Favorite

Executionpalooza 

Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.

The sentence: "The crush of state-sponsored killings has reignited a national debate over capital punishment at a time of confusing crosscurrents in the United States, with President Trump, who has expressed support for the death penalty, ascending to the White House even as executions fell to a 25-year low last year, and polls showing public support for it at its lowest level in decades."

Yes, the "crush of state-sponsored killings" brought world media to Arkansas's door. And our rush to kill people unwittingly helped the cause of those who oppose capital punishment.

Governor Hutchinson set a schedule over 240 hours (10 days on the clock) beginning at 7 p.m. April 17 and continuing through a double-header beginning at 7 p.m. April 27 (11 calendar days) to kill eight men. He didn't want the state to be inconvenienced further by expiration dates in its illicit, street-corner-junkie style hunt for killing drugs. This sent it to improbable and dubious and unauthorized suppliers, conveniently kept secret by complicit legislators. No respectable drug manufacturer or supplier wants anything to do with supplying drugs intended to prolong life as instruments of death. The state lied repeatedly in at least one case to get its fix of killing dope.

Had Hutchinson strung the deaths out over four to six months, they'd have proceeded with the usual last-minute legal wrangling, the occasional hiccup and, likely, a slow and measured resumption of the death penalty in Arkansas. (That is, presuming the use of the controversial sedative midazolam didn't go awry as it has in other states.) The Arkansas death news would have been a few paragraphs in AP roundups around the world.

Instead, we have a circus. It's of little political consequence in Arkansas. It probably even helps Hutchinson with the pro-death majority. I hope, however, that all those who support the death penalty aren't as bloodthirsty as those who dominate Facebook threads on the executions or the Twitter posts of Republican legislators. Advocates of the U.S. Constitution, particularly the 8th Amendment, they are not. Many volunteered to serve on firing squads and bring their own rifles and ammo.

I'd like to see one of those PR studies on the amount of free media Hutchinson's Executionpalooza generated for Arkansas, much as cable TV fascination with President Trump powered his ascendancy to the presidency.

You tell me: plus or minus for Arkansas?

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Bootstraps for me, not thee

    Mean spirit, hypocrisy and misinformation abound among the rump minority threatening to wreck state government rather than allow passage of the state Medicaid appropriation if it continues to include the Obamacare-funded expansion of health insurance coverage for working poor.
    • Apr 14, 2016
  • Trump: The Obama of 2016?

    Conner Eldridge, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman, launched an assault on Boozman Monday morning rich with irony and opportunity.
    • May 5, 2016
  • Double-talk

    A couple of instances of doublespeak cropped up in Little Rock over the weekend.
    • Jun 29, 2017

Latest in Max Brantley

  • The Clintons

    I wasn't particularly excited about the 25th anniversary celebration of Bill Clinton's election. Life goes on.
    • Nov 23, 2017
  • The smell of the swamp

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has been ravaged by the industry-wide decline in circulation and advertising, but it continues to invest in important state Capitol reporting.
    • Nov 16, 2017
  • More guns

    A gunman opened fire in a small Texas church during Sunday service, killing 26, wounding many more and ultimately shooting himself.
    • Nov 9, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

November

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30  
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation