Moral Contradictions

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Did I watch this on South Park?

Okay, I'm a dork - I was lying in bed, about to turn out the light, when I opened my cell phone to check my email. I then went to CNN to catch up on the latest headlines in a desperate attempt to avoid sleep for a few more minutes. The following caught my eye and forced me out of bed...

The title of the article is "Death row elder needed 2 injections". That piqued my interest because I still haven't completely hashed out my feelings about the state taking people's lives. Seventy-six year old Clarence Ray Allen was finally executed Tuesday after years and years on death row - 23 to be exact. Even though he required to be helped out of his wheelchair onto the gurney, a second potassium shot was needed to stop his heart. However, this quote blew me away:

Having suffered a heart attack back in September, Allen had asked prison authorities to let him die if he went into cardiac arrest before his execution, a request prison officials said they would not honor.

"At no point are we not going to value the sanctity of life," said prison spokesman Vernell Crittendon. "We would resuscitate him," then execute him.

Whoa. I still cannot wrap my round around that quote. To my logic, which is fair game for criticism, that concludes that executing him - rather than letting him die - naturally respects the sanctity of life. Read the quote out loud. Again. The more I read it, the more confused I become.

So... what's the point of execution? Is it justice, as so many death penalty proponents claim, or is it simply state-sponsored revenge? If it was purely justice, death comes no matter what. If he dies from a heart attack, he's gone, he's off the street, he can't order any more hits from his jail cell. Gone. Poof. Accounting to God. Dead. Using extensive human and monetary resources to bring someone back to life only to kill them a short while later makes. no. sense. The pro-death penalty crowd lost some points with me in this case.

Think back 50 or 100 years ago - in both the Schiavo case and this case, Ms. Schiavo would have died after her condition, and had Mr. Ray gone into cardiac arrest at any point before Tuesday he would've died, yet according to today's society, these scenarios wouldn't respect the sanctity of life? In the stereotypical world, isn't it those elitist Volvo-loving liberals the ones that want to implement a cradle to the grave socialist system? Or with today's hot button social issues always being brought up for personal political gain, do today's conservatives only concern themselves with just the cradle and the grave?

I am finding it harder and harder to cleave to any one particular side on many of these issues because I keep finding inherent inconsistencies with both sides. I have friends that read me as a Republican and others that swear I'm a Democrat. Whether you believe me or not, my voting record has been all over the spectrum. Sometimes I feel like my only choices are Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich (bonus points if you laughed at that). All I know is I'm going to go get my will straightened out very, very soon, because when I die, I don't want it to be by the state's terms.

Back to bed - if I can sleep.

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