Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Checking the medicine cabinet

From the Texas Tribune we have an accounting of the stockpile of drugs Texas has on hand for executions. What we don't have, thanks to the reactionary legislators we are infested with, is the name (or names) of the compounding pharmacies that supplied the drugs to the state.

The names of those pharmacies should be released because residents of this state have a right to know if their pharmacist is assisting the state in killing people. Besides, if state sponsored murder is ordained by God as being good and proper, the people behind the scenes from the pharmacists to the doctors to the nurses to the person pushing the plunger should all have their names made public. The very fact that the state shields their identities tells you all you need to know about the ethics of the death penalty.

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Any doctor, nurse or pharmacist that participates in an execution (in any way) on behalf of the state should be stripped of their licenses because they are violating their oaths and their ethical duties as medical professionals.

Texas currently has 12 doses of pentobarbital stashed away in the medicine cabinet. Eight of those does will expire (according to their labels) on July 20. The other four doses will expire on November 9. Interestingly enough, the expiration dates on six of those doses was extended by the state on January 22, 2018.

There is no reason given for the extension and no explanation of what happens to the drug after it reaches the expiration date. Does the drug lose its potency after the expiration date? Does it happen suddenly or gradually? What effect does an expired drug have on an inmate? What's the criteria for extending an expiration date? Are the drugs testes to determine their efficacy or potency?

With four executions scheduled between now and the middle of May, it's a good bet that the drugs that had their lives extended are drugs that will reach their expiration date on July 20.

These are the moral compromises we make as a society when we decide it's right for the government to take the life of another. If you are religious you should be appalled because it's an out and out violation of one of the Ten Commandments. If you consider yourself to be pro-life, you should be appalled because it's the taking of a life. If you believe in limited government you should be appalled because their is nothing more intrusive the state can do then take the life of someone.

We allow the state to kill in our name because we are angry with someone for what they did. It has nothing to do with punishing someone for their crimes -- it's nothing short of revenge. We are (or at least should be) better than that and one day our children or grandchildren will look at us with contempt for what we sanctioned and ask us why.

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