Thursday, September 17, 2009

If at first you don't succeed

I've written often enough about my opposition to giving our government the power to execute people and I'm not going over it again. This time it's about the method. Many people really don't care if an execution is agonizing or hideous. It's apparent considering the number of years we've been using the electric chair. The first time it was used, witnesses ran howling from the building, some went down on their knees with projectile vomiting - but we took a long time about looking for something less grotesque; a long time during which victims were set on fire, steaming eyeballs and sparks were popping out of smoking skulls and one prisoner who survived the chair was led back to it a year later after the Supreme Court said there was nothing cruel about it.

After the Conservative recrudescence when public sentiment responded to fear mongering and swung toward executions again, the idea of a quick painless death by injecting some drug seemed the most humane and thus more marketable. It's what we do with pets we love as though they were family after all, but instead of using a single painless shot of a barbiturate which insures loss of consciousness and a quick end, we rig up a contraption that requires an IV needle to be in place and a series of three injections. If the needle, which is installed by non medical professionals, is done incorrectly, and it often is, it produces a long, excruciating death while the prisoner is paralyzed and conscious. There's no reason for it that I can find except they started doing it that way and conservatives don't like change, whether it's an improvement or not. It's more important to appear "tough" to the other Republicans.

A recent Ohio case where the victim was strapped to the death chamber crucifix, involved 2 hours of jabbing him with needles while he sobbed and begged to be able to help end it all. The executioners couldn't find a vein and gave up, allowing convicted rapist/murderer Romell Broom a one week reprieve until his veins heal. Then they'll try again and God forbid they should try something proven to work well. Ohio Gov Strickland assures us no thought will be given to this.
"That does not mean there will be a review of the larger issue of lethal injections," Strickland said Wednesday. "That's been settled."
There's no report as to whether he washed his hands afterward.

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