A quick review.
Chapter 1: January, 1993. Ron Phillips brutally (and really, there was no way to do it that wasn't brutal) raped and murdered 3-year-old Sheila Marie Evans.
Chapter 2: Ron Phillips is sentenced to die. His case works its way through the courts, state and federal. Lose. Lose. Lose. He gets an execution date: November 14, 2013.
Chapter 3: It's getting close. The Parole Board said to kill Ron Phillips. The governor agreed.
Chapter 4: Ron Phillips offers to donate his organs. His mother is on dialysis from kidney disease. His sister has serious heart problems. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, which is what we call it here in Ohio, says nope. No can do. No way to do that. Julie Carr Smyth reported.
Prison officials scrambled to review Phillips’ last-minute request, which they called unprecedented, but ultimately could not figure out a way to get the 40-year-old to and from an offsite hospital while following security procedures leading up to an execution.
Chapter 5: Reprieved! The gov steps in and puts off the killing until July 2, 2014, so they can try to figure out how to take the organs and then murder Phillips. The press release says
Ronald Phillips committed a heinous crime for which he will face the death penalty. I realize thisis a bit of uncharted territory for Ohio, but if another life can be saved by his willingness to donatehis organs and tissues then we should allow for that to happen.Chapter 6: Outrage. Art Caplan, the founding head of the Division of Bioethics at NYU's Langone Medical Center, told Julie Carr Smyth and Amanda Lee Myers of AP.
"It's unethical because this guy who's being executed raped and killed a 3-year-old. When you donate your organs, there's a kind of redemption," Caplan said. "Punishment and organ donation don't go well together. I don't think the kinds of people we're executing we want to make in any way heroic."
Ethics, you see, requires that the people we kill must be purely evil. So they can't be allowed to do anything decent.
World Enough, and Time
Here's the thing. Maybe Ron Phillips, evil sombitch that he is, with the aid of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, could end up saving a life or two. And still we'd get to kill him. Really, a win win you might think.
Oh, Phillips giving up his kidneys or some bone marrow or whatever wouldn't make up for the pain he's caused, won't bring Sheila Marie Evans back, won't change the past. And DRC isn't really in the business of saving lives. But still.
Except there's a problem. After serious surgery, people don't just bounce back. There's ICU and then recovery in the hospital and then rehab and really, there's got to be time to acknowledge all the get well soon cards. DRC figures that's 100 days. Minimum. And Phillips is going to be killed in 102 days. And the extractions haven't even been scheduled.
So there's just not time enough to cut him open, and then get him back on his feet and ready to be laid on the table and murdered.
What to do? What to do? What to do?
Ask Kasich for another reprieve? DRC could do that. But like I say, they're not in the business of saving lives. They are, though, in the business of taking lives. In our names. The people's business, is perhaps how they think of it. Alan Johnson in the Dispatch.
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction told Phillips today that because he would not be able to complete the transplant by Sunday, he would not be allowed to proceed with the surgery.
And then, and without any apparent awareness of the irony - or the absurdity.
Prison officials said they wanted Phillips’ surgery done at least 100 days in advance so he would have time to recuperate before being executed.
Because deadlines. Because killing Ron Phillips is more important than saving a few lives. (Call it anti-deterrence if you like.)
Because Fuck You.
I took the title of Chapter 7 from Andrew Marvell's poem, "To His Coy Mistress." Here it is.