Kenneth Eugene Smith A man is on death row in Alabama, and… well, they don’t know how to kill him.
He has been in prison since 1988, when he was convicted of cold-blooded or cold-blooded murder – a long sentence by any standard. He was one of two contract killers who, for $1,000 each, killed a preacher’s wife who wanted her dead so she could collect the life insurance money. It was a brutal murder – assault and multiple stabbings. The preacher kills himself when he thinks he is about to be arrested, and Smith’s companion is long dispatched by him. Lethal injection.
Smith, however, is spared because the authorities were Unable to expand a vein Before the death warrant expires. So he survived. While it may sound a little surreal, in his most recently published prison mug shot, Smith’s facial expression seems like a man quietly satisfied that he’s cheated death for nearly 40 years. He can do it again.
Frustrated by the failure of lethal injection, and old methods of judicial death such as the electric chair or hanging now abandoned, Albamin suggests gassing Smith. Death with pure nitrogen. This will, perhaps, have the desired result – but, of course, they may discover it. Her lawyers argue that her suffocation, which amounts to a painful drowning, would be both inhumane and unconstitutional – a type of “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.
An Alabama prisoner is the first to be executed by nitrogen gas.
And you have to take the Constitution of the United States of America seriously, because it applies to a low life like Smith. (I’m leaving aside the obvious human rights issues and the morality of the death penalty, and they don’t have the ECHR in states – can you imagine?)
It’s causing a lot of anger and confusion in Alabama and beyond, but there’s an easy way to determine what to do, and one that speaks to all of us: the dog test.
In other words, what would you say if you took a very cute but sick pet to the vet and they told you the kindest thing to do would be to euthanize it? Because if you wouldn’t treat a dog like that, you shouldn’t treat a human being like that, no matter how bad they are.
It should go without saying that no vet is going to recommend hanging your dog or strapping it to a chair and pumping 2,000 volts, unless they have a particularly ridiculous sense of humor.
I also think that most dog owners would be uncomfortable with putting a mask on your hound and administering nitrogen gas, during the process the animal would panic, go into pain, fit in discomfort and possibly die. will typically suffocate on its own vomit and be left in a vegetative state. Even gas can leak and infect others. Obviously, the vet’s preferred method is an injection so the pet can pass quietly, with some dignity and comfort.
Now, if Smith couldn’t easily be injected, it seems a little ridiculous to subject him to daily attempts to lift a vein until the executioner had finished the job – surely a cruel and unseemly act. It is a simple ritual. Presumably, we’ve moved beyond hanging, electrocution, firing squad or beheading as a bit too messy and theatrical, so in the absence of any other humane way to end Smith, they might as well put him in Holman Prison. Will adapt. The rest of his day — and he was actually sentenced to life in prison by a jury before a judge intervened and handed down Smith’s final sentence.
Yet the state seems determined to execute Gas-Smith with this novel and essentially untested method that may yet go wrong. As I say, if you shouldn’t be with a dog, you shouldn’t be with a man.
It is a reminder of why human rights were invented.