Turns Out It Hurts to be Killed

AP96011702806.jpgI know it's Iowa Day where we celebrate importance of Iowa by letting it pick our next president, but there are still a ton of other dumb things going on in this dumb country that we have to talk about. High on that list is the crazy way we execute people, which is something I knew pretty much nothing about 10 minutes ago but has now made me a raving lunatic and it's no wonder that a lawyer somewhere finally decided to suggest that maybe this process was a little cruel and/or unusual along with a whole slew of other adjectives I can think of.

There's a national moratorium in place against the three-chemical combination used to execute prisoners in the handful of states that still execute people because the Supreme Court ruled recently that it's totally fucking crazy. The three-chemical combo is supposed to work like this: the first drug renders the prisoner unconscious so there's no pain; the second is a paralytic so that if there is pain nobody has to see it; and the third kills the prisoner. Here's the problem: if the first one doesn't work the process is "excruciating" and "terrifying," but because the prisoner is paralyzed there's no way to know. As it turns out this crazy process is less effective and also less humane than the painless single-chemical method we use to put our pets to sleep. No state wants to be the first one to change the protocol even though lots independent panels and things have said they should! Yay America!

Who could have guessed we'd be executing prisoners in the way that's most painless for us instead of them. The paralytic is given so there aren't any of those "distressing" muscle contractions that happens when someone is dying, or screams of pain, or anything. I won't raise the obvious questions about why we would need to hide our culpability in a state execution situation because I think the states' refusal to change their method speak to that issue pretty clearly. I'm just going to say this: I think we owe it to our pets to treat them the same way we treat our people, by euthanizing them in the most painful way we can think of.

States Hesitate to Lead Change on Executions [New York Times]


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