Friday, April 15, 2005

Illegal Executions

As many of my friends know, I am adamantly against the death penalty. Despite research that shows the death penalty does not deter crime and costs more than incarcerating a prisoner for life, and despite the seemingly clear idea that killing someone does not fit into the "culture of life" (read Pope not Prez on this one), states still insist on murdering those who perpetrate heinous crimes (and one former governor mocked those condemned).

I'm still not sure how the state murdering someone does not violate the 8th Amendment, but maybe I'm slow. I know how Texas is trying to get around the "unusual" part of the amendment: kill as many as they can and then it won't be unusual (According to the BBC story Texas and Virginia account for 45% of executions in the US. I don't doubt it.). The cruel part, though, has come into question from a recent BBC report. It seems victims of state-sponsored murder may have been "aware" during their execution. It's a good thing guards use a paralyzing agent so victims can't move, scream, or provide any other clue to their suffering other than some apparent muscle thatches.

It seems that victims may not have gotten enough of the drug sodium thiopental, an anethetic that supposedly numbs them before they are given pancuronium bromide, which paralyzes them before they are given potassium chloride, which kills them. It seems the drugs were administered by untrained staff, and they do not know how much dosage to administer.

Okay, now explain to me how this isn't cruel?

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