Maybe it’s time for Americans to rethink the death penalty completely. Do we really need it? No. Does it do any good? No. Can we continue to pretend that it deserves to exist? I don’t think so.
Here’s the problem I see: In a nutshell, we want to punish murderers as severely as possible, but we don’t want to make them suffer. We want to be humanely inhumane.
We need to ask ourselves some questions.
Why do we insist on such an elaborate, labyrinthine and expensive set of procedures, delays and appeals? Is it because we are really hoping to find a way not to execute?
Why do we handle executions so poorly? Can’t we see that it may be because we really don’t want to handle them at all? Why do pharmaceutical companies not want their lethal drugs attributed to them? Why do we assign the job of killing to people whose skill is in administering prisons, not administering drugs? And why, then, are we shocked when executions get distasteful? Why do we continue the ugly practice and try to disguise its ugliness?
Killing defenseless prisoners is a nasty business that debases and disgraces our country. We should be better than this.