Friday, January 17, 2014

Another Government Screw Up

On February 12, 1989 Dennis McGuire killed Joy Stewart and her unborn baby.  On Thursday, January 16, 2014 McGuire was executed by lethal injection.  By all accounts McGuire spent about 14 years in the justice system, ended up on the go to Jesus cart with a needle in his arm and took 25 minutes to expire noisily from a botched execution.

The citizens of Ohio should be marching on the State Capitol with torches and pitchforks, tar and feathers and effigies of every single elected weasel in State government.  They aren't, and here's why along with a nice diatribe on why they should.

My objections to the death penalty are:
  1. The screwed up justice system not only allows innocent people to end up on death row, but also allows them to get off of death row via the wrong exit.  In polite language, the innocent are executed and leave in a box.
  2. The entire process takes too long and is far too expensive.  The prisoner spends years on death row, and that is cruel and unusual punishment.  The lawyers don't work for free.
  3. I consider life in prison without possibility of parole a much more severe punishment than death.
  4. Executions in the United States get screwed up all the time.  If the State is going to execute someone, I would think the very least the State would be able to do is find a quick, humane method of execution.  The State is unable to do so, and that amount of incompetence is criminal.
It seems that the manufacturer of the good old go-to-hell juice that Ohio has been using as a hot shot has seen fit to cut Ohio off at the knees, and it isn't because the State has failed to pay the last invoice in a timely manner.  So the pompous jackasses in the Ohio State government decided on a brand new formula, which I wrote about here, in Another Execution, Another Government Screw-Up.  I advocate switching to the Firing Squad, and I have very good reason for doing so (follow the link and read the post if you're insatiably curious).  In short, the new go-to-hell cocktail failed to render a quick, painless death as some of us expected it might.  For instance, attorney and death penalty opponent Jeff Gamso wrote about it here, in They Can't Say They Weren't Warned by Jeff Gamso
It's what an expert anesthesiologist told Judge Gregory Frost that Dennis McGuire might experience when the good people of the State of Ohio put McGuire to death with intravenous doses of midazolam and hydromorphone, a combination never before used anywhere in an execution.
Frost said, sure, maybe. It's an experiment. But he wasn't convinced the risk was severe enough to stop it.

So a Judge, a real genuine, bonafide gavel-pounder wasn't convinced by an anesthesiologist, a professional who deals with this kind of thing every day he goes to work, that this concoction was a bad idea.  What an inspiration of confidence in our legal system Judge Frost is to us, the Great Unwashed.  The local scandal sheet had a few articles about this.  Check the links as you like.

From The Blade: Lawyer says Ohio killer's execution was botched; inmate gasps, takes almost 25 minutes to die
Nearly 25 minutes passed between the time the lethal drugs began flowing and McGuire was pronounced dead at 10:53 a.m.
From The Blade: Ohio executions face criticism after unusual death
Family of inmate killed by new 2-drug method to sue
Family members of death row inmate Dennis McGuire planned a news conference today to announce a lawsuit over McGuire’s death, which they are calling unconstitutional. And it’s almost certain lawyers will use McGuire’s Thursday execution to challenge Ohio’s plans to put a condemned Cleveland-area killer to death next month.
“All citizens have a right to expect that they will not be treated or punished in a cruel and unusual way,” defense attorney Jon Paul Rion, representing McGuire’s adult children, said Thursday. “Today’s actions violated that constitutional expectation.”
McGuire’s attorney Allen Bohnert called the convicted killer’s death “a failed, agonizing experiment” and added: “The people of the state of Ohio should be appalled at what was done here today in their names.”
Emphasis mine.

Yes, the people of Ohio, the Great Unwashed should be deeply offended and appalled over this botched execution.  Most are not, but they should be.  Here's why.

I was raised on a horse farm.  We had horses, dogs and cats, and we loved 'em all.  One hard fact I learned early in life and that every pet owner knows is that you will very likely outlive your pet.  When your much beloved dog, cat, horse or whatever becomes too old and sick to have a decent quality of life, you euthanize your pet.  This isn't a pleasant deal and no one likes to do it, but from a moral standpoint it must be done.  So being a responsible pet owner, you arrange for as quick and painless a death as possible.  Now think.  I know it's painful, but try anyway.  When you take your dog for that final trip to the veterinarian you have every reason to believe that your loyal old dog will just fall asleep and not wake up.  The process should take less than a minute once drugs are injected.  Just what would you do if you had to watch while your dog suffered for 25 minutes?

The morals that cause us to be repulsed by the infliction of needless pain and suffering are what separates us from them.  Take that away and we are functionally no better than the violent sociopaths who prey on the weaker members of society.

As I've stated earlier, I'm against the death penalty.  However, if the State of Ohio is going to sentence people to death and carry out the sentence, I would expect the elected officials in our government to be competent enough to decide on a humane method of execution, and they are unable to do so.  That amount of complete incompetence is absolutely criminal, and shows the moral turpitude that exists right now, today, in the State government.

Burn 'em all in effigy, tar and feather 'em and run 'em out of town on a rail.


CWMartin said...

I think we've been down this road once, but let me say the piece of a death penalty supporter. I didn't have a problem with what happened to him. The bleeding hearts that cry about it being cruel and unusual should never have fought against guillotines, hangings, and firing squads, and he should have never committed the crime. I agree the burden of proof has to be VERY substantial to warrant the death penalty; but I do believe it was libs taking the original tools of the trade away that made this guy suffer.

Old NFO said...

Yep, they screwed the pooch this time...

Mad Jack said...

CWMartin: You make a good point. I've watched as death penalty opponents attack the execution method rather than the death sentence, and now we're seeing some of the results.