Thursday 9 June 2011

Editorial: Now America cannot kill its prisoners

Passion over compassion

It goes without saying that certain crimes committed in the United States can create the greatest horror, repugnance and revulsion calling for the stiffest sanctions available.

In the case of murders, heinous sexual offences and unspeakable crimes that trammel every feeling for compassion and resist every expression of humanity, it is understandable that state-sanctioned vengeance culminating in the death penalty might seem a fair administration of justice answering for the misdemeanours.

For some in the midst of interminable grief expressed in anger and a passion to see justice done by the end of the life of culprit, they believe they have reached something called closure but the real meaning of this state of being whilst apparently necessary for some and not to be contemned does not enhance our civilisation.

Perfecting the art of murder

Having progressed through the ages from mediaeval implements of grievous torture, through being hung, drawn and quartered, sword beheadings, hanging, the guillotine and then further in America when the science of judicial killing developed in the art of murder with the electric chair and lethal injections, the tide in turning.

In Europe, we have the ultimate punishment of life imprisonment and are stridently against the death penalty that certain of our laws will prevent us sending aliens back to countries where they risk being killed by the judicial process of the state.

Off-shoring death

In January, Hospira Inc. a US-based company decided to stop producing thiopental sodium, an anaesthetic which is as part of the cocktail of drugs used in the administration of the death penalty.

There are difficulties created by ceasing the manufacture of this drug in the United States because it is used as a first-line anaesthetic but its dual-use in the death penalty protocol has meant that European manufacturers have refused to supply this drug to the 34 states that purpose to use the drug for implementing the death penalty.

This development means that either new drugs approved through lengthy judicial processes need to be approved to continue carrying out this mediaeval practice or the dearth of drugs might just force the system to abort the quest for the death penalty.

Expertise in weaponology for mass murder

It is also interesting that the United States being the biggest purveyors of arms and weapons of mass destruction has found itself technically unable to judicially kill its citizens because no local company now produces this essential killing drug.

I am glad that Europeans have refused to help continue this inhumane practice and other companies that might have filled in the gap created by the inactivity of Hospira Inc. are held suspect because the drug is sourced from India.

A cog in the circle of death

For all the modernity, emancipation, development and innovation that America represents, they still exhibit this unhealthy primordial and primeval thirst for blood, death and vengeance that harks back to the Old Testament or jihadist times even if death is apparently humanely administered it is no less savage in its result.

Either way, it is time for Americans to ascribe to greater expressions of humanity and without dictating what that it, it surely does not include the espousing, support and continuance of the death penalty.


News of the drug being pulled appeared on various news outlets including the Wall Street Journal, as Hospira Inc. could not produce the drug in its Italian factory it pulled out of its manufacture altogether. A specific request to Germany for the drug has been rejected and other European companies are seeking ways to avoid having their products co-opted to the death penalty protocol.

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