The state of Alabama failed in its attempt to execute the tub of lard pictured below. The usual method of execution is lethal injection. Let me put in terms the reader can understand. That is a drug overdose. Every day, across this country, hundreds of idiots overdose and die without any assistance from the government. On top of that nobody ever claims that dead junkies suffered cruel and unusual punishment. There are two takeaways inherent in this circumstance.
First, let’s take the drama out of executions. There used to be a tradition of giving prisoners facing execution a last meal, of their choice. Many states are getting away from that. I propose a new tradition. This one would solve supply chain issues. (Many drug manufacturers don’t want their product associated with an execution.) I have a solution that undermines the cruel and unusual argument, creates a new prison industry and alleviates the problems surrounding the storage and destruction of seized drugs.
Let the condemned prisoners select the drug or drugs of their choice. The state already has the dope. Inmate chemists already in the system can handle quality control. How can it be cruel and unusual for an inmate to ingest a drug that he/she would willingly consume without state sanction. I see two downsides. One, having to educate prisoners that a parking ticket does not qualify one for execution. The second problem is recruiting jailers who are able to keep up with the condemned as they sprint to the execution chamber.
The second lesson is that once the state takes over a relatively straightforward process, a drug overdose, there will be fuck ups. Jimmy Breslin once pointed out that one particular Mafia family couldn’t run a gas station at a profit, even if they stole the customer’s cars. He could have been talking about the government.