May 17, 2021

On the "how can we be more cruel and inhuman" front, we have the Republican governor of South Carolina uncritically signing a bill designed to kill more (mostly Black) people using methods that are worthy of medieval times. I should also add the disclaimer that I am adamantly against capital punishment in any form, but these two methods on the menu are particularly heinous.

If you are an inmate on Death Row in South Carolina, you may choose lethal injection, a firing squad or the electric chair. Previously, it was just the injection or the electric chair, but South Carolina legislators saw a need for another choice, adding the firing squad to force inmates to choose a method which could be carried out, since lethal injection drugs are in short supply.

There are currently three inmates on death row in South Carolina who have exhausted all of their appeals. All have chosen lethal injection as the method by which they will be killed by the state. This new law will force those three inmates to choose between the attainable options -- firing squad or electric chair.

They could have eliminated it instead. That would have been a better way to go. Instead, they spout this drivel:

“For several years, as most of you know, South Carolina has not been able to carry out executions,” state Sen. Greg Hembree (R), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said on the Senate floor. “Families are waiting, victims are waiting, the state is waiting.”

Nearly half of the inmates on South Carolina's Death Row are Black men, in a state where Blacks comprise 27 percent of the overall population. So when State Senator Hembree utters such a bloodthirsty statement, it's easy to see why there was such a rush to reinstate what can only be described as an inhuman act by the state.

This is the lie they tell: That killing a person will somehow bring "closure" to the family of the victim. It won't. It isn't even a particularly effective revenge. But it does let them justify in their dark hearts the disproportionate number of Black men they can fry or shoot.

There is the problem of possibly wrongful executions. Like this one:

“No one should be executed when there is a possibility that person is innocent,” attorney Nina Morrison said in April 2017, just after Lee — convicted in the 1990s — became the first person put to death in Arkansas in more than a decade. The state drew national scrutiny for moving aggressively through capital cases before one of its drugs used in executions expired.

Four years later, attorneys say genetic material from the murder weapon in Lee’s case points to someone else.

New testing found DNA from an unknown man on the handle of the bloody club apparently used to bludgeon Debra Reese to death, according to lawyers who sued the city of Jacksonville, Ark., to have old evidence analyzed. The Innocence Project, the American Civil Liberties Union and Lee’s family sought the testing last year in an unusual effort to exonerate someone with DNA testing even after the person’s execution.

There's only one way to reduce the chance of an error: End capital punishment altogether.

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