The news has been full of reports about how the state of Oklahoma botched the execution of Clayton Lockett on Tuesday. According to reports, instead of drifting off peacefully after the drugs were administered, Lockett was declared unconscious after 10 minutes but then began breathing heavily, writhing, clenched his teeth and strained to lift his head from the pillow. Prison officials stopped the execution, and the condemned man died of an apparent heart attack minutes later.

So was this really a failed execution as the news is reporting? Not in my opinion. Lockett is dead, so it worked. Just not quite as quickly and as quietly as expected.

Of course, it’s not that simple. At least not in the eyes of the news media and those who are apposed to capital punishment. They say that Clayton Lockett suffered unreasonably before he died. Oklahoma prison officials blame the problem on a new drug combination used in the execution.

Call me cold and callous, but I’m sorry, I really don’t see the problem. Lockett was a four-time felon who was convicted of shooting an 18 year old woman named Stephanie Neiman and then watching as his two accomplices buried her alive. What had Ms. Neiman done to deserve such a terrible death? Had she jilted Lockett and broken his heart? Was she part of a drug deal gone bad? No, she and a friend simply stumbled onto the scene while Lockett and his friends were robbing a home on June 3, 1999. For that she was beaten, raped, and then brutally murdered. She had graduated from high school only two weeks earlier and had her whole life ahead of her.

They say Lockett suffered? How much did Stephanie Neiman suffer as she was violated?  How much did she suffer from her gunshot wounds? How much did she suffer as they shoveled dirt onto her, choking out her last breath? For the last fourteen years Lockett lived off the taxpayers as they paid the legal fees for his appeals. How much did Stephanie Neiman’s family suffer as they grieved her loss?

I hope Clayton Lockett suffered when he died. I hope that wherever he is right now he’s still suffering.

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51 Comments on He’s Dead, So It Worked

  1. Robert says:

    The criminals on death row are there because they’ve been convicted of doing something so abhorrent and grotesque that it shakes the very foundation of what we hold virtuous in a civilized society. So we have a system in place where in the most extreme cases we exterminate them from the population. When a human being has been proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that f’d up beyond all repair, I find it difficult to rally to deny those who find justification, purpose and to the directly offended maybe even some solace in the administration of capital punishment. But what does it say about us who claim to espouse righteousness if we allow ourselves to sink to the level of those we condemn by taking some kind of sadistic pleasure in a tortured painful execution of that judgment…
    I remember as a young man, being raised Catholic, attending Catholic schools, altar boy, the whole bit, encountering one of my first personal conundrums challenging my faith, that how is it reasonable that an all loving, merciful, compassionate and forgiving God could punish a being of His own creation to an eternity of anguish and torment. After all, to the rational mind, it would seem to serve no purpose other than vindictive vengeance to incorporate pain and agony if rehabilitation is not part of the intended goal. That seems paradoxical to me, and similarly neither does it seem rational or justified to inflict pain and agony on death row convicts when there is neither the intention nor opportunity considered for rehabilitation. To those of you who claim the eye for an eye thing, there is reference to a vengeful God in the Old Testament, but looking to the New Testament for those of you who claim to be Christian, Jesus said and I quote: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also”.
    I’d guess that those posting here who apparently get some kind of gratification from the administration of an agonizing death to these individuals are of the same mentality that allowed so many of us to rationalize and cheer on the illegal practice of waterboarding and other means of torture in the days of the Cheney administration… I always thought that we as Americans are held to a higher standard and were better than that.

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