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lunes, abril 24, 2017

Arkansas Executions This Evening

This evening Arkansas plans to kill two men by lethal injection. Jack Jones, Jr., convicted of rape and murder 22 years ago, is scheduled to die at 7 pm; Marcel Williams, convicted of murder 23 years ago, at 8:15 pm. Litigation concerning both men is pending; no stays have been issued. Governor Asa Hutchinson has repeatedly argued that it was proper for him to schedule a mass of executions before the end of April, because one of the drugs used to kill prisoners will expire then. The state’s inability to get fresh drugs, or find out of if out-of-date ones would work, resulted in the unseemly rush to execute prisoners who have been incarcerated for decades. The Courts have stopped some of the planned executions. But tonight’s might go ahead. Hutchinson also argues that somehow Arkansas owes it to the victims’ families to carry out these executions. It doesn’t. In fact, the decision to kill or not isn’t up to victims. If it were, states would allow honor killings and vigilantism. They don’t because punishment is a state, justice function. Medicalizing state killing with gurneys and medical apparatus doesn’t make it less barbaric. It just hides the violence. But state killing remains violent at its core. It remains unreliable, error prone, racist, and regionalized. It continues not to be a deterrent, but instead to represent the ugliness of vengeance. The suffering in all of this is horrible and ever expanding. The victims, the prisoners, their families, those who prosecuted and defended them, the police officers who arrested them, their jailers, other prisoners, the waves of suffering grow as time passes. There is no closure. Only suffering. May those facing execution be spared.May all beings be well and safe. May all be free from suffering.

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