Sunday, January 06, 2008

Too cruel for killers, just right for babies

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Constitutionality of Lethal Injection:

There's been an effective moratorium on executions since a court held that the potassium chloride -- used to stop the inmate's heart after he's been anesthetized and paralyzed -- is far too painful. The so-far successful argument against using this drug on ciminals is "if the intended dose of thiopental [to anesthetize the condemned prisoner] is not injected successfully, or does not bring about general anesthesia, the inmate will experience both the terror and agony of conscious suffocation and the excruciating pain caused by the potassium, but will appear peaceful and unconscious to observers."

Most late term abortionists use this same drug, potassium chloride, to perform the injection that kills a fetus whose only crime is to be alive at what his mother considers a bad time, or perhaps whose crime is that she has a disability. The fetuses in question are old enough that if they were outside the uterus, they'd be in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, in an incubator, being provided with care and comfort. That's why they're given the lethal injection in the first place: to make sure that they come out dead, lest the mother be stuck with a live baby in a NICU when she paid good money for a dead fetus in a pathology bucket. Because mom's choice is death, not life, these babies get a death considered too cruel for a man who chose to kill, who had a battery of attorneys appealing his case, who had due process for a decade or more.

Where's the effective moratorium against this cruel and unusual practice?

We're told that the death penalty is necessary for fetuses because of the distress their existence causes their mothers. Why does the distress of one woman trump the child's life, when the distress of all the families and friends of all the victims does not trump the murderer's life?

Prolifers are pretty effectively split on the death penalty. Personally, you could either describe me as "opposed except in certain specific instances" or "favoring but only in certain specific instances". I think it should be a last resort used only if the criminal in question chooses to remain a threat to other people's lives even when incarcerated, either by remaining violent, by being an escape risk, or by being violent toward others while in prison.

I can understand total opposition to the death penalty, though I can only really respect the total opposition when it comes from a "seamless garment" prolifer.

For anybody to look at somebody who cold-bloodedly slaughters his fellow human beings and say that he is entitled to a million times more compassion than a disabled child is staggering.

If it's too cruel for a murderer, why is it "compassionate" to do it to a child?

If society has no right to kill predators who threaten the lives of innocent citizens, why does anybody have the right to demand the death of a child whose only crime is to be disabled or to be the son or dauther of a mother who decides she doesn't want to parent right now?

How can anybody justify that double standard, where what's a public service when you do it to a baby is a hideous outrage against humanity when you do it to somebody who makes a habit of taking other people's lives?

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Anonymous said...

It is intersting that no one else is taking you up on this converstation mostly because this mirrors my experance in the prochoice camp. I am pro death penlty.... I suppose you could call me a seemless cloth prochoicer. I belive anytime we WOULD incarserate someone for life we should just sentence to death. Not only that but I would apply the death penlty to serial rapist and child molestors. People say that I am harsh but I think we need to start taking the idea that we are taking away someones ENTIRE life when we send them to prision and that it is WORTH your time in jury box, your time to relook at evidence and TIME to change the law when it is outdated and doesn't fit. We should NOT have a prison pop. the way that we do ... that says that our laws are not enforcable when the law is unenforcable then socity is changing and the laws need to change with it. And dangerous people that cannot EVER be rehab need to stop being given a license to torture other prisoners and the put in danger the life of their gaurds. We as a socity are doing NO favors to us or them keeping them locked up for years and years on end. It is sick. Let them go, decide that prison is a rehab not punishment and if you can't be rehab lets put you down like the sick dog you are. And while we are at it if people want to commint sucide for goodness sakes let them and stop putting people in jail for it. Freedom I thought was more then a choice of tomatos in the store.

One thing tho in your talk you talked about killers..... just remember that our men in the miltary are killing people. Men, women and children. Weither they need to or not I am not arguing. But when they come back they come back with blood..... we do need to find a way to talk about that ... I donno... I sorta get a lil lost about it what about you?

Anonymous said...

I guess what I am saying up there is I wish people would take as much time in decideing a man is guilty as they do about deciding to end a preg. but people don't.

Christina Dunigan said...

So many things to comment on, achromic, and I'm just on break at work right now so I'll tackle just one thing:

I think a LOT more contemplation goes into deciding to execute somebody than to abort somebody.

The criminal gets a slew of attorneys and at least one judge pondering what it is and isn't fair to HIM to tell the jury. You get at least two lawyers and a slew of experts putting forth, sometimes for months on end, the evidence that the person is or isn't guility, then that he is or isn't dangerous/deserving to die.

Then the jury, 12 people, go into huge ponderous discussions that can go on for days on end and look at all aspects of the evidence and the law.

The judge reviews it all. Then there are appeals upon appeals, so that even more judges contemplate the situation.

As compared to what? What amount of due process, weight of evidence, etc, goes into an abortion choice? Even if the woman ponders the choice for weeks, and consults with clergy, physicians, friends, neighbors, relatives, family, etc., even if she were to solicit the advice of total strangers, there'd still be less thought and consideration going into it than the typical motion to include or exclude a single piece of evidence from a criminal trial.

I think that both the woman and the baby are entitled to better than just however much information and time to ponder she happens to end up having, based on how panicked or rushed she is.

Christina Dunigan said...

I don't think you're being harsh, achromic. You're thinking more of the victims, which is an understandable focus.

I can't agree to just snuff criminals, though, because I think of the possibility of redemption. David "Son of Sam" Berkowiz runs a prison ministry now. He's helping men who will one day be free, trying to help them become better men.

I tend to think that where there's life, there's hope, even for somebody who has done terrible things.

I just think that we have to draw the line at those who choose to remain a danger to others. But I don't think that people who want to see the death penalty imposed in more cases than I do are mean or cruel or spiteful.

I went back and forth for years and I think that makes it easier for me to understand people who don't see it the way I do -- because I've seen it that way too at some point.