DAILY PROMPT: BUT NO CIGAR
Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?
There are no cigars involved here – unless the State Prosecutor and Federal Judge are sitting back with their feet up, puffing happily over the outcome of their decision to allow the use of an experimental drug combination in an Ohio execution, despite expert advice that it would cause prolonged and terrifying suffering.
Yesterday – before the execution – I came this close to posting my views on the subject, but changed my mind on the basis that I live in country that doesn’t support capital punishment, and therefore it was none of my business.
But it is my business. We’re all members of the human race. How we treat each other is everyone’s business. If we condone suffering, we are as culpable as those who inflict it. Dennis McGuire inflicted suffering on the young woman he raped and stabbed. Nobody condones it. So by what stretch of the imagination are we better than Dennis McGuire when we cause him to suffer for fifteen terrifying, agonising minutes before he died?
The lawyer for the state argued that no one ‘is entitled to a pain-free execution’, and comments on the subject are heavily weighted in favour of ‘serves him right’, ‘he hurt his victim, why shouldn’t we hurt him?’ For one very good reason, people: because if we do, we’re as bad as he is.
And think about this.
Has the prolonged and painful nature of McGuire’s death brought extra solace to the family of his victim? Unlikely, after 25 years.
Has he learned how it feels to suffer, and vowed to do better in future? No, he’s dead.
Will would-be perpetrators be deterred by this new and more painful form of lethal injection? In our dreams.
Does this extra suffering mean the public is more satisfied that justice has been done? Probably. And that’s the saddest comment of all, demonstrating as it does what a nasty, bloodthirsty, vindictive lot we’ve become.
If I’d posted my views yesterday, it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference. They would have vanished into the ether as no doubt they will today. But it doesn’t stop me trying.
So here’s another question just for kicks. Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. In a country as God-fearing as America, how did the judge and the prosecutor get around that?
Oh, hang on. There’s always an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, isn’t there. Although if you read Matthew 5: 38-48…