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Knowing Sadism

we're good at killing people, so why can't we execute flawlessly, painlessly, and quick?

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

I give whole blood every two months and have for about a decade and sporadically before. In this recent span, I've bled out eight gallons, or so my gifted pin says. There are people who are credited with giving far more in the same time, but these lucky stiffs get to use this fancy machine that takes out their blood, removes the desired items, and pumps the rest back in. You can do this about every two weeks.

I tried that, had an iffy first experience on that machine and bad second one. At one point there was a huge glob of risen skin suggesting a bubble, so the session ended and whatever I had dripped into a bag was for naught. They have to nuke anything that isn't totally correct. I went back to giving whole blood, my vanity offset by the fact my blood is pure and acceptable for infants. So. I gloat over that. And, truthfully, it does feel good to think my blood may have saved some puddle duck in their distress.

It also annoys me only about 4% of the population gives blood at all, almost all old folks. It surprises me how many things disqualify the donation of blood, from being in jail, tattoos, being gay, visiting Europe and certain times and locations and of course North Korea, which must eliminate thousands of us returning from that Wonderland.

Somewhere along the line, while my blood - strictly from a sense of duty - pours out into the bags and glass containers, I have started thinking about the death penalty and its enforcement by chemical injection. It's not a pleasant association, but hard to avoid. Especially during the times that one of the states, near all Southern, gets in a mood to execute. That always makes the media and is there in front of us for a few days. Sometimes more. It's bugging more of us all the time.

It's not just that we have a death penalty despite no evidence such saves money or deters crime. It's not even that so many of those they've executed were probably - and in some cases definitely - innocent. Awful enough. It's that they opt, as most states have, for execution by chemical injection. The efficiency of bullet and guillotine replaced by complex procedures easier to mess up. And far too often they botch it. Despite all the blather, the executed dies in some terror or massive pain in direct contradiction of the point of the chosen method. It happens enough - it's always happened - that it speaks to a sadistic desire by people to watch others die in pain. This mostly happens in Southern States, when the Blood of the Lamb is supposedly venerated and sadism is only associated with pervy sex acts, or so their church says.

Texas currently wants to execute one Robert Campbell, imprisoned in 1991. He took an IQ test and scored 71. The defense attorneys requested any such info in 2003, because the year previous the US Supreme Court banned execution of the mentally disabled. Apparently, Campbell is undeniably guilty of a gruesome murder, and so Texas is fighting to kill him.

What makes me rub my arm where my skin once bubbled, is the recent bolloxed execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma. Oklahoma was varying the standard three liquids sequentially injected into the doomed, the first to make them unconscious, the other two to kill. Ten minutes after the administration of the first drug, an attending physician said Luckett was unconscious, but he wasn't. Three minutes after the final drugs were injected, Lockett squirmed and tried to sit up. Officials lowered blinds to prohibit witnesses from seeing, and they soon were ordered out. Five more minutes, the execution was postponed for two weeks, but forty three minutes after that, Lockett died of a heart attack while still in the execution chamber.

In reading about this, I learned that the person who inserted the needles is only a phlebotomist, the same level of expertise that takes my blood. And, although I'm comfortable at a 45 degree angle, and to date nobody has wheeled three bags of clear liquid near, there's enough similarity to make one queasy.

The whole idea of drugged execution is to insure painless death. If that were true, wouldn't they just pour opiates into the system till death? Or just shoot or behead them? They made it so complicated, so prolonged, you cannot help but think they want to preserve the option of inflicting pain and terror. Because, if this isn't sadistic, nothing is.