The End of Arkansas’s Killing Spree?

In reality, we are all fighting for our lives.

This evening, Kenneth Williams is scheduled for execution in Arkansas because its supply of a key execution drug is set to expire, a drug never meant to kill, but relax, similar to Valium. The pharmaceutical company who makes the drug refuses to issue more for the purpose of killing. In fact, originally Arkansas lied and said they wanted the drug for strictly medical purposes.

The family of the man that Williams killed is pleading for clemency. So often, states killing the guilty and innocent say this creates closure for grieving families. Does one death necessitate the need for another? Are we still living by the doctrine of the Old Testament? Apparently, the family of the man Williams killed does not want to live by that doctrine.

The West Memphis three witch hunt must not be forgotten. I was a pediatric nurse practitioner for over a decade. We dealt with child abuse and child sexual abuse cases weekly. Each instance, the children were abused by a parent, step parent or grandparent, boyfriend, uncle, or aunt. The legal system in the town I worked in was well schooled in child abuse cases. That was because the head of pediatrics, or the Pediatric Guru, as we called him, took the legal system under his tutelage and told them what to look for. Children are coming to us from other areas were not as fortunate.

The Arkansas legal system didn’t even consider the parents or step parents as murderers in the case of the three eight year olds boys.

We celebrate the Pediatric Guru’s 90th birthday this weekend. I am going to give him the Paradise Lost Trilogy which tells the full story of the WM3.  (The West Memphis 3). The stories of the murders and botched prosecution (persecution) would fascinate him.

Capital punishment has no place in a society that claims to be civil or humane. Nor does war or the patriarchy. Look no further than Trump’s cabinet. They want to kill us all, stripping healthcare, the social safety net and building the war machine.

In reality, we are all fighting for our lives.

Damien Echoles and  Lorrie Davis on Charlie Rose.

Death Row Horror Show

Experts say methods Arkansas used to get execution drugs raise concerns about its respect for business contracts.-AP NEWS

Arkansas executed Ledell Lee four minutes before his death warrant was set to expire on 4/20/17. The state of Arkansas would not wait to admit Lee’s DNA into evidence, which could have proved Lee’s innocence. Lee has always contended his innocence in the murder of Debra Reese.

What is it with Arkansas? I remember when Bill Clinton left the presidential campaign trail in 1992 to execute a mentally retarded man, Ricky Ray Rector. Ricky wanted to save half of his meal for breakfast the next day. He was not able to comprehend the severity of his situation. 

The Clintons may as well be on the set of Deliverance with all the rest of those so called politicians in Arkansas.

The provider of the execution drug, a pharmaceutical company called the McKessen Corporation, accused officials of misleading the drug company when the officials concealed their reason for using the drug for execution. 

Three more death row prisoners are slated for execution next week. 

In a series of tweets, the nun featured in the movie, “Dead Man Walking,” played by Susan Sarandon, explains what went down with  Ledell Lee:







And finally, Damien Echoles says he would have been executed along with this line up of Death Row inmates, only because the drugs used to kill are due to expire at the end of this month. He was released from Death Row five years ago. Damien was accused in the West Memphis killings of three 8 year old boys, along with three other young men. The Paradise Lost Trilogy on Amazon Prime details this case.

“Even the best-laid plans seem to go bad in a split second. All you can do is stand there in a state of shock, wondering what went wrong. It’s one of the worst feelings possible, to helplessly watch as the world slips through your fingers like sand. Your heart seems to run out with it.” from “Life After Death” by Damien Echols

“In the end, it’s not the fruit I miss most, though if you rolled all the deprivations into one thing, it would be this: I miss being treated like a human being.” from “Life After Death” by Damien Echols

Life After Death-a Memoir by Damien Echols

Damien Echols Says He Is Proof Arkansas Sends ‘Innocent People to Death’

I am reading Damien Echols memoir called Life After Death. It details his life growing up in poverty and time spent on Death Row in Arkansas. He credits Johnny Depp for saving his life.

It is a hair raising account of a man on death row (he was put there because of evangelical right wingers who pegged Damien as a cult satanist), and was raised in extreme poverty. It is an emotionally intelligent glimpse into horror and fear. 

I am against the death penalty at all cost, but this shows the many who are executed– and are innocent of the crime. Also, how the lack of rehabilitation within the For Profit Prison system begets murderous psychological mindsets.

I believe the success of the memoir Angela’s Ashes rests on Frank McCourt’s ability to tell the story without victimizing himself or his family. I see the same talent here.

“Most of the people on Death Row are here for no other reason than that their case got more publicity than others. The difference between a man receiving a prison sentence and a man receiving a death sentence could be decided by nothing more than a slow news day.” from Life After Death by Damien Echols

Again, from Damien Echols: “I’ve seen them at their best; I’ve seen them at their worst,” he said. “I’ve seen them laugh; I’ve seen them cry. And strangely enough, it was these guys that they’re getting ready to execute — the ones that the local politicians will tell you are irredeemably evil; they can’t be saved or redeemed — these are the people who showed me more kindness, compassion and generosity than any of the good people that are trying to kill them ever did.”

The situation in Arkansas is as follows, in this moment: Damian Echols on Democracy Now:

That Shalt Not Kill

Johnny Depp is a non-Capitol Punishment Activist

As stated on my seventh blog post, Arkansas is getting ready to execute eight death row inmates in ten days because the pharmacology to kill them is going to expire. These executions are going to occur at the end of April.

Johnny Depp joined several former death row inmates in protest of these scheduled executions in Arkansas. He spoke before signs that said “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” and “End The Death Penalty.”

Damien Echols, former Arkansas death row inmate, said, “I don’t believe the death penalty can be called justice.”

Amnesty International says, “If Arkansas goes forward with #8in10Executions, it will be a blot on Arkansas and America.”

Arkansa Governor Hutchinson of Arkansas has a laissez-faire attitude about the situation that only he can change. Or the voters can vote him out after his first term in office. It’s as if an “eye for an eye” and not “thou shall not kill” along with “love one another” is the mantra of so-called Christians in Arkansas and America.

What happened to the message of love and nonviolence of Jesus Christ, Pope Francis, Dorothy  Day and Mother Theresa? This is Holy Week, after all. That goes for you, @realDonaldTrump, as you continue to drop bombs on innocent people.

Damien Echols credits Johnny Depp for saving his life. Here they are both making their case against the death penalty.

Death Penalty Politics

We need ethical guidelines in order to live sanely.

Why is the death penalty still an agreed upon torture and punishment method for American prisoners?

I heard a news story this morning on NPR about states finding lethal injection to be unconstitutional and are backing off from using it. Although death penalty laws are on the books in thirty-one states, only five carried out executions last year.

Arkansas has always been on the forefront of killing more people on death row than any other state. Now Arkansas is planning to kill as many as eight on death row before the state’s supply of lethal injection expires later this month.

Some pharmacies are flat out refusing to provide these lethal drug combinations. Kudos to them. 

If lethal injection is unconstitutional, what makes the electric chair, hanging, or firing squad a better alternative? Believe it or not, law makers are considering these alternatives with a straight face because these methods still remain legal in their  states. 

On another topic, kudos to Ron Paul for standing up and questioning  whether Bashar al- Assad was responsible for the recent chemical explosions killing untold numbers of people. Paul doubts Assad is responsible, because of a number of factors explained in this article. The neocons want war and regime change in Syria and will go to any lengths to oust Assad. The Neocons are moving in. I doubt Trump has the guts to stand up to them, thus breaking yet another campaign promise. Many people I know who voted for Trump did so thinking he would adapt noninterventionist policies.

In the correspondence between Thomas Merton and Albert Camu, they agreed on this: the societal propaganda for Capitol Punishment justifies and mirrors the drive to wage war. The last statement says everything about the values and ethics of our society.

Pope Francis says there is no excuse for Capital Punishment –or war–for that matter. He also said the only true purpose for prison needs to be strictly for rehabilitation and education, not punishment.

He said thou shall not kill applies to both the innocent and the guilty.

This is why I avoid any overtures to serve on jury duty. Who am I to play God with people’s lives?

“We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it’s necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and-perhaps-we all need some measure of unmerited grace.”

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Check out my companion blog, Prayer Prescriptions. Today’s post is called, Capturing The Essence.