Botched Execution

I am not sure why they are calling the execution of Clayton Lockett a botched execution. He did, in fact die from the lethal injection given to him. Perhaps they mean that he suffered somewhat before his death. Here is an account from the Associated Press.

A botched execution that used a new drug combination left an Oklahoma inmate writhing and clenching his teeth on the gurney Tuesday, leading prison officials to halt the proceedings before the inmate’s eventual death from a heart attack.

Clayton Lockett, 38, was declared unconscious 10 minutes after the first of the state’s new three-drug lethal injection combination was administered. Three minutes later, though, he began breathing heavily, writhing, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head off the pillow.

The blinds were eventually lowered to prevent those in the viewing gallery from watching what was happening in the death chamber, and the state’s top prison official eventually called a halt to the proceedings. Lockett died of a heart attack a short time later, the Department of Corrections said.

“It was a horrible thing to witness. This was totally botched,” said Lockett’s attorney, David Autry.

Somehow, I do not find myself greatly upset over the prospect that this man suffered before he died. Does this sound as if I lack compassion? Well, I hope I may be forgiven for not feeling very compassionate towards a convicted murderer. The Associated Press article does not make any reference to the crime that got Mr. Lockett on death row. Fox News does better.

One person who will not weigh in on the merits of Clayton Lockett’s execution is Stephanie Neiman. Clayton Lockett tried to rob a house Miss Neiman was at. She tried to fight him off. He and his accomplices overwhelmed her.

They beat her, bound her with duct tape, taped her mouth shut, shot her, then buried her alive.  Many of those outraged at how Mr. Lockett’s execution played out will, hopefully, pause to reflect on exactly why the state chose to execute him.

Sadly, Stephanie Neiman, is unavailable for comment on the situation.

Dennis Prager likes to say that he who is compassionate to the cruel ultimately will become cruel to the compassionate. Nowhere is this maxim better demonstrated than among many opponents to the death penalty. There are good, logical arguments against the death penalty. There is the possibility of executing an innocent person or racial disparities in sentencing. You can be opposed to the death penalty while admitting that most of the people being executing are despicable. Somehow, that is not enough for many death penalty opponents. They feel a need to make martyrs and victims out of the people on death row. They are portrayed as victims of a horrible injustice.

I once saw a book in our public library which profiled the people on death row in Texas at the time of publication. Each profile showed a stark, black and white photograph of the person in question as well as any art or writing the person had done, and a brief biography highlighting the circumstances of his life that led to him being sent to death row. I think this might be the book, but I am not sure. Somehow, the author of the book did not think it necessary to reveal the crimes committed by any of the prisoners. To the friends and relatives of the victims of these criminals, a book like this must have been life a knife twisting in their heart, reopening the wounds.

I’m sorry but I really do not feel any pity or compassion for these people, unless they were wrongfully convicted.I am less concerned with the suffering of Clayton Lockett before he died than with the suffering of Stephanie Neiman.  Compassion for criminals who have committed terrible crimes really is cruelty to the victims of those crimes.

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Lack of Swordsmen

English: Saudi Arabia
They are progressing in Saudi Arabia. Soon they’ll join the eleventh century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes it is hard to find good people to do a difficult and demanding job. For example, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may have to resort to firing squads to execute murderers and sorcerers since there is starting to be a shortage of swordsmen to behead criminals.

Is this what progress looks like in Saudi Arabia? The kingdom is considering ending execution by beheading in favor of firing squads, reports the Egyptian English-language news website Ahram Online. A committee consisting of representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Health says there are shortages in government swordsmen and argue that a change to execution by firing squad would not violate Islamic law, the Saudi daily newspaper al-Youm writes. According to an official statement from the committee, “This solution seems practical, especially in light of shortages in official swordsmen or their belated arrival to execution yards in some incidents.”

I have to wonder, how hard can the job be? It’s not like brain surgery where precision is needed, just a stroke at the neck. It can’t be a highly skilled job or one that demands much education. I imagine that it would be desirable to behead the victim with one stroke and that might take practice. You don’t want the person executed to be just lying there screaming as the executioner whacks away over and over.

I wonder if the Saudi government provides the sword, or would you have to use your own? Do they have regular inspections to make sure the swordsmen keep their sword properly sharpened? What about laundry bills from blood spatters? Maybe they get a special uniform. It might be interesting to be able to tell people at a gathering that you are a beheader, or is this the sort of job that makes people not want to have anything to do with you?

Kidding aside, I suppose this is progress, of a sort. Personally, I am less concerned about the death penalty than Saudi standards of jurisprudence.

Execution by beheading in Saudi Arabia has continually been condemned by human-rights groups. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), at least 69 people were executed by beheading in 2012, while Amnesty International says 79 were killed under the death penalty in the same period. In 2012 HRW wrote, “Saudi Arabia has no penal code, so prosecutors and judges largely define criminal offenses at their discretion.” Rape, murder, armed robbery, drug trafficking and even suspected “sorcery” are punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s Islamic law.

The Saudi death penalty recently made headlines following the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a young Sri Lankan woman who was beheaded for the murder of her employers’ 4-month-old son. Nafeek arrived in Saudi Arabia in 2005 at age 17 but spent the next seven years in Saudi jails after the baby died under her care, writes CNN. The family of the boy believed he had been strangled by Nafeek, while she claimed he had choked on his milk. The young Sri Lankan immigrant had no access to a lawyer during her pretrial interrogation during which she said she was forced to sign a confession, notes CNN. The execution of this young woman revealed how “woefully out of step they [the Saudi justice system] are with their international obligations regarding the use of the death penalty,” said Philip Luther from Amnesty International. It highlighted how Saudi law tends to treat children as adults in criminal cases even though international law prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed before the age of 18, writes HRW.

I don’t mind the idea of chopping people’s heads off so much, but I would like proof beyond a reasonable doubt that they actually are guilty of a crime.

Saudi Arabia Beheads Sudanese Sorcerer

This is why I think we need to start drilling anywhere and everywhere for oil, not to mention building nuclear power plants everywhere we can.

Saudi Arabia beheaded a Sudanese man by sword in the western city of Medina on Monday after he was convicted of practicing sorcery, the Interior Ministry announced.

Abdul Hamid al-Fakki “practiced witchcraft and sorcery,” which are illegal under Saudi Arabia’s Islamic sharia law, said a ministry statement carried by state news agency SPA.

In October last year, Amnesty International said it had appealed to King Abdullah in a letter to commute Fakki’s death sentence.

His execution brings to 42 the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia this year, according to an AFP tally based on official and human rights group reports.

In June, London-based watchdog Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabia to stop applying the death penalty, saying there had been a significant rise in the number of executions in the previous six weeks.

It said 15 people were executed in May alone.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

I’m for anything that will reduce these clowns’ geopolitical significance to that of Burkina Faso’s

Thanks to Jihad Watch for their tireless efforts.

She had better not fly her broom over Saudi Arabia