We have some good news for Oklahoma death row inmates! Your future execution is going to be safer.
Yesterday, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced that Oklahoma is revving up the old execution mill and preparing it for full-scale production. It will now be powered with pure, clean, and 100% natural hydrogen gas.
Oklahoma could resume executions as early as the end of the year, becoming the first state ever to use nitrogen gas.
"This is the safest, the best and the most effective method and we are moving forward," Attorney General Mike Hunter said at a news conference Wednesday announcing the change.
That's nice. Oklahoma's faced it's fair share of problems over the years, but at least we can still come together and do important things like make our executions safer. Now if only we can find a way to improve the safety of our suicides, we'll become a national model for safe death.
"This method has never been used before and is experimental," said Dale Baich, an assistant federal public defender and one of the attorneys representing 20 death row inmates in a federal lawsuit. "How can we trust Oklahoma to get this right when the state's recent history reveals a culture of carelessness and mistakes in executions?"
Dale brings up a good point. We can't really trust this state to do anything right. The DOC will probably accidentally order nitrous oxide and make the prisoner laugh to death. That's why I think we should just reinstate firing squads. Shooting and killing unarmed people is one of the few things Oklahoma law enforcement does right.
Also, I'd like to clarify that I'm not anti-death penalty – I think it should be reserved for the most heinous crimes – but I am anti-American death penalty. It's overused, has a racial bias, disproportionately targets lower-income individuals, and as the Innocence Project has taught us, the risks of executing an innocent person in this country is way too high.
Oklahoma is abandoning lethal injection for capital punishment four decades after becoming the first state to adopt the method. Lethal injection was first used in the state in 1990 and last used more than three years ago. It has become increasingly difficult, though, for Oklahoma and other states to find the necessary drugs.
"We can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait to find drugs," Hunter said.
The AG said using nitrogen, or an inert gas like helium, "will be effective, simple to administer, easy to obtain and requires no complex medical procedures." He also said there are numerous studies on its use, in assisted suicides.
Yep, we're using the assisted suicide method to execute prisoners. That's great! It would also probably be a good time to point out that assisted suicide is illegal in Oklahoma, but state sanctioned-executions are totally fine. How's that for freedom! No authoritarian hypocrisy there at all.