Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Better Penalty

Dear Indigna,

A friend of mine asked me to protest with her at San Quentin prison. The issue is whether or not “lethal injection” constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. Frankly, I am a product of public schools and consequently have no idea what she’s talking about. Could you tell me whether or not I ought to participate?

Majored in Cheerleading,
Sacramento, CA

Dear Majored,

I am glad you asked and indeed I can clarify this issue for you. I assume your friend was protesting on behalf of the fellow who raped, tortured and eventually killed a young girl. His lawyers are concerned, as we all should be, that a dose of barbiturates ten times that needed to kill an ordinary person might not be sufficient to put this he-man to sleep, and consequently he might feel pain when the paralyzing and heart-stopping drugs are administered.

Now, we’ve all seen the movies. We know that a person capable of such depraved and inhuman acts as the guys sentenced to death are simply not as easily killed as you or I. We’ve even seen guys who are electrocuted actually enter the electrical system so that they can continue to terrorize our citizens from beyond the grave! Consequently we must take extra careful precautions to ensure that the prisoner suffers absolutely no pain whatsoever during his execution. I mean, we really don’t want these guys any more pissed off at us than they already are, do we?

The theory of hypothetical pain is not the end of the story when we’re talking capital punishment . A corollary to that theory holds that some guys are “too sick” to be executed. Now, one might question the wisdom of expending medical resources on a condemned person. But are we no better than the hardened cons? Of course we must treat these prisoners, because to allow them to suffer would be inhumane. Give the poor fellow his heart transplant already, then we can execute him.

A third major axiom of capital defense jurisprudence involves the case of the mentally ill prisoner who cannot be executed because he is “incompetent,” i.e., similarly “too sick.” In these situations the guy’s lawyers often object to medical treatment because then he would be “competent” and thus available for execution. I think this qualifies as one of the stupidest situations in human experience. If we fail to provide one guy who is “too sick” to be executed with medical treatment, we are inflicting “cruel and unusual” punishment. But providing another guy with necessary treatment is equally “cruel and unusual”? Guys, get on the same page willya?

So as to obviate any objections on the part of the damned to “pain,” “cruelty,” or other forms of “suffering,” I humbly offer the following executionary recommendations:

Prisoners already get whatever they want to eat for their last meal, and I think that they should also have whatever guests they want in their cell just before execution, instead of just their “spiritual advisor” or whatever they call their drug dealer these days. I think three or four immoral swimsuit models or “men’s magazine” coverboys would be about right in a room the size of a cell, provided plenty of bedding is put down. Allow at least a couple of hours.

Finally, give the poor fellow all the intoxicants he could possibly ingest, legal and illegal. Remember, our objective is for this guy to be “feeling no pain.” Doesn’t marijuana make people giggle a lot? Anyhow, he should be administered some kind of laughing gas or similar glee-inducing intoxicant right before you take him down “the green mile” so he goes out with a smile on his face.

I’d like to see some lawyer argue that that is “cruel and unusual”! I’d say it’s darn nice of us. I promise you, he won’t object unless he’s a really, really ungrateful dude.


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