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Updated Jul 25, 2014 - 3:21 am

Final Word: Let’s debate the death penalty, not the drugs

The execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood has once again ignited the debate over lethal injection.

Wood was administered the cocktail of lethal of drugs Wednesday just before 2 p.m., but wasn’t pronounced dead until nearly 4 p.m. The whole thing lasted nearly two hours, and the manner in which Wood died was denounced by many in the media who were watching as cruel and inhumane. Many said that Wood seemed to gasp for air hundreds of times and thus deduced that he was suffering.

These reporters are not doctors, nor do they have any formal training in the ways that humans experience death. Ever seen someone die of natural causes? What did that look like?

Wood’s attorneys had argued in the weeks leading up to the execution that because Arizona doesn’t officially say what drugs it uses to kill the condemned, nor admit to the source or manufacturer of them, that they shouldn’t be used. Keep in mind, they didn’t push for a more humane method that SHOULD be used, so their real endgame was simply staying the execution for THEIR client.

The victim’s family, not surprisingly, said they didn’t think Wood suffered. Jeannie Brown, daughter of one of Wood’s murder victims, said he appeared to be snoring and that he deserved what he had coming. I’ll leave it to you to decide if she really means she thinks it was painless, or she hopes it was painful because Wood shot her father and sister as they pled for their lives in 1989 in Tucson.

Now the state will have to investigate the medical nature of Wood’s death and issue a report about whether or not he suffered.

Most death penalty supporters likely don’t care if the condemned suffers a bit, considering his crime. Most opponents don’t think the death penalty should be used under ANY circumstances, so the supposed debate about the “cruelty” of various methods is just a ruse.

Bottom line, you either think the state should be in the business of executing people or you don’t. Let’s debate that, instead of the drugs the state uses to do it.


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