Clean Kind Killing

Executions should be by firing squad, federal appeals court judge says

“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.

Jesus I am confused. Jesus, would you help me choose a good stone please? I am afraid that if I choose one that is too small, it will only distract the guilty, not destroy him. If I choose a stone too big, I can’t pick it up and throw it at him. If I choose a stone too smooth, it won’t bruise or cut, nor inflict pain. If I choose too rough, I might get a laceration on my own skin. Jesus, please pick the stone for me.

We delude ourselves in the debate over capital punishment. We pretend we are Goldilocks choosing something from the variety of too soft, too hard and just right. Capital punishment is no children’s lullaby. It is a nightmare from which we refuse to awaken.

We have convinced ourselves that part of being a solid Christian nation of quiet, sweet, compassion, is making sure we choose the best stones. We try to kill with smooth stones. Americans don’t execute prisoners in barbaric cruel ways. We don’t cut heads off, or hang with ropes, riddle with bullets, or asphyxiate with toxic gases (anymore). We don’t strangle people in public squares lifting them up on a crane, or feeding them to ravenous dogs. We are much kinder when we kill. We are modern, scientific and civilized. We kill like we think Jesus would. Smooth Stones make the best clean kill.

Judge Kozinski continues; “…, 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 agree with the judge. This is a cruel act, and any attempt to mask that reality is exactly what those who asked Caesar to execute Jesus on their behalf. They did not want to get their hands bloody, so they asked the state to kill Jesus. John 18:31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, it is not lawful for us to put any man to death.

The most recent botched capital punishments were ‘botched ‘long before the condemned were placed on the gurney. We provided trained medical staff at the ‘bedside’ to assure things went smoothly. A clean needle, an alcohol swab to prevent infection, and taped down nicely, just like they do in the surgical preparation room before your gallbladder or hernia operation. This must be done professionally so as not to have any complication such as…., hmmmm?

If we fail in our attempt to kill, we do have the option of reviving and resuscitating. We have the sensibility and sensitivity of knowing when and how to save a person we are trying to kill. That is why the medical staff is on hand (no need to dial 911).

We are troubled because we are confronted with looking on as someone writhes, groans, sputters, spits, and sometime even speaks before dying. We are forced to watch suffering. We don’t like that.

Despite our vanity, we don’t like looking in mirrors. We don’t like to see the ugliness of the last and final act. We want to believe the convicted person had a gentle falling asleep, sweet snoring not a gurgling gasp. It must be like Goldilocks, who was gently awakened before the end of the story. It would ease our consciences and give us peace if we could kill nicely like putting our child’s favorite feeble, infirmed and suffering dog ‘Snuggles’ to sleep. “There, there my child, everything is going to be alright.”

Instead, this ugly departure signals to us the cruelty we attribute only to the person whom we are killing. We become just like the convicted and the cycle of human cruelty is not ended. We just extend it. We kill without a lullaby. That is not what we want.

The woman deserved to die. She was thrown down in front of Jesus and of course, He knew the law. She must die. Now, pick the right stone and do it quickly. No blood splatter, no broken bones, and no second stone can be allowed. It must be a kind, clean kill, like in America.

John 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you let him first cast a stone at her.