If I was to put my finger on one of the greatest things that hit me immediately after the execution was verbalized so clearly in the last three paragraphs of the article. “….the normal carrying out of a bureaucratic procedure…” I had the feeling that in Florida, no one was safe from such an incompetent government where mistakes of this nature are dusted off as a regrettable error.
This is one of the better postings to the New York Times editiorial page.
“……In Gardner’s case, one of the five executioners was given blanks to fire, without any of the squad members knowing which of them this was. In this way responsibility for the execution was diffused, so as to ensure that no one member of the firing squad would, with certainty, be tainted by it. This diffusion was also an implicit acknowledgment that to participate in an execution is to risk being tainted.
Execution cannot be fully normalized or proceduralized, and the attempt to do so is in a certain respect more terrifying than the murder to which it is a response: the murder was plainly a transgression, whereas the compensatory execution is allowed for in our books of law, as the culmination of normal procedure-following. The death penalty makes it possible for killing to be encompassed within the normal carrying out of a bureaucratic procedure, rather than remaining a transgression or a suspension of our ordinary commitments. To uphold capital punishment is therefore to make killing itself normal: something that it is not even for the great majority of murderers.
Killing is, in short, cruel and unusual, and this is why murderers are rightly despised. This is also why capital punishment fits so well as part of the system of justice of absolutist states, but cannot, and never will, have an uncontested place in a democracy……’
Cruel and Unusual: A President’s ‘Pardon’ as Dark Parody