"Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and beautiful — like something any one of us might experience in our final moments," U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in a dissent in the Arizona death penalty case of Joseph Rudolph Wood III. "But executions are, in fact, brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should we. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf."
I'm opposed to the death penalty. To the extent we still have one, this business of lethal drug cocktails is sophistry. Institutional, state-sponsored murder is murder. There is more dignity and humanity in a gunshot to the back of the head than in this falsely clinical approach. Putting on scrubs does not turn an executioner into a medic, nor does it change poison into medicine. Who are we trying to kid?