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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

“An act deserving of a bolt of lightning from a vengeful God”

I am furious!

I am disgusted.

I am an American and this perfidy is being carried out in my name.

That the would-be ruler of this country could be so twisted as to conceive of a policy that forcibly separates children from their parents is an outrage, a barbarity, an atrocity. That his sinister, cretinous batboy could enact such a policy under the guise of protecting me from the purported ‘danger’ posed by impoverished people seeking a better life, or by claiming a need to winnow out “cheaters” from endangered human beings seeking asylum makes me vomitous. That the creature most responsible for crafting and ordering such an anti-human horror could be so shameless, so morally corrupt, as to attempt to justify it by citing part of a verse from the Bible invites the thought of tar, feathers and a convenient rail.

This is not leadership. This is calumny, it is an act deserving of a bolt of lightning from a vengeful God.

But evil is as evil does. Where is the moral courage of our uniformed neighbors, whom one assumes to be fellow citizens and not robots? Yes, those who, having been given an order, choose to rip an infant from the breast of its mother? Where is the integrity expected of men and women chosen to enforce the law yet will apparently blindly comply with orders that so violate not only every fundamental human right but every human value, in acts reminiscent of soldiers of the Reich? Where is the humanity basic American values require of the bearer, the wearer of the badge of authority?

As Congress dithers and pundits debate, children and their parents are being traumatized in numbers that beggar the imagination. In the name of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan’s cherished “City upon the Hill,” we, the people of this “indispensable nation” are today personally responsible for doing serious psychological damage to terrified, weeping, shrieking children while at the same time inflicting untold suffering on their heartbroken mothers and fathers. And we are doing this, we are all doing this, in the name of what? Self-preservation? Law and order? Political survival? Racial prejudice? Self-justification? Utter, blinding, disgraceful ignorance?

Illegal alien
Have we allowed ourselves to become so comfortable, so complacent, so self-satisfied, so hypnotized by the belief in ‘American exceptionalism’ that we are no longer embarrassed by our ability to look away, to pretend we don’t see the crucifixion, the anguish we inflict on those cast away or ignored?

If there is any meaning in the words we say and songs we sing with hats off and hands over hearts, if some vestigial memory of what is meant sometimes wets the eyes or stirs the heart, if there is a shred of decency clinging to the meaning of America after so many years of its being cheapened and brutalized by the weakness, opportunism, meanness, avarice, and gluttony of the morally wounded who pretend to leadership, it calls out for expression from the people who are, we are told, its “of, by, and for”.

If the people who comprise the bone and sinew of this nation do not rise up and demand not only an end to this spirit-murdering massacre of innocent souls but a campaign of tender care and healing for its victims, the America they sing of and claim to hold high is no more.

If there is to be a future for the country we love, the people must protest, must act. The heart and soul of this nation, its people, must be heard.

If you will do nothing more, at a minimum, take a knee.

Source: Death Penalty Focus, Mike Farrell, June, 2018. Actor, activist, and writer Mike Farrell is president of Death Penalty Focus.


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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