Tuesday, April 29, 2014

If You Close Your Eyes Really Tight and Wish Really Hard

He did not experience pain, distress or air hunger after the drugs were administered or when the bodily movements and sounds occurred.
Good to know.  We can all sleep better now.  And of course, his family can drop the lawsuit.  Concerns satisfied.

McGuire, of course, is Dennis McGuire, he of the gruesome execution back in January.  You remember.  Alan Johnson described it in the Dispatch.
Dennis McGuire struggled, repeatedly gasping loudly for air and making snorting and choking sounds, before succumbing to a new two-drug execution method today. . . .After being injected at 10:29 a.m., about four minutes later McGuire started struggling and gasping loudly for air, making snorting and choking sounds which lasted for at least 10 minutes. His chest heaved and his left fist clinched as deep, snorting sounds emanated from his mouth. However, for the last several minutes before he was pronounced dead, he was still.
But the good folks at the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (Possible Mottos: Rehabilitating by Execution since 1999; Correcting unto Death) looked into it.  And they've concluded it was all hunky dory.  Everything went as planned.
[There was] no evidence that McGuire experienced any pain, distress or anxiety.
How do they know?  Did they ask him?  
Hey, Den.  You know when we killed you?  Did it hurt?
No answer?  Guess not.
Or maybe they brought in some superstar pathologist and did the latest scientific tests and discovered that . . . .

OK, here's what I think they did (and please guys from DRC, if I've got this wrong provide me with some evidence and explain): They checked the IV lines. They talked to the guards who were there. They spoke with Dr. Dershwitz and a couple of others who devised and vetted this scheme and certified it as at least a silver standard if not a gold one. They concluded that (1) it was done exactly the way it was planned, everyone following the script; (2) if it was done perfectly, he wouldn't have experienced any pain or agony because that's what the docs told us; (3) we wouldn't torture him; (4) It's all cool.

Which is how it goes.
In 1997, Florida killed Pedro Medina in the electric chair.   From CNN.
Witnesses and prison officials said a 6-inch flame arose from the right side of Medina's black leather face mask during the execution, flickering for several seconds and filling the room with smoke and the smell of burning flesh.
Other reports say the flames shot a foot in the air.  Either way, Florida investigated, concluded the problem was a bit of corroded copper but the good news was that, they said, Medina died instantly. Felt nothing.

Jesse Tafero had died instantly in that same chair back in 1990 while flames were shooting out of his head and even though they had to give him three jolts because he continued breathing after each of the first two.  But prison officials were sure.  They said he was dead after the first few seconds.

It's all of a piece.  And it's all nonsense.  But if they say it often enough, maybe they can convince themselves.  And then the rest of us.

Of course, there are those (read the comments to the news stories if you want to see) who think that torture is just fine.  Fuck the 8th Amendment.  

Except that we're supposed to be better than that.

Ohio by the way, while assuring us all that Dennis McGuire's execution went perfectly and was a model of wholesomeness even if it looked a little messy, has determined that next time it's upping the doses of both drugs.  AP reports.
The department said it "finds no harm in increasing the dosage levels of its drugs," after consulting with its medical expert and examining other states' practices, spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said.
No harm?  Well, yeah.  I suppose.  On the other hand, why? If it ain't broke . . . . And they swear it ain't.  

Oh, yeah.  Even they don't believe their bullshit.

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