Welcome to Buster's Blog

Irregular commentary on whatever's on my mind -- politics, sports, current events, and life in general. After twenty years of writing business and community newsletters, fifteen years of fantasy baseball newsletters, and two years of email "columns", this is, I suppose, the inevitable result: the awful conceit that someone might actually care to read what I have to say. Posts may be added often, rarely, or never again. As always, my mood and motivation are unpredictable.

Buster Gammons

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Arkansas Madness

As I'm sure you've heard, the state of Arkansas has gone officially stark raving mad.  They intended to execute 8 death row inmates in a two-week span before the end of this month.  This would have been a new American capital punishment record for both speed and quantity.

Why the rush?  Arkansas' supply of one of the lethal injection drugs will expire on April 30th and they're not sure they'll be able to get more.  (It's like asking the hangman to pick up the pace because we're running low on rope -- absurd, but not really funny.)

Courts have granted stays of execution for three of the eight men.  Makers of the drugs to be administered are objecting because their drugs were never intended for this use.  And it's unclear if Arkansas obtained its supply of these drugs legitimately.

Nevertheless, Arkansas intends to go forward and start killing the five men without stays, beginning tomorrow night.  Madness!

Regular readers know Buster is opposed to the death penalty.  Here's a snippet of an old post from 2014, just after Ohio's last execution:

Today we Buckeyes showed we're not only still dedicated to official government-sanctioned killing, we're willing to get creative about it.  Ignoring all objections and protests, we took a Death Row prisoner and field-tested our own brand-new chemical concoction on him.  It was a blend of massive doses of a sedative and a painkiller.  (Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested we toss in some Drain-O and some Clorox for good measure.)  Whatever it was, the shit killed him, but it took 15 minutes and he was convulsing, twitching and gasping for the last 10 minutes.  And yes, he was a murderer.

The funny thing about any form of criminal punishment, from probation to a jail sentence to execution, is that it never eliminates similar future crimes.  Society continues to insist on its pound of flesh -- a price must be paid -- but the members of that society seem to keep doing the same stupid criminal shit again and again, no matter what we do to them.  I won't pretend to have any answers. 

I'm opposed to the death penalty and I know I'm in the minority.  Execution changes nothing, but if our social compact requires that we avenge a death with another death, then what the State of Ohio did today is not the way.  We've done away with the gallows, the gas chamber and the electric chair for a reason.  Trial-and-error Popular Mechanics-style lethal injections are not the answer.

So how about this?  If some bad people simply must be executed, let's bring back the guillotine.  The desired death is certain, painless and instantaneous, but it's a little messy.  The head bounces on the floor, blood spurts all over, but that sumbitch is dead for sure.  The guillotine, in all its breath-taking, gory finality might also make some of the capital punishment cheerleaders get up close and personal with their own motives, and maybe think twice.

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