The State of Alabama Last Night Tortured a Man While Slowly Snuffing Out His Life

I came across this article while I was, as usual, scrolling down my Facebook notifications page two days ago. I have to admit that the connection to the discussions during the course was not apparent until I finished the readings on racial disparities for our last class, and I found out that it resonates with two issues presented in the anthology Race and the Genetic Revolution. These are, namely, the problem of how, if an authoritative institution wants something to happen, it will happen despite any degree of objection, as well as the question of how do we challenge the judicial and legislative systems.

The refusal to change the inadequate midazolam anesthetic and the agonizing 34-minute death of Ronald Smith raise the question of the need to revisit the legislation about capital punishment and the perverse perception of humanity. I do understand that it is hard to sympathize with convicted criminals (in the case, of capital murder of a woman), and that I would personally not be unbiased as an attendant to the execution or court, but what makes a lower court forego decisions by an upper one and insist on, as cited, ‘’knowingly torturing’’ a person ‘’who was almost certainly awake’’, and  isn’t ensuring just treatment of everybody the main idea behind the justice system? I believe that the article reiterates how personal biases affect the way we address people and how predetermination in law is an unsinkable entity that brings upfront our own subjective desires, dismissing ethical treatment and ‘’human decency’’.

I wonder what a normal human being (here I mean a person with no legislative/judicial agency and am not putting forward any moral implications) can thus do to protect themselves despite having an army of attorneys and whether execution is a true measure of justice and not an eye -or-an-eye scenario.

Moreover, another class reading resonance question, is the subtle distinction between what is right and what is wrong and what is legal and illegal. Apparently, the system treats these two word pairs as synonymous, but then why wouldn’t it allow the convict to be executed by a bullet? I find it deeply disturbing that death ought to be ”protocolized” in legislative terms, as if a biological experiment is carried out and not the life of a human being, be it a murdered or innocent person, is being determined (I guess the idea of forgetting personality and animalizing the body through execution reverberates with everything we learned in class).

Hence, the article puts forward he question of what exactly human decency is and challenges the idea of using torturous capital punishment. I have been deeply disturbed by one allusion in this text, however: what are the moral implications of being given the opportunity to construct and sign one’s own death penalty, and why are still executions legal? Why is such a progressive and evolving  species like us humans still primitive in the application of ethics despite all circumstances? I wonder what your thoughts are.



2 thoughts on “The State of Alabama Last Night Tortured a Man While Slowly Snuffing Out His Life”

  1. I think that as a punishment it is cruel. If we look at the death penalty from a symbolic perspective, it is the ultimate control over someone’s life. Essentially the state decides when you leave this world. By considering this factor and realizing that the majority of death row inmates are black, I see why the death penalty hasn’t completely fallen out of favor with mainstream society. I think that seeing bodies of color being killed under state sanction has a very dark, larger meaning carried with it.

  2. This article illuminates the current issues with America’s moral compass. It’s hard to be surprised that execution continues to be a form of capital punishment in our country when you look at the other atrocities that America has committed throughout History. After learning in class about the dark history of human experimentation in America and the mistreatment of immigrants at the US-Mexico border, execution just seems to fit in to the streak that America already has in cruelty.

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