The death penalty is supposed to be a punishment, not a therapy. Capital punishment has the other purpose of ridding society of people who would, often after being released from prison, attack, torture, terrorize, and kill innocent members of society.
What is a justice system if it yields to the advantage of murderers, rapists, child killers, and their apologists?
I wonder why there is such media indignation in the botched execution of Clayton Derrell Lockett in Oklahoma this week. Lockett had been released from prison only months before. He had received a seven year prison term in 1992 and another four year prison sentence in 1996. Among his crimes were threats to kill state witnesses who would testify against him.
Unfortunately, the state had to wait until Lockett actually killed, kidnapped, and tortured someone before law enforcement could permanently protect its citizens from mayhem, torture, and sadism.
Would it have been better if Lockett was put before a firing squad? Probably. A 1996 article about Utah’s death penalty remarks on only two botched executions among forty-nine successful ones– successful ones being those without a shadow of a doubt that the convicted man was guilty of the crimes charged. One of those failed Utah executions was in 1879, with the other in 1951.
News stories of the recent execution exploded in the media as the state injected Clayton Derrell Lockett with a cocktail of lethal drugs that didn’t work as planned. The condemned man is said to have writhed, murmured, and tried to lift himself from the gurney. The gruesome spectacle was a made to order event for death penalty abolitionists, who stoke the fires of public indignation without mentioning the real victims of torture.
Clayton Derrell Lockett was charged with first-degree murder, rape, forcible sodomy, kidnapping, assault and battery, burglary and robbery when he was arrested in 1999. The short story of this hideous affair is that Clayton Lockett invaded the house of a man who owed him money, and beat him unmercifully before his nine-month old son. Two young women happened to stop by and were in the “wrong place at the wrong time.” One eighteen year old high school graduate was repeatedly raped and tormented over a long period of time before being executed by the perpetrators.
The problem with the heart bleed stories now circulating about Clayton Lockett’s unfortunate death by heart attack is that we never read of moment by moment terrors and tortures of victims of murderous psychopaths. The plain fact of the matter is that details of the excruciatingly pained and prolonged death agonies of the most horrific crimes are limited so as not to offend public sensibilities.
Even in cases like the notorious Petit murder/arson/child rape case in Connecticut, where two killers are condemned to death, few people can bear to even consider the horror, the suffering, the pain of the victims, including that of survivor Dr. William Petit.
Why then must we wring our hands at the accidental suffering of Clayton Lockett? The state of Oklahoma, after all, tried to dispatch the killer in the most humane way possible. Perhaps, the death penalty abolitionists should focus on persuading society’s monsters to do the same when planning the hideous murders and rapes of innocent members of society.
Perhaps the abolitionists could generate more sympathy for their cause by convincing psychopathic and sadistic murderers to adopt lethal injection for their victims before slaughtering them. Then we might manage to shed a real tear or at least shake our heads dolefully.