Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Don't Blame Us

As I was reading the Tennessean yesterday, I came across an article on the lethal injection debate. Governor Bredesen stated that he believes the state needs to wait on the Supreme Court decision before making a move to execute anyone. I couldn't agree more. He goes on to say that moving to a one drug protocol would invite years of litigation before anyone could be executed. I am sure that there would be litigation, but I would only be speculating, as is the Governor, about how long that litigation would take.

However, he then states, "just remember that among the strongest proponents of the one- drug protocol are people who are adamantly opposed to the death penalty." Huh? That's odd...I thought that people who are adamantly opposed to the death penalty are just that--opposed to the death penalty, regardless of the way the penalty is carried out. Frankly, there is no "good" way to kill another human being. The fact that the three drug cocktail utilizes a drug outlawed for use on animals and not only might, but has, inflicted horrific torture on those who are being executed is the issue with the three-drug protocol. The reason anyone, for or against the death penalty, wants it changed is so that the state is not torturing its own citizens to death.

I also find it interesting that the Tennessee Department of Corrections committee given the task of making recommendations to the Commissioner and the Governor back in May 2007 originally recommended that the state go to the one-drug protocol. Is the Governor implying that all the TDOC committee members are opposed to the death penalty? Also, the legislative study committee had a lengthy discussion of the lethal injections protocols during one of their session, and pro-death penalty legislators as well as at least one prosecutor spoke in favor of the one drug protocol. Hmmm...I'm confused.

I would hope that the Governor would stop blaming those of us who oppose executions for the current lethal injection issues. Sadly, folks who are supportive of the death penalty brought this issue upon themselves, and the rest of us for that matter. But, if the Governor is looking for good ideas as to how to solve the current lethal injection issue, I have one: abolish the death penalty.
Comments :
Stacy, your post is disingenuous in the extreme.

The first issue is the use of the word "torture". To torture someone is to deliberately inflict pain. No one but the most committed abolitionists actually think that the state is deliberately harming anyone.

Second, you state, as a fact, that the introduction of pancuronium bromide has inflicted "horrific torture" on inmates. Surely, Ms. Rector, if such a statement were true, that fact would have been trumpeted by the petitioners in Baze, now wouldn't it?

Third, I don't think Bredesen is "blaming" anyone. He merely points out that abolitionists are using lethal injection challenges to tie up the capital punishment system. A change in methodology WILL invite new litigation.

Fourth, as for bringing this issue upon ourselves, well, guess what, this is how a democracy works. The reality is that the people are authorized by the Constitution to impose death for certain crimes. And the people have chosen to do so. It is only because the unelected judiciary has chosen to gum up the works that we have this problem.
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