Imagine, if you can, being strapped into a wooden contraption designed to send powerful electrical currents through your body, causing your veins to explode, your organs to melt and your feeble, broken frame to seize and shake uncontrollably … and then you die, your head still smoking from the electrodes hooked to the bald spot shaved into it, your limbs still trembling, mouth still frothing, the stench of burnt flesh permeating everything around you.
Apparently, to the so-called “pro-life” conservatives in Alabama’s House of Representatives, this scenario doesn’t sound too bad.
In fact, it sounds fantastic.
One can only surmise this from the recent vote in the House to bring back the “Yellow Mama,” the brilliant name given to the medieval torture device locked in a basement at Holman Prison, as a means of execution when lethal injection drugs can’t be obtained.
It shouldn’t surprise any readers to know that I am staunchly opposed to the death penalty — it seems to stand in direct conflict to the old adage my mother taught me that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
However, here in the South murdering murderers is something we take great pride in.
In fact, I would wager that we could get a better turnout for a public hanging or stoning than we can for midterm elections.
Anytime I have the discussion about the immorality and cruelty of the death penalty, I’m met with the same explanations and excuses:
- “It saves tax money.”
- “It’s better than having to feed them.”
- “If you kill somebody, you deserve to die.”
Past that, I’ve heard no moral reasoning as to why it’s okay to kill someone, so arguing these points is not very difficult for a modestly enlightened mind.
To the first and second points, if we were really interested in saving money on our overcrowded prison system we would institute real prison reform — by discontinuing the incarceration of non-violent offenders, the number of prisoners in our system would drop dramatically and, as a result, save the state millions of dollars.
We could also do away with “mandatory minimums,” which can have a 20-year-old pothead in prison for more years than a convicted rapist or murderer.
To the third point, this mostly falls from the foolish lips of people too hypnotized by right-wing theology to think about what they are saying.
For one, you don’t rectify a crime by committing the same crime, particularly knowing that we regularly execute innocent people in this country.
Further, where do humans get the audacity to think that we have dominion over another person’s soul and can decide when, why and how they die?
Arrogance, hate and ignorance — the same traits which make people hate social programs to help the poor or feed the hungry.
Compassion is not something Alabamians are very good at, and it shows in the majority of our backwards policies concerning our most disenfranchised and desperate citizens.
While our most savage offenders may certainly be unfit to mingle among the public, a concerted effort on the part of our lawmakers to make them productive, educated and content prisoners would be much better than turning them into bacon.
Crossposted from Piece of Mind.
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.