Does Capital Punishment Brings Out the Stupid in People?

Stupid in gold against maroon background. Image Creative Commons by by attribution

Op-Ed by C J Oakes

As with any hot-button issue in America, capital punishment seems to really bring out the stupid in people, Governors and Judges included. Check out what levels of stupid are occurring in Arkansas related to executions planned.

Stupid Number One: The Arkansas Department of Corrections

English: Total number of executions carried ou...
English: Total number of executions carried out in the USA since 1960 Source of data: Death Penalty Information Center – Executions in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

McKesson Medical-Surgical, Inc. filed court documents to halt executions by the state of Arkansas Department of Corrections claiming that the organization misled the company when making a purchase of vecuronium bromide, a drug the state intends to use in capital punishment.

Judge Wendell Griffen of the Pulaski County Circuit Court issued a temporary order halting the use of the drug based on evidence that the Department of Corrections used a medical license which was provided for medical purposes other than executions. In addition, it appears that the Arkansas Department of Corrections further circumvented normal protocol in an intentional effort to mislead McKesson Medical-Surgical, Inc.

Stupid. This does NOT help proponents of the death penalty make their case. Instead, it just makes those who believe in the ultimate punishment seem like zealots. Stupid.

Stupid Number Two: Governor Asa Hutchinson

Next up, Governor Asa Hutchinson in March sped up intended executions of eight inmates in an apparent effort to, what? Seem tough? Get attention? Was Hutchinson weaned from his mother’s teet too soon? Who knows?

What we do know is that he intended to use Midazolam, which has been found to result in terribly painful deaths. Stupid. Did Governor Hutchinson not realize that holding mass executions would result in enormous outcries and unwanted attention from opponents of the death penalty? Was that his intent?

Bravo. The ploy worked.

Best of all, it also makes proponents of the death penalty look even more like unreasonable zealots. Stupid. Again, stupid, Mr, Hutchinson.

Stupid Number Three: US District Judge Kristine Baker

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker shot down the states’ efforts to execute the men in record time using Midazolam. Her reasoning is that the drug has already been known to fail and result in very painful executions, in opposition to the Constitutional prohibition against cruel punishments. Fair enough. But listen to her ruling. Regarding the risk of pain to the inmates to be executed, she wrote,

“The threat of irreparable harm to the plaintiffs is significant.”

Number of executions each year by the method u...
Number of executions each year by the method used in the United States and the earlier colonies from 1608 to 2004. The adoption of electrocution caused a marked drop off in the number of hangings, which was used even less with the use of the gas chamber. After Gregg v. Georgia, most states changed to lethal injection, leading to its rise. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now think about that. Two things stand out.

Yes, if the Midazolam fails, there will be pain; and this pain will cause “irreparable harm” to them, most likely lasting for life…which at that point, would likely be minutes.

Did the Judge think about what she was saying?

That is the second point. She didn’t SAY it. She wrote it in her verdict. Did she READ it?

Clearly not, because she comes off as, well, stupid. That was a terrible argument. It makes opponents of the death penalty look like zealots. Stupid.

Does Capital Punishment Brings Out the Stupid in People?

Clearly, yes. Capital punishment, like many hot-button issues, brings out the stupid in people. As seen here, the stupidity cuts across political lines…both sides are equally stupid.

And that is the biggest stupid of all.

Until we get our heads out of our proverbial asses, we are never going to come to a consensus on the toughest choices facing the nation. We have become like children fighting over marbles on a playground.

The stupid part is, the stakes are much higher than marbles.

PS-In case anyone noticed, the grammar in the Title is very wrong. This was not intended, but rather a straight up mistake on my part–I guess this Capital Punishment really DOES bring(s) out the stupid in people…even me;)

President, Publisher at Oakes Media Group
C J Oakes is an author and freelance writer from Lubbock, TX, USA. In addition to this website, he operates and

As an author, he has numerous books to his credit including the best-selling Survive and Thrive After the Collapse of the Dollar series. In addition, he has written over a hundred books for clients since 2011 and has created innumerable web pages for law firms and others worldwide.

Passionate about Justice, Mr. Oakes believes that the scales of justice are never balanced, but it is the duty of each citizen to do their part to re-calibrate the scales as needed. When the scales of justice shift too far to one side, they must be returned a near as possible to center.

He built this site with the goal of helping students of criminal justice understand how to apply the principles needed for re-calibrating the scales as well as providing easy access to needed study resources.

Criminal Justice Law International welcomes guest posts and anyone interested in contributing to the goals of the site.

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