Friday, May 2, 2014

The Wall & Some Things That Might Stick To It

I must confess that I was preoccupied Tuesday night by the sight of my beloved Blueshirts getting their Bauer skates beaten off by the Flyers in Game Six of their first-round playoff series that I paid little attention to the happenings in the great state of Oklahoma.  

Thus, I was awakened early Wednesday morning by a news alert on my phone that was initially a bit difficult to comprehend.  Something about Oklahoma halting an execution because of a problem with the cocktail of drugs that comprise the ingredients of its lethal injection.  According to the news alert - as I was able to understand it and to read it at 2:45 am without my glasses - the execution was halted but the inmate was nevertheless put to death.  Confused?  I sure as hell was. 

My confusion lifted when I learned that on Tuesday night in Oklahoma, there were two executions scheduled.  The first inmate scheduled to be put to death, Clayton Lockett, was rendered unconscious by the cocktail administered to him - only to start to awaken and to writhe about in pain approximately ten minutes later, which is NOT how this process is supposed to work.  Lockett died Tuesday night - of a heart attack. 

This piece is not intended as a commentary upon the use of the death penalty - in Oklahoma or anywhere else - or upon the guilt or innocence of Clayton Lockett, who was charged with, tried for and convicted of shooting a young woman named Stephanie Neiman in 1999 who happened to have the misfortune of returning home while Lockett and two pals of his were robbing it.  Lockett shot her with a shotgun and then watched as his two cohorts buried her alive. 

Ah Irony, thou art a cruel Bitch. 

But I digress.

What I was unaware of until I read some news accounts Wednesday morning of Tuesday night's events was that Tuesday was apparently "Two for Tuesday" in the Oklahoma Death Chamber.  Lockett was the early show - scheduled to die at 6:30 pm.  The second half of the twinbill was the scheduled 8:30 pm execution of Charles Warner.  Governor Mary Fallin ordered a 14-day stay of execution for Warner, which presumably will allow the people responsible for administering the lethal injection to figure out exactly why it did not work as intended upon Clayton Lockett.

In an era of day-night doubleheaders in Major League Baseball, I found the whole idea of Oklahoma doubling down on executions to be equal parts entertaining and off-putting.  Is Oklahoma's death row so jammed to the gunwales with inmates that the state needs to start paring down their numbers more quickly than one at at time?  Or perhaps Oklahoma is hoping to tap revenue from this idea and plans to set up a toll-free number similar to MovieFone that people can call in order to see which executions are happening on which night and at what time.  If you live in Ass Scratch, Oklahoma and find yourself with nothing to do on a Tuesday night, then maybe you might want to call that number to see who is scheduled for execution and at what time.  Theoretically you could plan your whole evening around it, "Honey, how about we grab an early dinner and then head over to the State Penitentiary in time to catch the 8:30 execution?  I think that fits our schedule better than the 6:30." 

Being a somewhat morbid asshole, I wondered too how it was determined which of these two gents - Lockett or Warner - drew the leadoff spot in Tuesday night's lineup.  Coin flip?  Odds and Evens?  Foot race through the yard?  Arm wrestling? 

Perhaps one final, winner-takes-all game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock? 

Maybe it should be no surprise that Oklahoma represents the tip of the spear in its addition of "Multiple Executions Day" to its calendar.  It is the "Sooner State" after all - so named for those settlers who jumped the gun and entered Oklahoma to stake their claims to land earlier than they were supposed to enter the territory.  Whole state has always been in one hell of a hurry.   

And it adds an entirely new, fun meaning to the concept of "First In, First Out" too.  


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