This week there was great consternation in the land over a botched execution by the state of Oklahoma. The prisoner, Clayton Lockett, apparently suffered great discomfort and pain before succumbing to a heart failure. Much was written about the unknown components of the lethal cocktail used by the state to kill the prisoner and the need for a new and more reliable mix. Even President Obama, stating that he was greatly disturbed, got involved and ordered attorney general Eric Holder to review how the death penalty is applied in the United States.
It seems strange to me that a relatively short period of suffering by one inmate should move the president to review the means we use to kill convicts without any review of the killings themselves. At a time when most of the civilized world and six of our states have abolished the death penalty because it has not been shown to deter crime, is unfairly applied in a racially disproportionate way and has resulted in the deaths of innocent victims, the president's review should be expanded to include the constitutionality of those laws that permit these state-sanctioned killings.