Today's Journal News in Tennessee publishes the OpEd, "New dialogue needed on death penalty," written by the Rev. Stacy Rector. She's the executive director of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.
In an article in the Jan. 5 Tennessean titled, “State pursues new death penalty drug,” the issue of Tennessee’s problematic lethal injection protocol is revisited.
The article notes that the state’s stock of one of the three drugs used in the current protocol was seized by the federal government over questions about the legality of how the drugs were obtained. Now, the state says it is pursuing alternative drugs but won’t say much more.
As is often the case, the article has a tendency to frame the discussion in terms of simply taking a side, including quotes from me and quotes from those “on the other side.” But this polemical approach to the issue does not get us very far and does not address the concerns that we share.
This new conversation about the death penalty should not be simply about taking a side in a tired debate. Instead, it should be about listening to one another and working together to determine how best to facilitate healing and support for victims’ families after the horror of a homicide has occurred, and how to work together to create smart policies that prevent such tragedies from happening in the first place.