Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Uncruel and Usual Capital Punishment, Part Eight

Man, this blog has become like a Sylvester Stallone franchise, with things repeated over and over and over. For the record, however, I don't take steroids. And I don't write as well as Stallone. (People forget that Stallone is a writer, not just an actor. You have been reminded of his other talents.)

I seem to have digressed from the topic of capital punishment...unless, of course, you REALLY REALLY REALLY don't like Stallone.

As I mentioned previously in this blog, the Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the use of lethal injection as a method of capital punishment. RealClearPolitics has posted the thoughts of Debra Saunders on the topic:

[D]o not be fooled. The same thug-hugging lawyers who complain that a convicted killer - Goddess forbid - might conceivably feel pain during execution (if the drugs are not administered properly) often are the first to keep doctors out of the execution chamber, because they want the alleged possibility of pain as a legal argument.

That's how much they care about their clients. Or it shows how bogus they know their excruciating-pain argument to be.

Start with the bogus medical argument that the three-drug protocol may cause "excruciating pain" - and hence violates the Eighth Amendment protection against "cruel and unusual punishment." In that the Kentucky protocol starts with the administration of 10 times the amount of sodium pentothal needed to start invasive surgery, there is no chance that the other two drugs will cause pain for a convicted killer during execution. And no one has proven that an executed inmate has felt any pain from the three-drug cocktail.

Yes, some politicized medical journals have been willing to publish alleged research that supports the bogus pain argument, but they do so to their own discredit. In 2005, the British medical journal, The Lancet, ran a piece that reported that blood samples taken from executed prisons showed concentrations of the sodium pentothal that "were lower than that required for surgery in 43 of 49 executed inmates." It turns out the samples were taken as long as two days after death, which allowed the drug to dissipate.

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