Oklahoma has secrecy laws that makes it virtually impossible to find out where it gets the drugs executioners use to kill prisoners sentenced to death.
The drugs that executioners used for years are not available because manufacturers (in Europe) refuse to sell them in American markets. As a result, state executioners use drugs made in small batches, which may not be pure or even what they purport to be. State legislatures create protocols to administer drugs in untested doses and untested combinations. They are very literally experimenting on human subjects.
Last night, the state of Oklahoma experimented Clayton Lockett. And the experiment went terribly wrong. For forty-three minutes, the state of Oklahoma tortured Clayton Lockett. From James Downnie at the Washington Post:
Tuesday night, Oklahoma tortured a man to death. At 6:23 local time, a doctor began to inject Clayton Lockett with a sedative. Seven minutes later, convinced Lockett was sedated, the doctor then began to inject the second and third drugs in the lethal cocktail that were supposed to end Lockett’s life. But Lockett “began to twitch and gasp” after having been declared unconscious. He called out “man” and “something’s wrong.” He then “struggled violently, groaned and writhed, lifting his shoulders and head from the gurney before the blinds to the [execution] room were lowered 16 minutes after the execution began.” The doctor “intervened and discovered that ‘the line had blown,’ said the director of corrections, Robert Patton, meaning that drugs were no longer flowing into his vein.”
A fuller account can be found at the New York Times.
Being outraged, I wrote a letter to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, who demanded the execution take place despite a stay by the Oklahoma State Supreme court, to show compassion and stop executions in her state until it can be done responsibly.
Here is what I wrote:
Dear Governor Fallin,
Please show true Christian love and a confirmed faith in the American democratic process by stay executions in Oklahoma an independent third party has determined a proven medically safe way to kill prisoners.
An independent third party cannot include anyone on your staff or who reports to someone in the state legislature.
(1) Will you agree to form an honest, independent party to review your state’s execution protocols?
(2) Will you agree to stay executions until a proven, safe, humane protocol to kill prisoners has been established?
A concerned American,
Joshua A. Reyes
Please write to her, too. You can email her here.