Who Wants To Know?

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Yesterday, the Seattle Times reported that Washington State’s execution team resigned, out of concern that their identities might be revealed during the course of a pending lawsuit over that state’s execution protocol.  This follows the resignation at the end of last year of the chief physician for Washington’s Department of Corrections, who quit out of concern that participation of his staff in executions would be unethical.

In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s Baze decision, which found lethal injection to be constitutional (not cruel and unusual punishment) as long as it is properly administered, lawsuits and investigations have focused on how, in fact, executions are carried out.  Inevitably, this focuses a spotlight on the men and women drawn in by our capital punishment system to actively participate in the killing of prisoners.  Efforts to shield the identities of these people, under the specious argument that their physical safety might be compromised if their names were revealed, have met strong resistance from those who believe that in a democracy we have a fundamental right to know who is carrying out policies in our name, particularly policies as profound as taking the lives of those on death row.

In Washington, a spokesman for the Attorney General said, absurdly:  “We believe the court can confirm the constitutionality of the lethal-injection procedure without knowing the qualifications, training and experience of each of the lethal-injection team members.” (emphasis mine)

Really? How?  How can any court assess an execution procedure without looking at the “qualifications, training and experience” of those carrying it out?  What if, shielded from the courts and the public, the state of Washington were to appoint a team of roller-skating lemurs to administer lethal injections; how could a court assess that protocol’s constitutionality, without knowing about the lemurs?

The fact it, as the death penalty becomes more and more unpopular, efforts to hide its ugly realities from the public are only going to increase.  All the more reason for us, as citizens in a democracy, to demand the full truth about executions carried out in our name.

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4 thoughts on “Who Wants To Know?

  1. Well, I've got good news so far: Brett Hartmann's execution was stayed a few days ago pending the US Supreme Court's decision regarding DNA testing. With that in mind, he might be able to find the DNA evidence he needs to prove his innocence and exonerate him. I'm praying for him and his family, and for the family of murder victim Winda Snipes.

  2. Well, I’ve got good news so far: Brett Hartmann’s execution was stayed a few days ago pending the US Supreme Court’s decision regarding DNA testing. With that in mind, he might be able to find the DNA evidence he needs to prove his innocence and exonerate him. I’m praying for him and his family, and for the family of murder victim Winda Snipes.

  3. I was given the death sentence by the british govenment in 1990 – severe head-injury which forces me into the disabled world for my life remainder(I am mentally-disabled) and the government have conveniently forgotten a promise I was made about receiving my pension restriction free because my injuries were their fault…
    I cannot survive on the pitance they now provide me because of my brain and how it seems to comprend this stupidity. I have been now given a more prior sentence as I can no longer survive and soon I will be dead and I want the fools that try ruining th Great Britain that once was suffer for their ignorance and discrimination against the mentally-disabled.
    (Hey, I can present myself well if happy…and I only go loopy when stressed – the doctors said that the part of my brain that controls my person is usually
    'on-top' of things, but when I get stressed it seems to take a walk somewhere else… I asked someone I know if I could help him in his buiding yard and he said no because of how I am and he would need to insure me which he could not because I might flip… Can I somehow escape from the sentence given me.
    Ok, agreeably, I want o hurt Gordon Brown – His name is 11 letters which give a sentence… G.O.R.D.O.N.B.R.O.W.N – Gordon Only Robs Disabled Of Necessities Before Reaching Out With Nothing… He is the worst PM Britain(No longer great) has ever had and the world needs to see his idiocies. He is killing me and cares nothing about it… He is a M.O.R.O.N(Minister Openly Robbing Of Necessities)… Actually, he is a bit of a W.A.N.K.E.R
    (Westminster Advocate Not Knowingly Entering Reality)
    I have the Human Right to live my disabled life without lies from the PM…and he is (probably W.A.N.K.I.N.G somewhere(Westminster Advocat Not Knowingly Increasing Needed Goals)..he is a lying S.H.I.T.H.E.A.D(Stupid Harrasing Idiotic Trying Hooker Every Available Day) I hope he has the accident as I had, and I hope his accident is caused by his employees..as mine was, he needs to suffer to understand…

  4. I was given the death sentence by the british govenment in 1990 – severe head-injury which forces me into the disabled world for my life remainder(I am mentally-disabled) and the government have conveniently forgotten a promise I was made about receiving my pension restriction free because my injuries were their fault…
    I cannot survive on the pitance they now provide me because of my brain and how it seems to comprend this stupidity. I have been now given a more prior sentence as I can no longer survive and soon I will be dead and I want the fools that try ruining th Great Britain that once was suffer for their ignorance and discrimination against the mentally-disabled.
    (Hey, I can present myself well if happy…and I only go loopy when stressed – the doctors said that the part of my brain that controls my person is usually
    ‘on-top’ of things, but when I get stressed it seems to take a walk somewhere else… I asked someone I know if I could help him in his buiding yard and he said no because of how I am and he would need to insure me which he could not because I might flip… Can I somehow escape from the sentence given me.
    Ok, agreeably, I want o hurt Gordon Brown – His name is 11 letters which give a sentence… G.O.R.D.O.N.B.R.O.W.N – Gordon Only Robs Disabled Of Necessities Before Reaching Out With Nothing… He is the worst PM Britain(No longer great) has ever had and the world needs to see his idiocies. He is killing me and cares nothing about it… He is a M.O.R.O.N(Minister Openly Robbing Of Necessities)… Actually, he is a bit of a W.A.N.K.E.R
    (Westminster Advocate Not Knowingly Entering Reality)
    I have the Human Right to live my disabled life without lies from the PM…and he is (probably W.A.N.K.I.N.G somewhere(Westminster Advocat Not Knowingly Increasing Needed Goals)..he is a lying S.H.I.T.H.E.A.D(Stupid Harrasing Idiotic Trying Hooker Every Available Day) I hope he has the accident as I had, and I hope his accident is caused by his employees..as mine was, he needs to suffer to understand…