Happy Friday everyone, let’s talk about the death penalty in Oklahoma. Sure, there are better ways to start this article; but it would be irresponsible for me to rehash old jokes that didn’t work and inject them into the site. Speaking of that…
State officials announced Thursday morning that Oklahoma has found a reliable supply of drugs to resume executions by lethal injection.
Gov. Kevin Stitt, Attorney General Mike Hunter, Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow and other state officials made the announcement at a news conference at 11:30 a.m.
According to the attorney general’s office, the state will use an updated version of the previous protocol that includes recommendations by the 2016 multicounty grand jury. The three drugs that will continue to be used are midazolam, vecuronium bromide and potassium chloride.
Let me start by saying the death penalty is a complicated, problematic issue despite the side you stand on. Any carte blanche response to this can be misguided because they don’t represent all the factors at play.
But Oklahoma in particular has a terrible reputation for the state-murder business. In 2014 and 2015, two botched executions put Oklahoma in the worst limelight imaginable. And yet, despite all this, the state is going to push ahead with the same drugs as before.
But sure, I bet your death drugs are sure to work this time. Say what you will about Oklahoma, their blind optimism is inspiring.
State officials have said in the past that they wanted to use nitrogen gas instead of lethal injections amid a shortage of the injection drugs needed. However, the 2015 law allowing the state to develop a method for nitrogen hypoxia specifically states that death sentences shall be carried out by nitrogen hypoxia, only if the drugs for lethal injections are unavailable.
According to the AG’s office, the updated protocol includes several of the recommendations by the 2016 multicounty grand jury, such as a verification of execution drugs at every step in the process, more training for the execution team and more.
That’s amazing. Remind me to stay away from the Embassy Suites when the Oklahoma Execution Training Conference is happening. That would be a great conversation at the hotel bar.
“So, what are you in town for?”
“Six Sigma Execution Training? You?”
“I’m here for the EHS conference.”
Seriously, does Oklahoma not understand there are plenty of ways to kill someone quickly and humanely without training? Since you’re so gung-ho on killing inmates, have they considered a firing squad? A guillotine? Perhaps even getting run over by Kevin Stitt in a tractor? If you really want to kill someone in pure Oklahoma fashion, have them sit through another re-branding meeting. They’ll due in the cruelest form known to humankind: boredom.
If, or when, the drugs fail again, we’ll all be left saying, “Imagine That…”