Monday, March 15, 2010

To Kill in Eleven Hours

Governor Ted recognizes a certain irony in the situation.
So it is ironic, I will admit that. It’s a hugely unusual set of circumstances. But my obligation and I think the obligation of the state is to do everything that we can to observe the law as we understand it. And that’s what we’re doing in this case.
Of course, he's right about what they're doing.  And he's certainly right that the state is supposed to obey the law.  But he's somewhere between disingenuous and outright dishonest when he implies that the whole thing is out of his hands.  It's not.  And he can still fix it.  As I type this, he has just under 12 hours.
I'm talking about Lawrence Reynolds and his impending murder.
You remember what happened.
Reynolds is on death row.  As I explained last week, the prosecutor in his case cheated and the cheating may or may not be why he was sentenced to death, but since we don't know - and can't know - whether he would have been sentenced to die in a fair trial, he must be executed.
They wanted to kill him in the fall, but then the gang that couldn't poison flubbed the murder of Romell Broom.  That bought Reynolds a reprieve until last week.
Last week, though, with just under 36 hours to go before his murder, Reynolds tried to beat the system.  While under 24 hour constant watch, he got hold of an overdose of some pills (they won't tell us which, or how he pulled it off).  Another reprieve while they took him to the hospital to ensure that he would soon be healthy enough to be murdered.  Therein lies the irony Governor Ted recognized.
The question I asked last week was what, exactly, we're doing when we bring the almost dead back to life so that we can kill them.  What's our goal?  Why do we perform this farce?  Is it simply so that we can have the pleasure of the murder?  So that the relatives of the victim who are so inclined can have the pleasure and satisfaction of watching another killing?  Is it just for the show?
So the prison guards at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville keep an eye on Reynolds and record a minute by minute log of his activity (2:43 - had a cup of coffee; 2:47 - peed out a cup of coffee); so the friends and the lawyers and the reporters gather round; so the family of Loretta Mae Foster readies itself to watch a murder; so the execution team prepares to commit one, and so Governor Ted continues to let it happen while being bemused by the irony.
Wake up and smell the hemlock, Ted.  You can stop this.  If it seems ironic to you that we saved the life of man who wanted to end it so that we can kill him when he wants to live.  If that just sounds dumb.  If it makes a mockery of the whole thing.  If it says this is a farce and you're just Curly, Moe, and Larry.  If he's not dead yet because you won't let him be because he has to be made to die on your schedule, Ted.
If it's just a game.
And if it sure looks like the answer to all those ifs is, "Yes," as it does.
Then it's time for Methodist Minister and prison psychologist Governor Ted to step up.
Because you can stop this nonsense with the stroke of a pen.  
Commute the sentence.  That'll teach him.  And wash the blood from off the land.
And all of us.

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