Killing Machines

The new, $853,000 Lethal Injection Chamber at San Quentin.

My good friend and former law school classmate, Andrew Love — a Berkeley attorney who has devoted his entire professional career to fighting the Death Penalty — had his Letter to the Editor published in today’s editions of the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee.

In the letter, Andy pointed out the ludicrous position of a State government bankrupt in every way except its technical legal status that somehow managed to spend nearly a million dollars renovating the execution chamber in its flagship state penitentiary. It now finds itself clamoring to off a convicted killer ASAP because the drugs it uses to kill killers are knocking at their expiration date.

And the Executioner’s Office is really in a tizzy because it’s not going to be able to get its hands on a fresh supply until sometime next year!

Andy’s main point — and it’s a good one — goes to the question of whether the State of California, given its proven inability to keep hardly any of its other affairs in order, can be trusted to ever carry out its own Death Penalty procedures fairly, let alone humanely.

Sadly, however, I’m afraid our state, like its slightly bigger brother, our nation, is designed to kill.  

Until we, the people of California and the people of the United States, somehow recall our founding documents rest with US the power to change our form of government — we will remain little more than killing machines. 

Update: Late Wednesday the California Supreme Court issued an order blocking Thursday’s planned execution.  At this point, there’s no way the execution could proceed before Friday’s expiration date for the State’s supply of sodium pentathol.