Sometimes you have to feel sorry for the state. It has a lot of problems. Between being unable to centrally plan economic matters and failing to wipe out or enslave everybody under the rule of other states the state has a very difficult time. But when the medical industry is competing with the it to acquire drugs necessary to execute people, well, your heart can’t help but go out to the state:
Shortages of anaesthetic drugs usually used in lethal injection, the most common method of execution, are forcing states to find alternative sedatives. Propofol, used up to 50 million times a year in US surgical procedures, has never been used in an execution. If the execution had gone ahead, US hospitals could have lost access to the drug because 90% of the US supply is made and exported by a German company subject to European Union (EU) regulations that restrict the export of medicines and devices that could be used for capital punishment or torture. Fearing a ban on propofol sales to the United States, in 2012 the drug’s manufacturer, Fresenius Kabi in Bad Homburg, ordered its US distributors not to provide the drug to prisons.
This brings me to my rant for the day. The way the death penalty is handled in this country is absolutely insane. Most countries have the decency to just execute prisoners. Here in the United States we pretend that we’re more civilized because we go through a lot of pointless rituals before we execute somebody (in prison, the cops are far less ritualistic when they kill somebody). Only “humane” methods are used to execute prisoners. Let that roll around in your head for a minute. Only humane methods are used to execute prisoners. That’s almost too oxymoronic for me to even write.
In addition to use very complicated methods to execute prisoners the United States attempts to come to terms with its conscious by throwing additional rituals into the mix. Reading the prisoner his or her last rights, allowing him or her to have a last meal of their choosing, marching them down death row, and giving him or her a chance to say some final words are all little rituals used to absolve our conscious. We use those little rituals to make ourselves feel better about executing a guy whose crime is so far in the past (after all, it takes a long time to execute somebody) that killing him or her really has no point.
Obviously I’m not a fan of the death penalty but if a state is going to go ahead with it I would appreciate some honesty. It should stop wrapping the process in a bunch of rituals designed to make the act of killing seem like something else. That includes a move away from fancy execution methods like lethal injection. If the state is bound and determined to execute somebody then it should just use a fucking bullet to the head. That may save us a bunch of pretense about humanely executing somebody and make the act far more reflective of what it is: killing.