The death penalty is in trouble. It is not because of public opposition to this barbaric practice but due to technical reasons. It turns out that the drug company in the US that made one of the three drugs that go into the cocktail that makes up the lethal injections decided to stop producing it because of the negative image it gave of a drug company being in the death business.
Condemned inmate Dennis McGuire, 53, made gasp-like snoring sounds for several minutes during his 26-minute execution on Jan. 16, the longest since Ohio resumed putting inmates to death in 1999. He appeared unconscious while making those sounds.
His family has sued Ohio, alleging the use of the drugs led to a death that was cruel and inhuman. The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is preparing a report on his execution. Gov. John Kasich delayed an execution scheduled for March until the fall to allow time for the report to be completed.
Furthermore, the barrage of negative publicity has made the drug company that produces the other two drugs in the cocktail urge governments to not allow the use of their drugs for executions because it is not good public relations.
Ohio’s most recent batches of lethal injection drugs were produced by a company that wants states to stop using them for capital punishment, records show.
Lake Forest-based Hospira Inc. says it manufactures the drugs, the sedative midazolam and the painkiller hydromophone, to enhance and save the lives of patients it helps treat. The company says it objects to their use in capital punishment.
NPR had a story yesterday on the problems that states are facing as drug manufacturers all over the world are objecting to their drugs being used this way, and some foreign governments are even stepping in to prevent the export of these drugs to the US. In listening to it, I was stunned by how it seems so normal to hear people calmly discussing various ways to kill people.
I am opposed to the death penalty. It seems bizarre to me that the governments should cold-bloodedly put people to death, however heinous the crime.