To: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Re; Op/ed and/or letter submission
From: Dudley Sharp, 713-622-5491, Houston, Texas
The FWST’s “Texas’ switch in execution drugs warrants proper review” (1) is a “sky is falling” rant
which avoids reality.
which avoids reality.
It is well known that the new replacement drug, pentobarbital, has near identical characteristics as sodium thiopental, the drug it is replacing.
Reflecting the same drama and ignorance as chicken little, the FWST writes: “A state-administered execution isn’t supposed to inflict as much pain and horror on the convicted killer as the victim felt.”
(My rant deleted, regarding the blatant callousness of the FWST equating the known pain and horror of innocentmurder victims with that of the guilty murderers, for which no pain has been demonstrated)
The drug being replaced is the first drug administered. It is the third drug administered which might cause pain – but only if the first drug is improperly administered.
Evidently, unbeknownst to the FWST, their actual concern is the proper administration of the drug, not the characteristics of it. Texas has always done a good job at properly administering the lethal injection protocol. Something that the FWST is well aware of.
Maybe FWST should have read the recent Baze v Kentucky decision on this very issue:
“Because some risk of pain is inherent in even the most humane execution method, if only from the prospect of error in following the required procedure, the Constitution does not demand the avoidance of all risk of pain.” “Petitioners have not carried their burden of showing that the risk of pain from maladministration of a concededly humane lethal injection protocol, and the failure to adopt untried and untested alternatives, constitute cruel and unusual punishment.” ” In light of the safeguards Kentucky’s protocol puts in place, the risks of administering an inadequate sodium thiopental dose identified by petitioners are not so substantial or imminent as to amount to an Eight Amendment violation.” (2)
For all appeals, courts will pause for review, if they find the need. But, Baze, clearly, tells us what will occur with any such review, on this issue.
The FWST, blowing more smoke, says:
“Texas prison officials need to do more than take Oklahoma’s word for it that swapping one of the three drugs used for lethal injections won’t increase the procedure’s in humaneness.”
It appears that any willful ignorance is that of the FWST not Texas prison officials.
The characteristics of pentobarbital have been well known since 1931. It has been used in countless human and animal euthanasias, based upon its reliability to produce painless deaths. It is the primary drug in human euthanasia in Oregon.
Not only did Oklahoma use it in their three drug protocol, the same protocol as used in Texas, but Ohio also used it in a recent execution, whereby only pentobarbital was used in their one drug protocol. As easily predictable, both executions resulted in a peaceful death.
If Texas executed by firing squad, the substitution of sodium thiopental with pentobarbital is similar to replacing one 30-06 cartridge made by Federal with another 30-06 cartridge made by Remington, with both having virtually identical characteristics – and identical results.
The problem is not the cartridge change, but only missing the mark, as the FWST did with this opinion piece.
1) 4/4/11, http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/04/04/2974048/texas-switch-in-execution-drugs.html#ixzz1IcwczOuJ