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Outlaw the death penalty

April 30, 2014 - Andrea Johnson
The horribly botched execution yesterday of Clayton Lockett by the state of Oklahoma is yet another reason why the death penalty ought to be abolished.

The cocktail of drugs used to kill Lockett were a combination never tried before in that state and left the man writhing in pain and clenching his teeth on the gurney. A doctor ordered the execution stopped. Forty seven minutes after the whole thing began, Lockett died of a massive heart attack. Oklahoma was using this particular combination of drugs – midazolam, followed by a paralytic drug, followed by potassium chloride to stop the heart – for the first time. According to news reports, there is an ongoing civil rights lawsuit against Ohio over the January lethal injection of an inmate who died gasping and snorting, as though in pain.

The U.S. Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment. This is, without a doubt, cruel and unusual punishment.

Unsurprisingly, there are any number of comments on Internet news forums from people baying for blood, most saying that Lockett didn't suffer nearly long enough. Lockett's crime was a particularly heinous one. He was sentenced to death for shooting a 19-year-old girl and standing by as his cohorts buried her alive. No one would argue that a crime such as this should go unpunished or that we should be unmoved by the suffering of the victims. But such a crime also does not give us leave to torture the murderer to death.

In my judgement, the death penalty is only permissible in cases where there is no other way to protect the public from a murderer. That is not the case in the United States where a prisoner who has been sentenced to life without possibility of parole has no chance of freedom and can no longer do harm to the public at large. While locked up, Lockett had no opportunity to commit further crimes. Studies have also shown that the death penalty is no deterrent to criminals.

There is no rational reason for the death penalty except bloody vengeance. The death penalty casts a blight on our society. I oppose it so vehemently not so much for the criminals themselves but because of the damage these acts of violence by the state in our names risks doing to the rest of us. I remind any readers who are Christians of Romans 12:19: "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

It is long past time for this country to join the rest of the civilized world and end the death penalty.


Article Comments



May-01-14 7:52 AM

The Organ Donor Network forbids payment for organs and payment to move one person higher up on the list. They do that in large part because it would discourage people from donating if they thought doctors might kill them or not treat them rigorously enough so they can get their organs. It's not just my moral code we're talking about. Black market organ donation is both illegal and unethical. Killing someone, even if he's a death row inmate, for his organs would be straight up murder under every country's legal system that I know of.


May-01-14 7:48 AM

Please find where this is unethical to anyone but yourself? You are just so dang liberal you see nothing but fog.


May-01-14 7:46 AM

Only to you Andrea. You have a very hard time following other peoples thoughts. You seem to know very little about human nature also.

OK just for you lets say Abortion is legal and so is the Death penalty, they seem to find Dr's to do those jobs so don't even imagine there won't be people willing to use a dead criminals organs and Dr's to install them.

You keep forgetting that in this conversation the people are already going to die just the same as any person who is a donor and dies in a car accident.

Andrea... We can never judge people based on our own ethics and beliefs.


May-01-14 12:30 AM

You do not kill a living person to take his organs. It is unethical to do this. It would be unethical for the organ recipient to take the organ. It is against the law to do something like this, besides. It would discourage others from being organ donors. Profoundly unethical, in every sense of the word.


Apr-30-14 10:12 PM

i got it stay out of jail


Apr-30-14 9:05 PM

"The way someone survives is important. What you are suggesting is profoundly unethical."

Andrea.. Those are big words, could you espouse please?


Apr-30-14 6:00 PM

Yes, there's always a chance someone has been wrongly convicted. Just in the last two years a couple of people have been exonerated and freed from death row. Our country has probably killed innocent men in this vile manner.


Apr-30-14 5:57 PM

The way someone survives is important. What you are suggesting is profoundly unethical.


Apr-30-14 5:23 PM

We now know that at least 1 in 25 Death Penalty victims are wrongly convicted. America's justice system, like America itself, is racist.

Black defendants receive the death penalty at three times the rate of White defendants in cases where the victims are White.


Apr-30-14 5:20 PM

Then that's their punishment, isn't it? I'd rather see someone like Lockett spend the next 50 years in a cage contemplating his misdeeds and hopefully coming to true repentance. Killing him left blood on our hands and made society akin to him at his worst. The people who had to witness that atrocity and the people who actually carried it out will be haunted by it. The punishment should have been only his.


Apr-30-14 5:20 PM

"I doubt many sick patients would want someone deliberately killed so they could take the organs. No ethical doctor would do such an evil thing, either."

Andrea... So you think a people in general would rather die than accept a donated organ from a person on death row? You are not very familiar with survival I guess.


Apr-30-14 5:12 PM

Andrea I'm pretty sure you are missing the whole point, the people are already sentenced to death we just utilize what is good from them if anything. It would not be murder anymore than the death penalty already is. It is not immoral to stop very very bad people from harming others, it is called justice.

The tangled web you weave debates a lifetime in a cage over the death penalty. Many people would rather be dead than locked away for 50 plus years in a cage.


Apr-30-14 4:27 PM

Early Bird, that is also state sanctioned murder. I doubt many sick patients would want someone deliberately killed so they could take the organs. No ethical doctor would do such an evil thing, either.


Apr-30-14 4:07 PM

Lets call this the Life Penalty. The guilty people are sentenced to be donors.


Apr-30-14 3:57 PM

Instead of outright killing them and wasting what was good I would use their organs to transplant into people who need a transplant. A true eye for an eye or heart for a heart etc... Pretty sure if they sedate them for surgery then remove the heart and other usable organs they wont be in pain or alive at all. At least in the end they would have helped another human to live.


Apr-30-14 3:15 PM

I think the purpose of the judicial system is more appropriately rehabilitation. People who come out of prison with no job skills or hope of finding work or a place to live are more dangerous to the rest of us. Even those in for life should have some useful occupations. I also believe in atonement and redemption and the value of second chances. Vengeance corrodes the soul. It does not help bring victims back or improve life for their family members if we torture a murderer to death.

Apr-30-14 2:56 PM

This is a very complicated issue. Yes it may seem uncivilized to execute a person for a crime and sometimes I feel it should be outlawed but then when you see or hear from some of the victims or relatives of some of the victims I am for it. All to many times have we seen people that commit terrible crimes go to jail and receive better treatment and live in better conditions than many Americans or other innocent people throughout the world live in. Just imagine what good we could do with the money used for housing, feeding and taking care of these criminals. The system is broke when lawbreakers go to jail and it's more like a exercise club or lounge than a prison. Jail should be someplace that people don't want to go to, make it tough and uncomfortable.


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