describe extended periods of extreme pain during which they cannot signal their distress in any way.

    The incidence of anesthesia awareness is not known with any accuracy, and is controversial. It is gradually being more studied, as a phenomenon of interest in itself shedding light on the nature of consciousness, and to reduce its incidence during surgery.

    And executions.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Wed May 07, 2014 at 05:42:37 PM PDT

  •  In every conversation about the death penalty (0+ / 0-)

    I think about The Life of David Gale and wish everyone would watch it.

    When lots of people show up to vote, Democrats tend to win.

    by Audri on Thu May 08, 2014 at 06:14:41 AM PDT

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