Get Well Soon … So We Can Kill You

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a former prison psychologist, admits that he recognizes the irony.  His state is keeping Lawrence Reynolds alive, on suicide watch, so they can execute him Tuesday morning.  Reynolds attempted suicide by overdosing on pills on Sunday and was rushed to the hospital where his life was saved.  The Governor postponed his execution, original scheduled for March 9, to give him sufficient time to recover so that the Buckeye state can kill him properly.

“It is ironic, obviously, that you would work to keep someone alive when they are scheduled to be executed,” the Governor said.  “Ironic” may be putting it mildly.  When you adopt a policy (state killing) that directly contradicts basic values (life is precious), absurd and morally dubious practices like this are inevitable.

What is ironic is that, back in May 2007, the state of Ohio executed Christopher Newton, who volunteered” to be put to death by giving up his appeals.  He even refused to cooperate with those investigating the crime he committed unless they promised to seek the death penalty.  The state of Ohio was surely assisting Newton in committing suicide on that day, though they nearly botched it by taking 90 minutes to find a vein to administer his lethal injection.

(Nationally, there have been 135 of these “voluntary” executions, representing over 10 percent of all executions since reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.)

The Governor’s lame excuse for this current predicament is that his government is required to “observe the law as we understand it.”  Of course, the law also allows the Governor to commute death sentences, or even impose a moratorium on all executions in his state, as many, including Amnesty International, are urging him to do.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

8 thoughts on “Get Well Soon … So We Can Kill You

  1. The fact that Lawrence Reynolds attempted to commit suicide demonstrates that he is suffering from a psychiatric illness – a mental illness – and requires treatment, not execution. He is not compos mentis – he is not 'in his right mind' as evidenced by the fact he clearly demonstrated by attempting self-destructive acts – something that is, by definition, not the act of a mentally sound individual.

    The death penalty in and of itself is an abhorrent form of punishment, but all of that aside, it is barbaric and unconscionable to proceed with the execution of an individual who is unable to fully appreciate and participate in the process in which they are involved. That is why there is a standard for which individuals with mental illnesses are assessed before being allowed to stand trial and, similarly, why most states will not execute individuals who are mentally retarded: they cannot appreciate the situation and the state recognizes the barbarism of the punishment without consciousness.

    Whatever the cause of this man's illness (whether it be endogenous depression caused by his situation or Major Depressive Disorder from a non-organic source) it has put him in a situation where he needs something more than 'recovery' from the attempt at taking his life. He needs to be evaluated to ensure that he is mentally stable, so the state doesn't rush to execute someone who's already living in hell.

  2. I see your point. BTW, a few month from now will be the 5th anniversary of the execution of Connecticut's serial killer Michael Bruce Ross, a mentally troubled, oversensitive, disturbed and tortured soul who showed great sympathy and remorse for the horrible crime of killing eight girls and women, cared for their families as well as his own family, and wanted to end his life to show everyone that he was not an irredeemable monster society deemed him to be by waiving his appeals and requesting his early execution, even though he himself was Roman Catholic and opposed capital punishment. May God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit rest Michael Ross' soul and the souls of his murder victims in eternal peace. Amen.

  3. Pingback: Get Well Soon ? So We Can Kill You « Missives Of An Iconoclast

  4. The fact that Lawrence Reynolds attempted to commit suicide demonstrates that he is suffering from a psychiatric illness – a mental illness – and requires treatment, not execution. He is not compos mentis – he is not ‘in his right mind’ as evidenced by the fact he clearly demonstrated by attempting self-destructive acts – something that is, by definition, not the act of a mentally sound individual.

    The death penalty in and of itself is an abhorrent form of punishment, but all of that aside, it is barbaric and unconscionable to proceed with the execution of an individual who is unable to fully appreciate and participate in the process in which they are involved. That is why there is a standard for which individuals with mental illnesses are assessed before being allowed to stand trial and, similarly, why most states will not execute individuals who are mentally retarded: they cannot appreciate the situation and the state recognizes the barbarism of the punishment without consciousness.

    Whatever the cause of this man’s illness (whether it be endogenous depression caused by his situation or Major Depressive Disorder from a non-organic source) it has put him in a situation where he needs something more than ‘recovery’ from the attempt at taking his life. He needs to be evaluated to ensure that he is mentally stable, so the state doesn’t rush to execute someone who’s already living in hell.

  5. I see your point. BTW, a few month from now will be the 5th anniversary of the execution of Connecticut’s serial killer Michael Bruce Ross, a mentally troubled, oversensitive, disturbed and tortured soul who showed great sympathy and remorse for the horrible crime of killing eight girls and women, cared for their families as well as his own family, and wanted to end his life to show everyone that he was not an irredeemable monster society deemed him to be by waiving his appeals and requesting his early execution, even though he himself was Roman Catholic and opposed capital punishment. May God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit rest Michael Ross’ soul and the souls of his murder victims in eternal peace. Amen.

  6. Kearnes – your position is not lost on me.
    It has taken me years to get to an understanding which works for me all the time and in consideration of all circumstances.
    There are so many crimes which deserve the death penalty, where a perpetrator has committed such evil and has plotted sadistic acts which, to my view, would make the human race better off with his death.
    But to accept the death of every Kenneth McDuff, I also have to accept the death of every Karla Faye Tucker and Willmingham. That is the collateral damage of the death penalty. And as long as I closed my eyes to that aspect I could accept it as part of the price.
    I no longer trust the justice system to make the determination of the value of a life. And that some should live that should die – so that some should live who should not die – is a price I am willing to pay.

  7. Kearnes – your position is not lost on me.
    It has taken me years to get to an understanding which works for me all the time and in consideration of all circumstances.
    There are so many crimes which deserve the death penalty, where a perpetrator has committed such evil and has plotted sadistic acts which, to my view, would make the human race better off with his death.
    But to accept the death of every Kenneth McDuff, I also have to accept the death of every Karla Faye Tucker and Willmingham. That is the collateral damage of the death penalty. And as long as I closed my eyes to that aspect I could accept it as part of the price.
    I no longer trust the justice system to make the determination of the value of a life. And that some should live that should die – so that some should live who should not die – is a price I am willing to pay.

  8. Pingback: Ironic Human Rights Violations (2): Suicide Watch on Death Row « P.A.P. Blog – Human Rights Etc.