The Death Penalty and Justice for All

May 9, 2014 09:00 AM

Convicted criminal Clayton Lockett’s execution did not go as planned. The horrific descriptions of his not-so-lethal injection followed by heart attack have brought the death penalty and its use to the forefront where debate once again rages.

The question is simple: Is the death penalty ever warranted? If it is, how should it be carried out?

The death penalty is legal in 32 states, with the preferred method of ending the life of a convicted criminal being lethal injection—though the drug supply appears to be drying up.

It is also worthy of noting that the American Board of Anesthesiology encourages anesthesiologists to avoid getting involved with administering such drugs because anesthetists “should use their clinical skills and judgment for promoting an individual’s health and welfare.”

For the record, Lockett had been “convicted of first-degree murder for shooting a young woman, [19-year-old] Stephanie Neiman, and watching as accomplices buried her alive.” Further, we also know that “Lockett was found guilty of conspiracy, first-degree burglary, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, three counts of forcible oral sodomy, four counts of first-degree rape, four counts of kidnapping and two counts of robbery by force and fear. The charges were after former convictions of two or more felonies, according to the court clerk’s office.”

His many attacks on innocent human beings astound the average person and one wonders how such violence can be acted out repeatedly by any human being. Perhaps this is why some argue that, regardless of the failed injection, Clayton Lockett “deserved to die.”

Not so, said Catholic archbishop Paul Coakley: “We certainly need to administer justice with due consideration for the victims of crime, but we must find a way of doing so that does not contribute to the culture of death, which threatens to completely erode our sense of the innate dignity of the human person.” 

Well, Lockett certainly had no regard for the innate dignity of the innocent human being. And this disregard—sometimes slight, sometimes blatant—is seen more and more frequently in today’s society. Take, for example, the United States of America’s system of justice. 

Each time a preborn baby is executed, nary a word is said. Justice is not sought. The perpetrator of that crime—the abortionist—cannot be stopped from killing innocent child after innocent child. In fact, the killer/abortionist is legally protected. This has been so for more than 40 years.

Is that justice? 

Is it merciful to kill preborn children, but unmerciful to seek the death penalty in a case like Lockett’s? Where is the logic in this? Has America gone mad?

Public statements are a matter of record. And from that record we have learned that Archbishop Coakley said, “How we treat criminals says a lot about us as a society.” Yes, it does.

It says we are duplicitous. 

We experience pangs of horror for the convict who is executed, yet never raise an eyebrow when a child is aborted. 

We are racing into the streets to protest the use of capital punishment, but protesting an abortion practitioner rarely garners the participation of more than a few faithful defenders of human dignity.

What a shame. I read the words of New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow and wept for the babies. Blow described Lockett’s death as “Eye for an Eye Incivility.” He said the use of the death penalty was an “abhorrent attempt to sate an irrational cultural bloodlust, rooted in vengeance and barbarism and detached from data.”

I could go on, but clearly the rhetoric is appalling, if not shocking. Blow is not discussing the murders of millions of innocent babies over these 40 plus years—something that is truly an irrational cultural bloodlust. He is opining about a botched execution of a convicted criminal. 

Oh yes, America is sick, gripped in a level of ignorance that is beyond belief, convinced that aborting a child is nothing but a right given by the state to the expectant mother. 

Bloodlust indeed. Perhaps there was no mercy for Lockett, but there is absolutely no mercy or justice for the preborn. 

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