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Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016

What's alternative to lethal injection?

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I would have thought by now that imposing the death penalty in the United States would no longer be a point of discussion. But there remains a vocal minority who will oppose the use of capital punishment regardless of the circumstances. They believe apparently that no crime exists that is so repugnant to society that it requires the ultimate punishment of death. And just as a side issue, they completely refuse to ignore the unbelievable financial price on society to house these murderers for a lifetime.

Now comes yet another argument against the death penalty and this one is truly laughable. Attorneys in a dozen states have filed lawsuits seeking to ban lethal injections claiming they are "cruel and unusual." They believe that the drugs administered to the murderers do not render them without pain just prior to the lethal drugs ending their lives. Now it's hard to ask a dead man if in fact he was in any pain just prior to the lethal injection. But that's the source of their argument.

Various states mandate the firing squad, hanging, the gas chamber, the electric chair or lethal injection in the case of a death sentence. More states - 37 in all - use lethal injection because the experts say it is the most effective and without pain to the condemned. But that does not stop the death penalty opponents.

The lawyers argue that convicted murderers will be "tortured to death" if subjected to lethal injection. Of course supporters of the death penalty counter that "lethal injections, as they are currently performed in the United States, represent the most humanely possible means of executing a condemned murderer."

So there you have it.

My question is why we are even having this discussion? Cruel and unusual is a subjective term that means different things to different people. And if a small amount of pain is involved, who really cares?

As important, however, is the question of who will pay the cost to litigate these silly cases. Why should taxpayers be forced to finance a group of attorneys who have a slanted notion of right and wrong? Why use precious court time and energy to fight a battle that has been resolved for years and years?

Here's what the courts should do. Tell the bleeding-heart attorneys that we agree lethal injections are cruel and unusual and then give them 30 days to come up with an alternative. Outlawing capital punishment is not one of their options. That should shut-up these asinine attorneys once and for all.

Or at least until the next silly challenge.

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