I'm just a touch perplexed by today's editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The ed board there is apparently extra-horrified by the way Ohio now plans to execute its death-row prisoners:
The continued practice of capital punishment got even more unsettling with Ohio's announcement that it will become the second state that executes convicts with a drug typically used to euthanize animals.
Pentobarbital is well-known to veterinarians, who use it to euthanize terminally ill pets.
Comparisons between executions and putting a pet out of its misery might be unfair, but they're unavoidable now. Some people call murderers "animals," which is how they will be treated when Oklahoma and Ohio dispatch them to eternity.
The whole apparatus of state-sanctioned executions is awful to comprehend, but even more so with the use of a drug pulled from your local vet's medicine cabinet.
I think the Inquirer is trying to say that the death penalty is bad, and I agree. But I don't get this particular set of quibbling. Is the death penalty really worse because states have exchanged one set of lethal chemicals for another? It's hard to see how. It would be one thing if the Inquirer wanted to argue the new chemicals will some how increase a convict's suffering during execution, but that's not what is being said here, and I'm not sure that's even the case. There are a host of reasons to believe that states shouldn't have the power of life or death over their citizens; I'm not sure that squeamishness is really going to rank that highly among them.