Society must do better than hold botched executions

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Clayton Lockett, convicted of crimes aptly described as evil incarnate, was, nonetheless, himself a victim of an abhorrent crime perpetrated by the state of Oklahoma.

Lockett was executed in April via untested drugs that resulted in his writhing and groaning on the table that was to be his deathbed for close to three quarters of an hour before succumbing to a heart attack. Unfortunately, Lockett is not alone on the wrong side of American injustice.

Joseph Wood, a convicted double murderer, last month was tortured to death — and this is torture — by the state of Arizona (“Ariz. Execution Sparks Debate on Methodology,” July 27). Wood’s veins were injected with a combination of drugs, used only once before in an execution, resulting in his gasping and snorting until he expired two hours later.

Lockett and Wood were monsters. To Google their names and read of their crimes is to learn of the lowest rungs of inhumanity. But we, as a people, cannot allow ourselves and our governments to stoop to their morally absent level. We have to be better than them.

Tea Party types flood airwaves to remind their fellow citizens of the Second Amendment; let them be reminded that there is also an Eighth, and it prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, including torture. Said party’s silence on this issue is proof positive that their Constitution thumping is but a public relations gimmick designed to convince us that their agenda is continuous with an American tradition they willfully misunderstand.

Michael McCune

Mt. Lebanon


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