The so-called ‘botched execution‘ that occurred this past week in Oklahoma has made some waves in the political sphere, bringing the death penalty into focus as a topic of discussion once again. States that still have capital punishment on the books have been struggling in recent years to secure a steady supply of the drugs needed to carry out the punishment of the most heinous offenders. The case in Oklahoma, where a new mixture of drugs was being tested and the results didn’t pan out all that well, in terms of the normal efficiency with which a lethal-injection execution occurs, is an example of this.
Some of the three drugs used in a botched Oklahoma execution this week didn’t enter the inmate’s system because the vein they were injected into collapsed, and that failure wasn’t noticed for 21 minutes, the state’s prison chief said, urging changes to the state’s execution procedure.
Medical officials tried for nearly an hour to find a vein in Clayton Lockett’s arms, legs and neck before finally inserting an IV into his groin, prisons director Robert Patton wrote in a letter to the governor Thursday detailing Lockett’s last day.
By the time a doctor lifted a sheet covering the inmate and noticed the line had become dislodged from the vein, all of the execution drugs had already been administered and there wasn’t another suitable vein, the report noted.
Lockett was eventually pronounced dead on the gurney about 40 minutes after the execution from an apparent heart attack. Clearly, Oklahoma has some investigative work to do to figure what went wrong and prevent this sort of abnormality from occurring in future death penalty executions. Although, if you ask the family of Lockett’s victim, 19-year-old Stephanie Neiman, they aren’t as sympathetic to his 40 minutes of possible suffering.
As expected, the Obama administration took notice and latched onto this case, announcing late on Friday that Attorney General Eric Holder has been ordered to perform a review of the death penalty at the federal level:
Obama said he’s asked Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an analysis of how death row criminals are killed after an execution attempt in Oklahoma left an accused murderer writhing and convulsing following a lethal injection.
“I think we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues,” Obama said during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while reaffirming his belief the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for certain crimes. [Emphasis added]
Yes, in fact, I think we do have to ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions about issues of humane treatment and capital punishment. I find it very fascinating that the execution of a convicted murderer, one who shows no remorse and fully admits his crime, has piqued the interest of the Justice Department to ensure humane and lawful means of ensuring the death penalty is carried out properly.
I am left wondering why there was not any similar outrage from the President regarding the case of abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell? The crimes committed against babies (chronicled here, here, and here), as they were delivered alive and then subsequently murdered with scissors to the spine surely would raise some difficult and profound questions about the topic of abortion. That’s not even mentioning the women who also died at the hands of Philadelphia’s very own Dr. Mengele.
The President, who often comments only on items of interest to his party’s base, could not bother to comment at all on the Gosnell case, despite being asked:
President Obama will not comment on the trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell because the trial is ongoing, a spokesman said Monday.
“The president does not and cannot take a position on an ongoing trial, so I won’t as well,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters when asked about the trial.
Following the incident in Oklahoma this very week, the President wasted no time in directing the Justice Department to take action. This is, of course, before Oklahoma has even had time to complete its own investigation.
Even following the guilty verdict in the Gosnell case, the administration couldn’t be bothered to comment let alone investigate the practices of abortion clinics and ensure that the House of Horrors in Philadelphia was an isolated incident. Unfortunately, after further investigation in relation to this case, we know it was not an isolated incident and similar atrocities continue to this day.
Whenever the Justice Department finishes ensuring convicted murderers are put to death in a humane manner, perhaps similar effort could be undertaken to ensure more viable babies are not being delivered onto tables and then stabbed with scissors?