Has a sitting governor ever taken it upon herself to absolve her constituents of murder most foul? Maybe, but I don’t recall it.
Here’s a remarkable statement by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R-Edrum) in a column published yesterday that addressed the recent botched execution:
“Justice was served. The people of Oklahoma do not have blood on their hands.”
If you say so, Lady MacBeth. Fucking sociopath. I wish I thought the horror and absurdity of this would make a damn bit of difference.[X-posted at Rumproast]
Make sure you take that statement to heaven with you, Oklahomans, signed by the Governor, when you go talk to your God.
What a shoob.
Forget about it Betty, it’s Oklahoma.
It’s a shame you couldn’t find any suitable tags for this post.
that’s probably the most tags I’ve ever seen on a post here
You who know so well the nature of my soul, would not suppose that I gave utterance to a threat. At length, I would be avenged.
One wonders what it would take to cross the ‘cruel and unusual’ line.
To a certain extent, she’s right — there are plenty of people in Oklahoma, I’m sure, who don’t support the death penalty and who take various actions to try to prevent people like her from getting anywhere near positions of power. It’s hard to lay this on them. The rest, however, including Fallin, that’s another story.
@The Golux: The sheer number of tags available usually prompts me to limit myself to a couple of catch-alls. This time, I just felt like adding all that applied, and I’m sure I missed at least half a dozen that would have fit…
We moved beyond that point when we allowed torture to be legitimized as a part of the lexicon of our society. The Bush/Cheney cabal may have led us very far down the rabbit hole, but only because we (as a society) chose to follow. We may not think that we have blood on our hands, but I have a feeling that history will judge us otherwise.
@MattF: When someone tried to justify the murder, I asked what it would take to cross that line? There was no answer.
Fallin really is a piece of work.
@Ash Can: I suspect a guilty conscience led her to make such an extraordinary statement in the first place. I know some will accuse me of assuming facts not in evidence to say she has a conscience at all. But I think she does, and I think it’s bothering her, which is why, well, the lady doth protest too much.
No one said the people of your state have blood on their hands, we said YOU have blood on your hands. If the people of your “great” state do nothing, then they get the blood too. I am confident, however, that there will be blood enough for all.
@MattF: I’d love to see the DoJ jump all over this and any other cases of death states experimenting on their prisoners like lab rats with their half-assed concoctions of lethal chemicals.
Sucks for him.
I’ll never understand why people hitch their wagon to guys like this (who shot a 19 year old woman, then buried her alive). Want to argue successfully against the death penalty? Focus on the 1 in 25 wrongfully convicted.
Most people would rather see a man like this dead than alive. Whether or not it’s morally acceptable for the state to kill people is beside the point here. Arguing that in the abstract makes sense, but carrying that logic into a case like this is counter productive… And as long as there are executions, there will be botched executions.
@The Golux: Oh you mere device!
Villago Delenda Est
This woman is exceedingly evil. She’s not yet to Lex Luthor/Asswipe in Wisconsin levels, but she’s definitely got that as a goal, it seems.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
I have difficulty responding to that without getting, ah, upset.
How about a critical thinking exercise discussing whether the history of the Holocaust is political propaganda? I wish I were kidding. Apologies if this has been discussed and I missed it.
@MattF: Allow me to paste wholesale from Wikipedia:
Setting aside that the principals which are deemed to constitute C&U punishment weren’t decided until 19fucking72, what are the odds that SCOTUS
wouldwouldn’t dance around them now?
Villago Delenda Est
@MattF: As far as Scalia is concerned, that line exists only as an academic exercise.
Is there a link to the Governor’s op-ed piece?
Iowa Old Lady
I’ve been traveling since Friday so I missed most of the political BS, and I have to say it’s very restful when that happens, because this stuff is just horrendous. No wonder people say they hate politics.
Considering that Oklahoma’s two backup methods are hanging and firing squad, both of which can lead to long and painful deaths, I’m not the least bit surprised by her attitude.
What’s more surprising is that states like Oklahoma (based on elected officials, not citizenry) didn’t reject the PC-execution method to begin with in favor of bludgeoning to death with the stock of an AR-15, or waterboarding because that’s what Jack Bauer, Mondays 8 (7 Central) on your local Fox affiliate, would have done.
@jrg: Because, jrg, no trial or execution exists in isolation. Each event, each mishap, affects the ones afterwards. Do you want this to be the new norm?
There’s a reason the “cruel and unusual punishment” amendment exists.
Villago Delenda Est
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Given that the perpetrators of the Holocaust knew how wrong it was when they came up with the idea, and started sanitizing the official record from the getgo, those who deny it are every bit as evil as those who perpetrated it.
Death Panel Truck
@Betty Cracker: I was thinking that too (great title, btw). I’m not holding my breath for her guilt to drive her to at least suspend the death penalty in OK until they can stop with the experimentation, though.
There’s a real sadistic streak that runs in many. The executed man did something horrific, so by the logic of sadism, it is our right and duty to ignore mercy and human dignity and make him suffer in the same proportion that he inflicted. So, of course, they don’t feel any guilt or have any disturbing thoughts about the method of execution.
I’m honestly wondering why states just don’t shoot up their condemned full of valium or some other sedative, drag them out back and put two into the back of their head. Would that be too graphic for the sensibilities of these folks or too merciful in comparison to letting them writhe in agony for a bit?
@Betty Cracker: I think it’s getting to the point that it would be easier just to indicate the tags you didn’t want, since actions by wingers increasingly reveal a smorgasbord of stupidity.
No, it sucks for us all. The fact that this guy was an evil sumbitch has nothing to do with it. Just as the tortured’s innocence or guilt has nothing to do with whether it’s right to torture or not.
I won’t, can’t, cede that argument.
ETA: What Belafon said @25
Ernesto Miranda was a lowlife criminal.
It doesn’t make Miranda rights a bad thing.
The whole idea of constitutional rights is that there’s a baseline that even the worst of us are entitled to under law.
And yet, there she is, a walking perversion of the Christian religion, always wearing a big cross at her neckline in any photo I see. This guy was a bad man, there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that he deserved severe punishment, but as soon as you start down the road of justifying the notion of giving as good as he did, and forgiving yourself for torture, you have become like him, and you no longer get to make the moral case for justice.
@aimai: There’s something on my head that you can’t describe.
@Comrade Dread: It’s like that show “Dexter”. Which I watched 1 episode of. I’m a girl who can handle violence when it has a point. But that show was creepy wish-fulfilment for sadists, in my opinion. Ick.
@Death Panel Truck: Right you are. Corrected and thanks!
@jrg: Ah, yes, it sucks to be Clayton Lockett. After all, “[m]ost people would rather see a man like this dead than alive.” And that’s what really counts here, is it not? Some people would say that by practicing capital punishment, our society lowers itself to the level of the most depraved criminals. But let’s put that to one side.
Whether you’re a big fan of state-administered death or not, it’s indisputable that Mr. Lockett paid the ultimate price for his crime. But what of his executioners? Are they not liable for torturing him to death? Are they immune from responsibility for the pain, suffering, terror and agony they inflicted on their victim before finishing him off nearly an hour after the whole ordeal began? Remember, this was a killing planned for months, years even. Practiced and rehearsed. No “heat of the moment” or snowball effect here. This was as carefully choreographed as a Ballanchine ballet.
If there’s no liability, if no one is responsible for the “botched execution” as that banal phrase so quaintly veneers it, if the governor absolves everyone including herself of any culpability, I submit that society has not simply lowered itself to the standard of a heinous murderer, but in fact has not even attained that standard. Lockett paid for his crime; our society doesn’t even recognize it has committed a crime.
@jrg: No one is hitching their wagon to that monster. We’d rather not become him, is all.
The question now isn’t whether Clayton Lockett should have been executed in the first place. (That is another question, and an interesting one; the justices of the state Supreme Court blocked the execution at first, and then rescinded that block when legislators threatened to impeach them.) It’s whether the state of Oklahoma, having bungled his execution so badly, can claim it did no wrong. It seems self-evident to me, and to others here, that it did a great wrong.
She signed a bill stopping local entities from raising the minimum wage.
The thought that she’d have second thoughts about killing a Black man is laughable.
If the horror of the massacre of 20 6 and 7 year-olds and 6 adults at Sandy Hook didn’t change the fucking ‘national conversation’ nothing will.
@Amir Khalid: Here you go.
In all seriousness, I think the death penalty is something that the smarter folks on the right struggles with a bit more than the left. They speak as though two in the head is perfectly sensible and practical, but I think they also realize the effect a casual execution would have.
See, the gas chamber, electric chair, and lethal injection aren’t actually designed to be more humane. They’re designed to not resemble actions that the public could take directly. Executions by hanging had to end at all costs, because the citizenry all across the south felt empowered to speed up the process. So the state mechanisms of death cannot look like mechanisms that you and I could carry out, because as soon as the state endorses a method, it becomes quite easy for the citizenry to rationalize their own authority to do the same thing. The right knows this. They know what happens when you put two in the back of the prisoner’s head. But they don’t dare admit it both because of how it would inevitably get out of hand, and also they know that the ‘casualness’ of the act would lead to the end of the death penalty. It needs to be some formal, elaborate, sanitized spectacle to survive.
Fallin’s comments on this makes me think she is not one of the smarter folks on the right. She should be calling for a more elaborate method to ‘ensure that this is humane’ (whether or not it actually is). By waving this away, she risks the courts siding against her, to the point that executions in the state may get shut down indefinitely.
Ma hands ah clean!”
Aka Pontius Pilote over the wash basin with an Okie Twang. The sheer headlong eagerness to do this at all cost, damn the torpedoes, never stop to reflect, consider or think can only increase the odds that some innocent is going to get dead hard, with corpses to the left and right top and bottom all witnessing a communal blood lust that can no longer be slaked with the tortured corpses of military adventures abroad, but has turned on its own, both by official means and by private volunteers battling over cell phones and taunts at school.
And they’re worried about god damned video games and hip-hop!
@C.V. Danes: You’re goddamn right. The cops torture. The legal system tortures. The prison system tortures. The military tortures. And this isn’t hyperbole or an occasional thing. I can find examples of all four of these for any week since 2001 you can name.
And pretty much everyone seems OK with that. That’s the worst part. Nobody denies that it happens. A short “fuck ’em, they deserved it” is the usual reaction.
Don’t exaggerate. It did change the conversation. It changed it to more lenient gun laws, and arming everyone short of 6 and 7 year-olds.
Villago Delenda Est
@coloradoblue: Alas, true. I despair for this country in the wake of Sandy Hook. I truly do.
Villago Delenda Est
Something or someone needs to be the scapegoat instead of the object of the fetish.
And Vanity Fair opens the War On Hillary 2016 today with a hit piece that rehashes that famous late 90’s Republican hit, Monica The Helpless Intern.
Hey, who owns Vanity Fair? Be interesting to know who funded this hit piece.
Villago Delenda Est
OT, but in perverse ways, related, from Noisemax:
Rep. Gowdy: Don’t Prejudge Benghazi Hearings
This is the guy who says he’s got solid evidence of a cover-up.
Do I detect another “whitey tape”?
Still waiting, asswipe.
Thank you. So the Governor’s argument is the old Auge um Auge, Zahn um Zahn.
@Villago Delenda Est: Technically not OT, since Betty sneaked an “Open Thread” in amongst the deluge of tags.
@? Martin: This is a good point. In the right’s defense, I agree that IF you are going to execute, you shouldn’t, but if you are, you have to make it look like a mechanism of the state or you have anarchy, revenge killings, feuds, terrorism- 19th century South type of stuff. Modern states need a monopoly on violence and the better ones make it look impartial and without malice.
Of course, we could just not kill people, but it seems like we’re a way off from that.
@jrg: I’m quite capable of holding two thoughts in my head at once, thanks.
@gratuitous: Not buying it. Surgical procedures go wrong frequently, but we don’t charge doctors criminally when they do. Accidents happen. As long as there are executions, somebody will screw something up. Why would the state of OK admit a mistake and open themselves up to liability? It’s not in their interest to do so. Even if they did, it wouldn’t be the governor that paid the price, it would be some prison guard making $40k a year (along with his family).
A fight to stop the death penalty makes a lot of sense to me. It’s wrong from a humanitarian perspective. You can also make a good argument to libertarians that the state should not have that power.
All I’m saying here is that when you’re going to pick a fight over something like this, do it from high ground, like in the context of wrongful executions. When I hear this guy’s story, my lizard brain kicks in… And I’m someone who’s aware of that and tries to resist the urge. Most people in the country lack both the metacognitive ability to understand they are thinking purely with emotion, and the desire to even try to resist it.
@jrg: You do understand canaries in coal mines, I would guess. It’s not for love of the little yellow birdie that people get worried when it keels over, it’s rather a signal that something is fucking wrong with the atmosphere.
@different-church-lady: Good for you, but recognize that’s the exception, not the rule, when it comes to issues this emotionally charged.
@Villago Delenda Est:
That’s his job.
@jrg: It is not about him it is about us. We are supposed to be better than that fuck.
@jrg: There’s a fine line between acknowledging their game and playing their game, and I don’t think you’re walking it.
Very nicely played!
Gin & Tonic
@jrg: Surgical procedures go wrong frequently, but we don’t charge doctors criminally when they do.
They are, however, often sued for malpractice (for which they carry *very* expensive insurance) and, in worse cases, can have their license to practice revoked. It’s no imprisonment, but taking away your livelihood is a severe punishment.
and by all means, let us not bother our beautiful minds but merely pander to the lizard brains until we have a morally pure esthetically pleasing corpse to use as evidence.
@scav: At least Pilate seemed embarrassed by the decision.
@Comrade Dread: I wish that executions were public and lethal injection outlawed. The whole country should be forced to see what this is and own it.
I’d like to think this would shame people into stopping the death penalty, but I’m not all that confident that it would.
@scav: You will get one. And another. And another…
@Cassidy: The thing is, I don’t think it would make a bit of difference and might actually be a highly rated show. I mean, there really is a pretty deep sadistic streak among some folks that would get off on seeing criminals die in horrible ways even if they were innocent.
Hell, I mean, this week I just read about two incidents of assholes with guns setting up traps and killing kids for trespassing (one being found guilty of murder) and there was a fever swamp of support for them in the comments section of the stories outraged that he was convicted and gleeful that the ‘punks’ got what was coming to them.
I understand the bloodlust that horrific crimes creates in people. But still, if you go through lists of people that have been executed in this country, the death penalty is applied way too often. And the fact that innocent people are murdered by the state on a fairly regular basis is pretty disturbing. The prosecutors and judges involved are often entirely unconcerned that the people seem to be innocent, or in the worst cases, are clearly innocent. That’s just scary that we have what amounts to serial killers working in our justice system, led by Scalia. I think locking up someone for the rest of their life is good enough, I don’t want to be responsible for killing anyone.
@jrg: You’re wrong. As someone mentioned, surgeons are frequently held to a particular standard and have been charged criminally. Secondly, an accident is someone tripping on their own feet; this was negligence.
Lastly, you don’t get to choose who’s life is worth defending. You don’t have the right just as we don’t have the right to take it.
@SatanicPanic: @Comrade Dread: maybe make participation mandatory, just like jury duty. If you support the death penalty, you get to pull the trigger.
Given that public executions in the park were once a popular weekend entertainment, I am certain that this wouldn’t shame the public into demanding a ban on capital punishment.
Damn it all. I hate that we have to have executions in this country, but if we are going to have them, it’s appalling to me that they can’t be performed with the basic competence that we expect from a veterinary clinic.
And yes, I just had to deal with that yesterday. Cat went peacefully, purring in my wife’s arms until a few seconds before she passed. Hard day, not really ready to write more about it yet. But I can’t understand why some folks can’t afford the basic decency to a human being, no matter how monstrous we may deem them, that we require for our animals.
@Cassidy: You wouldn’t need to make that mandatory- you’d need a waiting list and/or some sort of lottery system to accommodate all the volunteers.
@jrg: which is exactly why I’m ok with making a fuss about a not-so-perfumed innocent who doesn’t instantly please the lazy lizard brain. Likewise why I don’t like torturing terrorists (over and above the it just doesn’t produce information issue, see also deterrence) because so many passerbys get caught up in the clean broom and cattle prodded for the amusement of bored guards with a few too many B-movies in their Netflix queue Ids.
There’s an easy way to avoid such horrific death penalty executions….dont kill anyone. Did the murderer give 2 shits about the pain and suffering of his victims?
@Cassidy: Christ, no. I can seriously think of five people off the top of my head that would pay the state five thousand dollars to do it, and double if the poor fucker was black.
We don’t need to go there. This country loves the death penalty a lot.
Unless you happen to be one of the innocent people the state has murdered.
No. Can you aspire no higher than his depravity? Come on. I know you can do better than that.
@Amir Khalid: Yeah they’d be taking selfies with their whole family standing around, just like they did in the 30s
@different-church-lady: Maybe that’s true, but the point remains: if you want to fight the death penalty, you’re better off not fighting human nature while you’re at it.
Paul in KY
@JPL: I’m in favour of death penalty as an option, but I can list many forms of killing that are ‘cruel & unusual’. Many of them can be seen in a Game of Thrones show.
Certainly, burning at stake, breaking on wheel, crucifixion, drawing & quartering, whipping tp death, etc. are way, way, way past the line.
Slow asphyxiation would also be. There are others I won’t list, but they would be.
Bottom line, it should be quick & final.
Paul in KY
@eric: I saw that too. Good point. She would be the one with the blood on hands. Also the warden & the executioner.
Paul in KY
@Comrade Dread: That method (valium & 2 in the head) would certainly be a better way than what they do now (IMO).
@Amir Khalid: I’m reminded of George Carlin’s bit about capital punishment: “You don’t think that would get big ratings? In this sick fucking country?! Shit, you’d have people skipping church to watch this stuff!”
@jrg: Tailoring the message to the audience is important. If you’re talking to a slack-jawed wingnut, you’re probably better off emphasizing an almost certainly innocent white man the state of Texas murdered several years ago and Governor Perry’s role in quashing an investigation into the incident. If you’re talking to libertarians, as you noted, raising the issue of government power is effective. If you’re talking to people who are capable of abstract thought, discussing how the death penalty — in all cases — degrades society isn’t out of line. YMMV.
Paul in KY
@? Martin: Interesting theory. Not sure I agree with it. Executions have been going on for many centuries. Not just by hanging, but by other methods that a citizen with a sword or gun could imitate.
I think the gas chamber/electric chair were put forth as more ‘humane’ (both to the condemned & to the executioners), whether in truth or not, so to blunt death penalty arguments that centered on a botched hanging or guillotining (the botching with a guillotining being more anecdotal evidence that some people’s heads may have lived on for a short period of time after decapitation).
Your last sentence is the point.
You’re right, we could argue about whether or not the death penalty is moral or not. We could argue torturing a man to death out if hubris, or political expediency, or fear, as well.
I live in OK, have for most of my life. The whole effing story is a disaster. State Supreme Court stayed the execution because the drugs used in state executions are a ‘secret blend’. Gov. Fallin announced plans to continue w. The execution, then the state House started talking about impeaching the justices that voted to stay the execution. They rolled over, seeing the writing on the wall in my bloodthirsty home. There’s enough blood on everyone’s hands.
Paul in KY
@jrg: One thing you have to watch out for is people in positions of power administering the execution that want to fuck it up (so inmate suffers more).
Good evidence that the hangman at several Nuremberg executions purposely botched the drop weights so the condemned would slowly asphyxiate (as several of them reportedly did).
Paul in KY
@Comrade Dread: They shouldn’t die ‘in horrible ways’, if the execution is done ‘by the book’ (whatever method is chosen).
Paul in KY
@bryan: Very sorry you had to put your beloved pet down. I’m sure that was the right thing to do & you are a responsible pet owner to the end.
What type of people are these southerners? Why do they continually elect the sick in spirit to represent them in the counsels of government? They are in the process of creating a iron curtain on domestic soil, as they march both their states and the Union stupidly into an abyss.
@Paul in KY:
No question. But I don’t think this country realized the importance of the state having a monopoly on the mechanics of execution until the start of the 20th century. Hangings started going out of favor right about the time that lynching started to be denounced more widely in the US. You see the feds starting to take notice in the early 1900s by banning the public imagery of lynchings, and this is when the Great Migration started. This is when northern states moved from hanging to electric chair, and over time other states followed, some jumping straight to the gas chamber.
I think many politicians started to see that hanging (by the state) and lynching (by the masses) were converging in terms of both imagery and justification, and that cycle needed to be broken if lynching was to end as it was getting well out of hand (maybe not to southerners, but to much of the rest of the country). It’s not a coincidence that states jumped in the manner that they did, at the time that they did.
Yup. That is the most maddening and sickening thing about it.
Republican ideology is to shrink government down to its most essential function of enforcing their sick collective-punishment and revenge fantasies.
Romans 12:19 is apparently not in Bibles in OK
@? Martin: Very interesting analysis, sounds very plausible.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
You know, I don’t really have a problem with schools trying to teach kids that crazy conspiracy theories can sound just plausible enough to convince some people, and they need to know what to watch out for and how to counter those arguments. But it sounds like the actual lesson plan had a few flaws, shall we say.
Paul in KY
@? Martin: You certainly have me thinking about why the gas chamber & electric chair were introduced. Maybe a combo of my reason & yours. Both being political reasons to keep the ‘machinery of death’ solely in the State’s hands.
Are Oklahomans so anti-Taliban that they’d rule out stoning, sidestepping the whole lethal-but-not-time-consuming drug cocktail minuet? Think people, think–you’d get your revenge p0rn and you’d employ many local stone-gatherers, perhaps even exporting Oklahoma Death Yard Stones(tm) to the rest of our fine nation.
Afraid I have to agree. There’s another level of ethics involving physicians who supervise (or even perform?) executions in dramatic conflict with their professional oath.
“You hereby commit your life to saving and improving the lives of others, unless you’re going to take them, in which case–go nuts. Amen.”
@Thunderbird: in this fucked up state, many of the churches would show it live on projectors during the service.
We don’t usually charge doctors when they do because those doctors are following rules designed to protect their patients. They’re usually following standard procedures, and there are a whole series of procedural hoops to jump through if they want to try something experimental. There are even more hoops to jump through if they want to try something experimental where they can’t get informed consent. When something goes wrong, it is routinely investigated to see if the problem was preventable, and doctors who are personally responsible for problems can be sued for malpractice, lose their license, or even go to prison if the deviation from standard procedure was bad enough.
The recent botched execution in Oklahoma did none of those things. They were trying a new experimental procedure, but they follow the normal safeguards there to make sure that new procedures are well thought out. They quite deliberately bypassed every obstacle that might have slowed them down in their rush to execute the guy. They even pressured the Oklahoma Supreme Court not to intervene. Then they apparently got people without adequate training to carry out the execution. If a surgeon did the same kinds of things- trying an experimental procedure that hadn’t gone through animal studies and institutional review, carried it out against the expressed preferences of the patient, and hired unlicensed surgical assistants- and then botched the procedure, you can bet there would be criminal charges. There would probably be criminal charges even if the procedure were successful.
@jrg: Fair enough, but I don’t see anyone around here giving the convicted any sympathy.
The incident we’re discussing has a set of circumstances that are utterly unique in modern capital punishment. Those circumstances transcend the circumstances of who the convicted is. Nobody’s choosing a poster boy here, because there’s no choice to be made. The guy may have been a monster, but that doesn’t excuse what appears to be something quite close to state-sponsored sadism.
You seem to have misunderstood the subject of the topic — the concern is not for the convicted to avoid a botched execution, it’s for US, as represented by our governments, to avoid botched executions.
She’s a piece of something…but there ain’t no cure for stupid.
pseudonymous in nc
Because, you inane fucking dicksplash, it isn’t about “guys like this”: it is about the actions of the state carried out in the name of its citizens.
Apparently, you want the state to behave like “guys like this”. Well, good for you, you fucking sociopath.
@jrg: not necessarily. If they executed via nitrogen asphyxiation, most executions would go well.
Let’s assume that the man they executed was a sadistic monster who enjoyed the death of his victim. How does torturing him to death not make us the same as him? I don’t want the state to torture in my name. There is a long list of governments who have resorted to torturing their citizens at one time or another. I didn’t want the USA to be counted among them.