What Allen Stairs, a philosopher at the University of Maryland, said in the tweet below sums up my feelings about the death penalty and the horrific events yesterday in Oklahoma. It also includes a live-tweet account of the events as they happened.
Just fuck yourself, Oklahoma; just fuck yourself. pic.twitter.com/N08nUb17XZ
— Allen Stairs (@AllenStairs) April 30, 2014
This is not an isolated case:
The chilling history of botched executions: http://t.co/KNm4AbXu7x
— Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias) April 30, 2014
From the above article by Brad Plumer:
It’s not the first time an execution dragged on because of the new drugs being used for lethal injections. In January, Ohio tried to execute a man with an untested cocktail — and it took 24 minutes for him to die. “[Dennis] McGuire started struggling and gasping loudly for air,” NPR reported, “making snorting and choking sounds which lasted for at least 10 minutes.”
And the history goes back even further than that. As Amherst law professor Austin Sarat documents in his new book, Gruesome Spectacles, executions gone horribly wrong have been a mainstay in the US for as long as the death penalty has been around.
By Sarat’s calculations, 3 percent of all executions between 1890 and 2010 have been “botched” (that is, they didn’t go according to protocol). That includes electric chairs catching on fire and hangings that led to decapitations. And, in fact, these “botched” executions have become even more common with the advent of lethal injections — about 7 percent have gone awry.
Were these people convicted of doing horrible things? Yes.
By electing to do horrible things to them, instead of condemning them…we join them.