Whew, that was close!
Poor Texas, down to it's last shot. One left for Number 1.
We're talking penobarbital, the drug of choice for state-performed murder. And after Texas killed Manuel Vasquez earlier this month, they were about done.
The shortage of killin' drugs is, of course, hardly news. Pharmaceutical companies don't want to be in the business of providing drugs to help states kill their people. (It's not all noble sentiment - they're in the money-making business as much as the drug business, and there's a lot of blowback. Bad PR. Worldwide problems. So states scramble.
The old 3-drug sequence (thiopental, pancuronium bromide, potassium chloride) gave way to single doses of pentobarbital and then odd mixes with midazolam and then obviously-fucked-up killings. So new plans. Unregulated compounding pharmacies, secretly chosen, passing drugs under highway overpasses late at night and then sneaking them into the prisons in the guards' underwear. Utah's bringing back the firing squad. Oklahoma's on the verge of poison gas (an allegedly friendly one). Other states want to restore the chair.
And Texas, which has for years now been the execution capital of the nation, was down to a single dose of pentobarbital with another bunch of guys with dates in the next couple of months lined up to be offed. So they could whack Kent William Sprouse on April 9, but then? Hell, they had 3 more planned for April alone.
Would the Lone Star State, the "whole other country" as the tourist board used to say, collapse? Would it have to leave the union? Again? Would the Republic of Texas (that's what they were after breaking away from Mexico and before joining the U.S. of A.) survive?
Rest easy. Texas found a supply. They won't say from where (if they told you, they'd have to kill you, and the supply is limited), but they've got enough of what they allege to be pentobarbital to get through next month.
I'll be in Texas for a few days in late June. I'm now confident that Texas will still be there. Standing tall.