Thursday, June 05, 2008

 

How Difficult Can it Be

This might come off as macabre. But seriously, in the year 2008 how difficult can it be to willingly kill a man? It continues to prove difficult as executioners in Georgia took 35 minutes to find a suitable vein to execute Curtis Osborne; he was pronounced dead 14 minutes after the first drugs entered his body. You can read more about this HERE.

We know that the death penalty system is flawed. But I would expect that the fruition of this public policy mess could be without flaw. We have no trouble euthanizing animals. We were tragically reminded of this as Eight Belles, a horse in the Kentucky Derby, was euthanized on the track of Churchill Downs. But when it comes to healthy human beings we falter. I am reminded of Angel Diaz who had to suffer terribly through 37 agonizing minutes as inept executioners watched him slowly die.

I can already see the comments now. "Just take a gun and place it to the back of his head." Unfortunately that method does not subscribe to our Constitution's 8th amendment which bans cruel and unusual punishment. However, if I were on death row and awaiting lethal injection, a procedure known to be errant, I might plead for that method of execution. I can also see other forthcoming comments or thoughts. "The victim didn't receive any mitigation of pain. Their life was taken, cruelly." True. However, the victim is gone. We can't travel back in time. We can change the way we react and punish those who have murdered. We can work to make the method less flawed.

As many of you may know, the US Supreme Court recently took a case (Baze v. Rees) to examine the current lethal injection protocols. Little has changed since this landmark case. Lethal injection continues to be a varied method across the states that utilize it. Some have doctors present, some don't. States use different amounts of the three drug cocktail. While the death penalty remains highly arbitrary and capricious one would hope that the method of killing these inmates would not be so arbitrary. One can hope.

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The "state" our American capitalist democracy has murdered its citizens based on class and race for way too long. The oppression and repression in our culture stemming from its puritanically beginnings has worked so well that most Americans actually believe that the government is killing people to deter crime. Capitalists do not want to deter crime they need the crime and the punishment system to explain why we "need" armed men rampaging the streets in the name of law and order. (Google Sean Bell's Story)
People always run to the ridiculous slippery slope aurgument; " because you don't want the authorities to kill people you want people to be murdered ". WAKE UP. No one should take the life of another human being, contrary to the accepted belief that some people have more value than others the truth is even when I don't want to believe it even when I want revenge even when I want to lash out to kill the person that might hurt my child I intrinsically know that one persons life does not replace another life, so how can we think that one murder can justify another.
Rapists, killers, child murders, child rapists, serial killers, maniacal killers and any other terrible and hateful label that you can throw at me to incite my fears will change my mind. As the Tao Te Ching simply states, " For every force there is a counterforce. Violence, even well intentioned always rebounds upon oneself." ( Written by Lao-tzu
 
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