Botched: The Cruel Torture Of Joseph Rudolph Wood During Execution

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Joseph Rudoplh Wood

[Commentary]

What do you get when you add states’ rights, secrecy, the wanton proliferation of the prison industrial complex, and an unholy/unregulated barrage of lethal drug protocols?

You get chaos.

You get an increasing number of executions gone horribly wrong. You get a growing series of lawsuits and probes and autopsies. You get a lot of prison officials stumbling, fumbling, and running for cover. It’s wrong. It’s beneath the American people. And it needs to stop.

“No cruel and unusual punishment.” Remember that verbiage from the United States Constitution? Read the Eighth Amendment therein.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Remember that from the Holy Bible? Read Luke 6:31 for yourself.

Executing death row inmates is one thing. Exterminating death row inmates is something entirely different.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the long, lingering, laborious execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood, III – a lawfully convicted murderer of two people who was put to death Tuesday afternoon in Arizona.

Mr. Wood was given a two drug cocktail of midazolam combined with hydromorphone. This lethal drug protocol was supposed to put him to sleep and end his life within 10-15 minutes. Instead, Mr. Wood died one of the most despicable deaths in the history of the death penalty in America.

It took two hours for Mr. Wood to die. Reporters present at his execution counted over 650 separate instances in which Mr. Wood gasped for air, snored loudly, and writhed in agony. It actually took so long for him to die, his lawyers had time to leave the execution witness room, draft an emergency stay of execution on humanitarian grounds, and have it heard by an Arizona judge – all while Mr. Wood was being experimented upon.

He died before any lifesaving measures could be implemented on his behalf.

Where I’m from, there’s a word for this: torture.

Please resist the urge to simply write me off as some bleeding heart liberal. I will refer to these initiatives for what they truly are: anti-Christian, anti-American, and anti-humane. This matter transcends race, politics, and societal norms.

Consider this. There are only a few industrialized nations on the face of the earth who still engage in supposedly legal executions: Iran (public hanging), Belarus (firing squad), and the United States (lethal injection). How is it that our great nation appears so prominently on such a heinous list?

Reflect upon these words: “Whatever happens to Wood, the attacks will not stop and for a simple reason: The enterprise is flawed. Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and peaceful – like something any one of us might experience in our final moments. But executions are, in fact, nothing like that. They are brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should it. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf. If some states and the federal government wish to continue carrying out the death penalty, they must turn away from this misguided path and return to more primitive – and foolproof – methods of execution. The electric chair, hanging and the gas chamber are each subject to occasional mishaps. The firing squad strikes me as the most promising. Eight or ten large-caliber rifle bullets fired at close range can inflict massive damage, causing instant death every time. Sure, firing squads can be messy, but if we are willing to carry out executions, we should not shield ourselves from the reality that we are shedding human blood. If we, as a society, cannot stomach the splatter from an execution carried out by firing squad, then we shouldn’t be carrying out executions at all.”

This was the legal opinion of Chief Justice Alex Kozinski. He’s a federal judge in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Arizona.

Since the 1970s, America has used lethal injection, the electric chair, the gas chamber, hanging, and the firing squad to put condemned prisoners to death. From the 1770s until the middle of the 20th century, the United States also used bludgeoning, breaking on the wheel, burning, and crushing to execute those convicted of serious crimes.

States like Arizona, Oklahoma, and Ohio reserve the right to kill prisoners as inhumanely as possible whenever they see fit without explanation. In every sense of the term, these states have death panels.

I myself used to be for the death penalty in cases of capital murder. Then, I grew up. It’s time for executions in America to stop.

A moratorium must be declared. As of now.

 

 

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