In an amazingly dishonest and sloppy column Flavia Colgan attempts to make the case for the "cruel and unusual" inhumanity of lethal injection currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.
"In Tennessee and Texas, when animals are being put down, the chemical pancuronium bromide has been outlawed due to the excruciating pain it subjects the dying animals to.
Yet in lethal injections administered to death-row inmates, Texas, Tennessee and dozens of other states use pancuronium bromide, which stops breathing and causes paralysis before a final injection causes the heart to stop."
What Colgan conveniently declines to tell her readers is that before a convicted killer in either of those states is given pancuronium bromide, he is first given an general anaethetic like Sodium thiopental. So much for the excruciating pain, Ms. Colgan claims to be so worried about.
She goes on:
"Leaving aside your feelings about the death penalty for a moment, surely this is a terrible example for a nation as advanced as ours to set."
It might be if it were true but it's not so it isn't. As for leaving aside one's feeling about the death penalty, clearly Ms. Colgan can't or won't. The terrible example being set here is to commentary journalism.
"During lethal injections, proponents of the method say, prisoners are first euthanized, so they can't feel the effects."
Prisoners are not "first euthanized," they are first anaethetised. They are rendered unconscious. Euthanasia is the process of "mercy killing."
"Not so, not all the time. In a number of cases, says Amnesty International USA, lethal injections took from 20 minutes to an hour to kill, leaving inmates grimacing, gasping for air and convulsing. Mistakes are often made and prisoners are not "put under" deeply enough, suffering a long and cruel death."
Amnesty International is perhaps the leading opponent of capital punishment in the world. It would deem being "loved" to death by Angelina Jolie cruel and barbaric.
"Additionally, severe foot-long chemical burns to the skin and abandoned needles have been found in the autopsies, with the initial paralysis masking the prisoner's ability to show the pain that was caused."
Wrong, the anaethesia prevents the prisoner from FEELING pain.
"For all these reasons, the American Medical Association and the Society of Correctional Physicians have urged their members not to administer lethal injections. The American College of Physicians calls it "unethical."
Wrong again. It's not the method that has these groups opposed, it's the politics. These groups are anti-capital punishment. Would they be involved if the method being used were a firing squad?
"Why is this important? Because the use of lethal injections was in front of the Supreme Court last week, with almost no coverage. But I was there to hear the arguments in Baze v. Rees loud and clear.
The case is fascinating because the two prisoners, Ralph Baze and Thomas Bowling, aren't challenging their convictions, or even their death sentences. Rather, they're challenging the method that the state of Kentucky uses to kill by lethal injection.
They argued that there is a well-demonstrated risk of the process going wrong, subjecting them and others to cruel and unusual punishment.
They also argued that there are other chemicals that are more effective and less painful, and that courts should step in to evaluate the procedure. Basically, they're asking to be killed in a way with as little risk of drawn-out, excruciating pain as is possible."
Complete baloney. This is just another example of the anti-death penalty movement seizing on anything it can to delay an execution or executions. Let's cut to the chase...
"There was one other troubling outcome from the Supreme Court hearing.
Justice Antonin Scalia, while hearing arguments, mused that if the court took too long to consider this case, or sent the case back down to lower courts for additional consideration, there could be "a national cessation of executions" that could last for years.
"You wouldn't want that to happen," he said.
Coglan is outraged:
"Heaven forbid! Putting a hold on executions while we examine the methods we use to ensure they are as humane as possible? What a cruel, cruel world!"
You get it, even if Coglan doesn't.
Scalia sees through the motives of the anti-death penalty lawyers in the case and sardonically calls them on it. He's on to their game. And so are most reasonable people. These complaints about the "excruciating" "pain" caused by lethal injection are ridiculous. The method itself was specifically devised to diminish unnecessary pain from the process and it does. Ask any honest anaethesisologist and they'll tell you.
Again, the ultimate goal of the anti-lethal injection crowd is to outlaw capital punishment, period.
As Colgan makes clear:
"I HOPE THIS TREND toward slowing and eventually ending the death penalty continues because I don't believe it's our place to play God.
But, at the very least, I hope the court and the American people think deeply about whether we can consider ourselves an advanced nation when a method of execution deemed too cruel to subject dogs to is perfectly acceptable for killing humans.
The deep thinker is wrong again. In most places, it is perfectly legal to euthanize a dog with a single shot of sodium pentibarbitol to the heart. Many vets don't render the animal unconscious first. However, every state that uses lethal injection to execute a human murderer does. The least Colgan can do if she wants to be considered a deep thinker is get her facts straight.