The US Constitution Bill of Rights’ 8th amendment states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.“
With this amendment, the US “founding fathers” in Congress who drafted and passed the Bill of Rights in 1789 were attempting to prevent any American from suffering the atrocities that prisoners historically suffered before that, i.e., cruel and brutal treatment at the hands and whims of their captors. For time immemorial, prisoners, whether found guilty of a crime or not, were beaten, tortured, starved and murdered in the most cruel, brutal and painful ways possible.
These founding fathers did not believe that the fledgling United States of America should follow that path at all. Instead, they advocated that every prisoner held in this country, regardless of whatever crimes they were charged with, should be treated humanely, and if punishment was warranted after a conviction (and certainly not before), it MUST be administered in a humane way, not one filled with the animal need for painful revenge.
Despite the 8th Amendment, however…when people have their emotions in play, very often justice is very often not their objective as much as is revenge, retaliation and retribution. “An Eye for An Eye” as the biblical references quote, is considered by many, particularly those on the Christian religious right, as the word of the deity, and thus more righteous than any law passed by humans.
Of course, this flies in the face of what Jesus said in the “sermon on the mount“
“You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Mt 5:38–39, NRSV)
The political Christian religious right in the USA is almost universally republican, and they claim to be believing and practicing Christians, but they seem to have no memory of who Christ was or the teachings of the man. Nor do they realize the hypocrisy and contradiction of teaching our children that murder is “sometimes” okay…like when the state does it.
So last week, Oklahoma, one of a number of states that executes prisoners convicted of capital crime, was scheduled to hold a double execution, the first in Oklahoma in many years. Lethal injection of a cocktail of untried and unproven chemicals was to be injected into Clayton Lockett, a convicted murderer. Admittedly, Lockett is a sociopathic monster, but the state’s act of murder against him did not reverse a single action on his part. Instead, it made the USA, one of the VERY few remaining western countries to still practice state-sanctioned murder, look barbaric to the rest of the civilized world.
Lockett’s murder by the state of Oklahoma, while resulting in his death, was not supposed to last 42 torturous minutes or cause death by heart attack, but it did. In all probability, the IV needle was inserted into the flesh of his groin, instead of his femoral vein. If you want to know the complete timeline of this atrocity, click HERE.
Of course, the GOP LOVES the death penalty, partly because of their religious base and partly because of their misguided view that it saves taxpayer money to execute (and thus stop feeding and clothing and boarding ) a prisoner over supporting his or her human needs throughout a lifetime. But the facts are that the average life-sentence prisoner will cost approximately US$1 million over a lifetime, while the average taxpayer cost for all the appeals of a prisoner sentenced to death is US$12 million!!!
So much for the conservative “Save the taxpayers money” idea….
And in fact, the folks on the right, who fancy themselves as the protectors of the American taxpayer dollar, cause MUCH MORE spending down the road to fix what they didn’t adequately fund in the first place. In the ultimate act of smoke and mirrors, they are now questioning and denying the facts presented and endorsed by no less than 300 topic experts in the National Climate Assessment, which says, in so many words, that climate change is real and provable, and the evidence that human activity is largely responsible for it is increasing.
This report also provides data on the climate changes ALREADY here, like longer, hotter summers and more extreme weather each year, flooding of railroad tracks in the northeastern states, more severe droughts in the Midwest and more wildfires in the west.
The republican response? “This “report” is just another attempt by the Obama administration to saddle the oil and coal industry with more intrusive federal regulations”..that will cost their best campaign contributors, a.k.a., the oil and coal industries, more money for compliance.
But down the road, the damage done by this climate catastrophe will have to mitigated with even MORE taxpayer money AFTER the damage has been done.
Embracing the bible as the ultimate instruction guide and denying science…Today’s GOP at work, folks.