The Norman Transcript


May 5, 2014

Botched execution should be death knell

NORMAN — As fervently as some may support the death penalty by lethal injection, when the process becomes the least bit messy, most of us would prefer to hide.

Oklahoma began lethal injection in America. And the state has brought the nation the latest sickening example of the method’s problems. On the evening of April 29, Oklahoma death row inmate Clayton Lockett’s execution went wrong. It was unclear when the sedative rendered him unconscious. He writhed and clenched his teeth, appearing to struggle against his holds as prison officials injected his vein with the drugs.

Prison officials reacted quickly as Lockett’s execution turned from an antiseptic medical procedure into a debacle. They hastily pulled the execution chamber’s curtain shut, lest the witnesses present be forced to watch the condemned actually fight to hang on to life.

That’s not how we like this show to go. In America, we like the capital punishment to be more like a monitored death in hospice care, a permanent sedative ushering a long good night.

That dishonesty is the basis for how we’ve reached a legal and moral conundrum. Increasingly, states are taking steps to keep the drugs they are using a secret, along with the identities of the scantly regulated compounding pharmacies where they buy the drugs and even how the payments are being made. This makes it impossible to determine whether or not the new, ever evolving lethal drug cocktails administered meet the constitutional standard of sparing the condemned from “cruel or unusual” punishment.

The American way of execution is in legal crisis — that much is obvious regardless of whether one is for or against the death penalty. States can’t defend the use of drugs they won’t name, nor can citizens demand that justice be done to those on death row.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Tax free starts today

    A few years ago, Oklahoma shoppers were getting used to driving south to take advantage of Texas’ tax-free weekend. The outlet mall on Interstate 35 near Gainesville was packed with as many Oklahoma tagged cars as those from Texas....

    August 1, 2014

  • Just wondering about things

    Editor, The Transcript: Why are our companies still investing so much in China, now that they own over a trillion dollars of our debt? Why is China pouring billions into their military and threatening many of their neighbors? Why don’t we ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Top conservatives, liberals

    Three local lawmakers made the lists of top 10 conservatives and top 10 liberals in the Oklahoma Constitution’s 2014 Conservative Index. Editor Steve Byas reported that it’s the 36th year for the publication’s index....

    August 1, 2014

  • Marijuana a gateway for new OK voters

    A poll this past year showed significant Oklahoma support for legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The poll showed that more than 71 percent of those surveyed thought medical marijuana was appropriate for patients who ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Expansion effect evaluated

    Editor, The Transcript: The effect of the Medicaid expansion rejection and acceptance on hospitals’ uncompensated costs are now being evaluated....

    July 31, 2014

  • America paying the piper

    Every third American you pass on the street has debts that have been turned over to a collection agency whose 140,000 workers are keeping the phones ringing....

    July 31, 2014

  • State is No. 2 in barbecue

    Americans love the marriage of smoke, fire and meat, but geography plays a part in how strong the passion is. Estately Blog has created a map charting which states are home to the most barbecue enthusiasts. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 in ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Community Action mostly closed due to cutbacks

    Editor, The Transcript: The Community Action, at 1155 E Main St. in Norman, for decades has served Cleveland County with the following everyday services: a food pantry, short-term housing for the homeless, providing rides for those without ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Keep guns off campus

    Some Oklahoma lawmakers just won’t let the issue of allowing handguns on campus to go away. A joint legislative study will take a look at campuses around the nation to see if there is a way to accommodate faculty, staff and students who ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014