July 18, 2024

Executions Down Nationally…

…but they’re up in Texas. The Houston Chronicle reports:

The convicted killer of a 3-year-old boy is set to die this week, the first of five lethal injections scheduled this month as Texas bucks a national trend and bolsters its standing as the most active in carrying out capital punishment.

Twenty-four condemned Texas killers were executed in 2006, accounting for 45 percent of all the executions in the United States. While the national count of 53 was seven fewer than 2005, the Texas total was up five from the previous year.

Meanwhile, executions of convicted murders have been halted after a botched lethal injection there kept a killer alive twenty minutes longer than usual. Governor Jeb Bush “wants to ensure the process does [not] constitute cruel and unusual punishment”.

Should Texas “stand down” in regards to its policy of executing murders? The StandDown Texas Project seems to think so. So does Romano Prodi, Prime Minister of Italy. The Colosseum is alight this week in protest of Saddam Hussein’s execution and Prodi has been reported as saying, “no crime can justify one person killing another”.

As this is plainly not true, I disagree. Saddam, while hardly the worst world leader, murdered hundreds and maimed thousands more. His execution was duly earned. While the ironic taunts he heard in the last few moments may have been politically inadvisable they have nothing to do with the justice he received.

As for the current flap over lethal injection in America being “cruel and unusual punishment, I think that Cal Thomas of Tribune Media summed matters up quite well when he wrote:

Which of the following scenarios constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, as prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution: (1) aborting a baby with a fully developed nervous system and probably inflicting great pain; (2) murdering a nightclub manager in cold blood; (3) taking 34 minutes — twice the normal time — to execute the murderer of the nightclub manager?

Anti-death penalty forces want us to believe (3).

One wishes such considerations were available to relatives of the deceased, and to the deceased themselves, who are not given a choice in the method of their execution, much less the option of continuing to live.

As to the constitutional issue regarding cruel and unusual punishment, here too, some history may be helpful. This is why “original intent” of the Founders is important to consider, because what they meant by the phrase and what we think we believe about it differs considerably.At the time the Bill of Rights was written, the authors specifically sought to ban such execution methods as burning at the stake, crucifixion and breaking on the wheel.

To avoid this legal hair-splitting, return to an earlier and acceptable method of execution that ensures justice is done and inflicts minimal pain on the guilty: the firing squad.

There is, as far as I am concerned, only one issue with applying the death penalty: that the condemned be guilty of the charge of murder. Texas’ commitment to the pursuit of justice should be commended, not criticized.

Thanks, Cal, for putting the truth out there for us to read in prose so clear that even a liberal should understand it.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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