Why I’m Not “Troubled” by Lockett’s Botched Execution

The President expressed troubling concern over Clayton Lockett’s botched execution, which left the poor thing writhing in pain before he died of a heart attack. While the President may sympathize with a convicted murderer and rapist, I don’t, and neither should you. Here’s why.

An execution is a medical procedure. All medical procedures come with a level of risk. Many patients in hospitals become the unfortunate victims of pain due to failed procedures. Most of the time it’s unintentional. The few times that it’s not, lawsuits sometimes get won. On the other hand, the courts have given significant leniency to doctors acting in their patients’ best interest, such as a recent case involving a doctor who intentionally amputated his patient’s penis. Bottom line here: things don’t always go as planned and there are many risks associated with all medical procedures, including executions. I suspect the doctor administering the lethal injection likely determined it was in the patient’s best interest to continue, rather than the additional pain and suffering it would have caused to stop the execution, revive the patient, then kill him all over again.

Where the President is clearly wrong here is his assumption that the prison should bear the responsibility for that risk, when in fact the risk of the procedure was assumed by the convicted felon himself. When did Lockett assume this risk? Just like the rest of us, he assumed the risk and consequences of his own actions when he violently shot and kidnapped a young 19-year old girl in a home invasion, raped one of her friends, then had the girl buried alive to die an agonizing asphyxiating death far worse than his own. Lockett didn’t get the death penalty for failing to file his taxes on time. He committed a series of evil, brutal crimes and earned his death by setting himself apart as a degenerate of society who deserved to die, based on our laws.

My sympathies here remain with the families of the victims of Mr. Lockett. It is inappropriate and poor taste for the President to sympathize in any way with the criminal, rather than the victims, over a medical procedure that Lockett assumed all risk of when he raped and murdered his victims. Do I believe that we should torture criminals? Of course not. But I for one would rather see more research dollars go into improving the number of other medical procedures out there that cause pain and suffering to law abiding citizens, rather than to improve procedures designed to end the lives of convicted criminals.

That’s just my two cents. Obama can sympathize with a rapist and murderer if he wants to. I have no intention of doing such thing. Lethal injections are far less cruel than other methods, and complications of medical procedures are nothing unusual.