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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.
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