Today the New York Times reported on the US Supreme Court’s involvement in executions in Oklahoma. The court will hear a challenge to Oklahoma’s choice of drugs used in lethal injection. The Editorial Board has taken a stand against the “humane” facade of the death penalty, calling capital punishment an “abhorrent practice”. They write:
It is time to dispense with the pretense of a pain-free death. The act of killing itself is irredeemably brutal and violent. If the men on death row had painlessly killed their victims, that would not make their crimes any more tolerable. When the killing is carried out by a state against its own citizens, it is beneath a people that aspire to call themselves civilized.
Later they quote Alex Kozinski, a federal appellate judge in California who wrote:
But executions “are brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should it. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.”
As the United States’ “paper of record”, we welcome the New York Times’ strong condemnation of the death penalty and its reflection of the growing shift away from executions.