A Better Lethal Injection

Lethal InjectionThere is another one of those “Should we kill mentally retarded murders?” cases. Now it is Warren Lee Hill Jr, who the state of Georgia wants to kill. I’m against the death penalty regardless. However, it has never been made clear to me how intelligence matters in these cases. I understand with kids. But it seems to me that if a mentally retarded person is less culpable for a murder, why isn’t a genius more culpable. (This is the kind of thinking that causes people like Rocco Pendola to say I’m idiotic.) But I hope that Hill doesn’t get killed by the state—just not because he’s isn’t bright.

Democracy Now! reports that Hill will be killed with an injection of pentobarbital. This is good news because finally at least some government killing programs are being reasonable about how they murder people. In the past, it has been the ridiculous drug cocktail where first they knock you out, then they paralyze you, then they induce a heart attack. The problem was always that this is potentially a very painful thing. For example, that first drug might not put the victim to sleep. And just the thought that you might have to die that way is a form of torture—much less the experience itself.

All along, I’ve wondered why these killers didn’t just give their victims massive doses of barbiturates. That works really well. Just ask Marilyn Monroe. She died primarily from an overdose of barbiturates—specifically, pentobarbital, the drug that the state of Georgia is itching to give to Hill. It is said that he has an IQ of 70. To me, that doesn’t seem like mentally retarded, just slow. Regardless, that is smart enough to know what is going on and to worry about how they plan to kill you.

The use of barbiturates for lethal injection is not just good news for those who the state decides to put to death; it is good news for everyone. I understand the arguments for the death penalty. I might even accept them if we had anything close to an equitable justice system. But I can see why people are attached to the idea of a death penalty. I cannot, however, see why anyone would think that it was proper to make these people suffer while their lives are ended. Death by barbiturates is a good way to go. I hope I die so painlessly.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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