Arizona Spokeschick Promises Botched Execution Was Really Kittens' Whiskers And Unicorn Farts

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Polish up your resumes, Wonketeers, because it looks like the great state of Arizona will soon be in the market for a new press flack! After the AP and the Washington Post reported that the botched execution of convicted murderer Joseph R. Wood III was punctuated by nearly two hours of snorting and gasping, the Arizona Attorney General's office felt it needed to set the record straight.


State officials disputed these accounts, contending that Wood was never in pain and that he was only snoring.

“I’m telling you he was snoring,” Stephanie Grisham, spokeswoman for the Arizona attorney general’s office, said in an e-mail to The Washington Post. “There was no gasping or snorting. Nothing. He looked like he was asleep. This was my first execution and I have no reason to minimize this.”

It was her first execution, you guys, so why would anyone question her expertise?

Let's have some fun with Arizona press flack Stephanie Grisham's reasoning, so that we don't fall directly into a rage-hole.

  • "I am telling you the Hindenburg was landing. There was no fireball or screaming. Nothing. It looked like it was floating. This was my first airship landing and I have no reason to minimize this."
  • "I am telling you Japan was just going for a swim. There was no tidal wave or reactor meltdown. Nothing. It looked like everyone was splashing and having fun. This was my first tsunami and I have no reason to minimize this."
  • "I am telling you Chicago was roasting marshmallows. There was no conflagration or smoldering ruins. Nothing. It looked like the citizens of Chicago just really wanted to make S'mores. This was my first fire and I have no reason to minimize this."

Ahh, it's good to laugh again, isn't it?

On to the righteous indignation portion of the piece. We begin with Wonkette's standard "Snipy Disclaimer": Joseph R. Wood III was a convicted murderer who killed his ex-girlfriend (who he also allegedly abused) and her father in a horrific way. But a civilized, reasonable society ought to be able to recognize that Joseph R. Wood III committed a heinous crime AND ALSO be able to administer justice without also committing a heinous crime.

We do not wish to minimize the pain and suffering of Wood's victims' family, some of whom clearly thought he got what was coming to him.

Family members of Wood’s victims, who were angered that he looked at them and smiled while delivering his final words, told reporters that they did not object to the way the execution occurred.

“This man conducted a horrific murder and you guys are going, let’s worry about the drugs,” Richard Brown told the Associated Press. “Why didn’t they give him a bullet, why didn’t we give him Drano?”

It is perhaps impolite to point out to grieving family member Richard Brown that the state of Arizona didn't execute Wood with a Drano injection because we have an Eighth Amendment in this country, and that Amendment is designed to prohibit the kind of eye-for-an-eye retribution that our lizard brains are hard-wired to crave. It is perhaps impolite, but it is also true.

But the cocksure attitude of the State of Arizona -- expressed by both spokes-flack Stephanie Grisham and Governor Jan Brewer -- is precisely why Justice Potter Stewart Harry Blackmun swore to never again "tinker with the machinery of death." In an official statement, Brewer insists that Wood "did not suffer," then immediately pivots to a comparison between Wood's suffering and the suffering of his victims, thereby setting a new American record for the speed with which a Governor invalidates her own premise.

To borrow a phrase from Governor Brewer, one thing is for certain: the taxpayers of Arizona deserve a better brand of communications professionals. Oh, and also, it is the year 2014, and we should maybe consider not acting like barbarians.

 

[AP/ Washington Post]

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