The Word - Silent But Deadly

  • Aired:  04/02/14
  •  | Views: 17,613

A scarcity of lethal injection drugs leads to botched executions, and Tennessee's capital punishment law allows the state to hide unpleasant details from the public. (6:16)

FOLKS, YOU KNOW, I LOVE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.

IT SENDS A CLEAR MESSAGE THAT WE AS A SOCIETY THINK IT'S

DEPRAVED TO TAKE A HUMAN LIFE, AND TO PROVE IT, WE'RE

GOING TO KILL YOU.

THAT'S WHY I WAS SWOLLEN WITH PRIDE WHEN I SAW THIS FROM THE

CHATTANOOGA FREE PRESS.

TENNESSEE IS SEEKING EXECUTION DATES FOR 10 DEATH ROW

INMATES.

IT'S AN UNPRECEDENTED MOVE FOR A STATE THAT'S EXECUTED ONLY

SIX INMATES SINCE 1960.

ONE OFFICIAL SAYS THEY'VE NEVER SEEN 10 EXECUTION DATES

ALL AT ONCE.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE TO DO 10 AT ONCE.

THAT'S HOW YOU GET THE FREE SUB.

>> TENNESSEE HAD TO HALT ALL EXECUTIONS IN 2011, BECAUSE

THE ITALIAN CHEMICAL COMPANY THAT MADE THEIR LETHAL DRUG OF

CHOICE.

SODIUM PENTOBARBITAL STOPPED PRODUCING IT AFTER TENNESSEE

COULDN'T GUARANTEE IT WOULDN'T BE USED FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

EVEN THOUGH THEY SAID IT WOULD ONLY BE USED AS AN INCREDIBLY

EFFECTIVE COUGH SUPPRESSANT.

AND THE SCARCITY OF LETHAL INJECTION DRUGS HAS FORCED

STATESTO SCRAMBLE FOR SUBSTITUTES.

IT'S LIKE WHEN YOU RUN OUT OF HALF AND HALF AND HAVE TO PUT

SKIM IN YOUR COFFEE.

JUST KILL ME NOW.

[ APPLAUSE ]>> Stephen: A LOT OF DEATH

PENALTY FANS IN THE AUDIENCE TONIGHT.

THESE SUBSTITUTE DRUGS HAVE MADE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT SEEM

UNUSUALLY CRUEL.

AFTER A KNOW AN OKLAHOMA INMATE WAS INJECTED HIS FINAL

WORDS I FEEL MY WHOLE BODY BURNING.

BIG DEAL, I YELL THAT ALL THE TIME IN HOT YOGA.

AND DURING AN OHIO EXECUTION IN JANUARY, THE PRISONER MADE

SNORTING AND CHOKING SOUNDS FOR10 MINUTES AND TOOK

25 MINUTES TO DIE, WHICH IS PARTICULARLY

DISTURBING BECAUSE A LOT OF THESE EXECUTIONS DON'T START

UNTIL MIDNIGHT, AND HELLO, SOME OF US HAVE TO GET UP IN

THE MORNING.

FORTUNATELY, TENNESSEE HAS FOUND A WAY AROUND THE PUBLIC

LETHAL INJECTIONS, AND IT'S THE SUBJECT OF TONIGHT'S WORD

[APPLAUSE]FOLKS, THESE BOTCHED LETHAL

INJECTIONS ALL SHARE ONE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM.

THE PROBLEM IS THE PUBLIC HEARD ABOUT THEM.

BUT A NEW LAW IN TENNESSEE ALLOWS THE STATE TO WITHHOLD

ALL KINDS OF INFORMATION FROM THE PUBLIC, INCLUDING THE TYPE

OF DRUGS THAT THEY PLAN TO USE.

YOU SEE, IF THEY KEEP IT SECRET, THEY COULD USE

ANYTHING.

SODIUM PENTOBARBITAL, SODIUM AND BARBOSOL.

DIET COKE AND MENTOS.

THE CINNAMON CHALLENGE.

THE NEW LAW ALSO ALLOWS TENNESSEE TO NEVER DISCLOSE

WHO THE DRUG MANUFACTURER IS, WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT,

BECAUSE THE NEW DRUG THEY WANT TO USE, SODIUM PENTOBARBITAL,

IS NOT AVAILABLE FROM ANY LEGAL DRUG MANUFACTURER.

AND YOU KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO GET QUALITY PRODUCT WHEN THE

SLOGAN IS, DON'T TELL ANYONE WHERE YOU GOT THIS.

BUT NO WORRIES, FOLKS.

[ APPLAUSE ]NO WORRIES.

BECAUSE A SPOKESPERSON FOR THE TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF

CORRECTIONS SAYS WE ARE CONFIDENT WE WILL BE ABLE TO

SECURE THE DRUG WHEN NECESSARY.

YES, THEY WILL BE ABLE TO GET THE DRUG, EITHER FROM A

REPUTABLE LICENSED PHARMACIST OR FROM A GUY LOITERING UNDER

THE OVERPASS.

OF COURSE, SOME OUTSIDE AGITATORS CALLED "THE PEOPLE

THEY'RE GOING TO EXECUTE" ARE DEMANDING TO KNOW WHAT'S BEING

INJECTED INTO THEM.

YOU SEE, ACCORDING TO THEIR LAWYERS, THE PEOPLE HAVE A

RIGHT TO KNOW THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS ISN'T TORTURING

CITIZENS USING PUBLIC FUNDS.

RIGHT.

BECAUSE THAT'S THE CIA'S JOB.

[ APPLAUSE ]WELL, THE PUBLIC EVENTUALLY

MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW, BUT WHAT ABOUT MY RIGHT OF I'D

RATHER NOT KNOW.

NOW FORTUNATELY, TENNESSEE'S LAW ALSO MAKE ITS IMPOSSIBLE

TO KNOW EXACTLY WHO WILL CARRY OUT THE EXECUTIONS.

OH, OH, THAT MAKES CAPITAL PUNISHMENT INTO A FUN GAME OF

WHODUNIT>> AND IT'S GREAT, BECAUSE

AMERICANS SUPPORT THE DEATH PENALTY, BUT DON'T WANT TO

KNOW HOW THE SAUSAGE IS MADE.

BY THE WAY, UNTIL WE KNOW HOW THEY'RE KILLING PEOPLE, I'D

STAY AWAY FROM TENNESSEE SAUSAGE.

[APPLAUSE]THE STORY ABOUT SECRECY OF

EXECUTION IS NOTHING KNEW, ONE OF THE TENNESSEE LAWYERS

ARGUED THE STATE'S INTEREST IN KEEPING IT SECRET IS SETTLED.

THE PROCESS OFWEARING HOODS AT EXECUTIONS

HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE THE MIDDLE AGES.

TENNESSEE JUST WANTS TO TAKE THE SYSTEM BACK TO THE MIDDLE

AGES.

BUT EVEN WITH ALL THE SECRECY[APPLAUSE]

>> Stephen: THERE IS STILL SOMETHING THAT MAKES PEOPLE

UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT STRAPPING A GUY TO A TABLE AND WATCHING

HIM DIE.

THE GUY ON THE TABLE.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO KNOW WHO HE IS, IT PUTS A HUMAN FACE ON

HUMANS WITH FACES.

THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD TELL US THEY CAUGHT A BAD GUY, AND

MADE SURE HE WAS BAD WITH A JUDGE OR WHATEVER, AND ONCE

JUSTICE IS SERVED, PUT HIM UP ON A SCOREBOARD OUTSIDE THE

PRISON.

OR BETTER YET, JUST KEEP EXECUTING PEOPLE THE WAY WE DO

NOW, BUT INSTEAD OF BLINDFOLDING THE PRISONER,

BLIND FOLD THE PUBLIC, AND THAT'S THE WORD. WE'LL BE RIGHTBACK.

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