Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Eat Here, Get Gas

One of the quirks about the death penalty: The attending physician always swabs the arm of the inmate who is about to be given a lethal injection It is one of the most tremendous schisms of Hippocratic reality imaginable. At one instant, you are doing everything you can to benefit the patient, making sure the needle doesn't leave a nasty infection. The very next you are connecting them to a pump that will insert a potion of death. I suppose it would be complete overkill to do an autopsy after the fact.
It's an unpleasant thought, even for those who might seek to further the cause: The Death Penalty. It gets passionate responses from both sides, pro and con. There are a lot of practical concerns that come up for both sides: the appellate system, the consistent application of the sentence, and the expense. It costs way too much to kill people these days. In a country where we are trying to cut costs at every turn, why are we spending so much on the death penalty?
Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed last Wednesday for the hate crime slaying of James Byrd Jr. more than a decade ago, asked for two chicken fried steaks, a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, a pound of barbecue, three fajitas, a meat lover's pizza, a pint of ice cream and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts. Prison officials in Houston said Brewer didn't eat any of it. As a result, there will be no more last meal requests granted to death row inmates in Texas. In Florida, they have a forty-dollar limit, which would have covered a good chunk of Byrd's feast, But is that really the point? Even Amnesty International couldn't find much to be incensed about: “It’s a minor thing compared with the fact that they are killing him. The cruelty of the whole process is much larger than whether you get to pick the last meal that you eat.”
And so on that, we can all agree.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe they clean the arms so they don't get the needles dirty. So they can use them over and over again to save money...