A Compromise on the Death Penalty - Island of Sanity

Island of Sanity


A Compromise on the Death Penalty

The Supreme Court has blocked the execution of three convicted murderers while the courts review their claim that execution by lethal injection violates their constitutional rights. The claim that, although the procedure includes a massive does of anesthesia, they might still suffer some momentary pain.

The three men are:

  1. Clarence Hill, who shot two policemen while attempting an armed robbery of a bank. One died.
  2. Arthur Rutherford, who beat 63-year-old Stella Salaman to death. Stella was found with her head in her bathtub, a broken arm, bruises on her face and arms, and three head wounds. Rutherford stole $2000 from her house after killing her. And
  3. Michael Morales, who murdered and raped 17-year-old Terri Winchell. After luring her to an isolated spot, he tried to strangle her with his belt. But the belt broke, so he hit her in the head with a hammer at least 23 times. He then dragged her face down across the ground to the spot where he raped her. Finally he stabbed her four times in the chest to make sure she was dead.

None of these three is claiming that he is innocent. Rather, they say that the possibility that they might suffer a few seconds of pain would be an act of unspeakable cruelty, and that lethal injection is barbaric.

Hey, I have an idea for a compromise! If lethal injection is too cruel for these poor men, let's give them a choice: They can either die by lethal injection, or they can die in the same manner that they killed their victims. They apparently had no moral qualms with killing other people by beating or strangulation, so clearly they don't think these are excessively cruel, and they should have no objection to having this done to them.

© 2006 by Jay Johansen


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