Ever since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976 after a four year hiatus, there’s been a bizarre and sick attempt to find a “humane” way to execute prisoners. The latest has popped up (where else?) in Oklahoma. They had to change their method after a botched execution lat year. The latest method is our old acquaintance, gas, but a different variety, which is being called “foolproof” by the idiot Governor of Oklahoma:
Oklahoma became the first US state to approve nitrogen gas for executions under a measure Governor Mary Fallin signed into law Friday that provides an alternative death penalty method if lethal injections aren’t possible, either because of a court ruling or a drug shortage.
Executions are on hold in Oklahoma while the US supreme court considers whether the state’s current three-drug method of lethal injection is constitutional. Supporters of the new law maintain nitrogen-induced hypoxia is a humane and painless method of execution that requires no medical expertise to perform.
“Oklahoma executes murderers whose crimes are especially heinous,” Fallin said in a statement announcing that she had signed the bill into law.
“I support that policy, and I believe capital punishment must be performed effectively and without cruelty. The bill I signed today gives the state of Oklahoma another death penalty option that meets that standard.”
There it is: the futile quest. There is NO WAY to humanely kill a human being. Any method is inherently cruel but depressingly usual. There seems to be no proof that this method will work quickly and humanely. It hasn’t been tested on lab rats or even on rattlesnakes or some other varmint native to the state. The first use will be on death row prisoners. This is shockingly casual even for a bloodthirsty state like Oklahoma.
The states in the death belt have spent years assuring us that lethal injections were not cruel but there’s mounting evidence to the contrary. They’ve argued that they’re more humane than the electric chair, gas chamber, or hanging. Lethal injections aren’t humane, they’re simply more sanitized than previous methods. In the context of capital punishment, humane = quick. The only quick methods of state sponsored murder than I can think of are the guillotine or firing squad. The first method conjures up images of Madame DeFarge kniting her way through beheadings and the second is only currently used by the state of Utah. I think the Beehive state is on to something: a bullet to the chest or head may be barbaric but it’s quick.
The only way around the futile quest is, of course, abolition of the death penalty but that’s not going to happen in the benighted states that populate the death belt. They’ll continue seeking an allegedly non-cruel and humane method of killing people until the Supreme Court does what it did in 1972 and declares it unconstitutional, which is a futile quest in and of itself.