Omaha World-Herald columnist Matthew Hansen writes, "Decades on death row drive death penalty fight." Here's the beginning of this must-read:
Oklahoma is killing a man at midnight, and so as darkness falls, another man on H Block slips off his prison-issue shoes.
He sits crossed-legged in front of the open toilet in his cell. He grips a shoe in each hand. He begins.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
As far as Curtis McCarty can remember, it just happens.
Another inmate takes off his shoes, and Curtis does, too, and the drumbeat spreads up and down the hallway and through the dozens of two-man cells commonly known as death row.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The visitors begin to arrive. The grieving family members of the victim who has been brutally murdered. State officials upholding the laws of the state of Oklahoma. News reporters bearing witness in their constitutionally protected role. And the men whose job it is to administer a lethal dose of drugs to a convicted murderer and then watch as he dies.
As the visitors wait for the clocks to strike midnight, the banging grows louder and louder until it reverberates all the way through the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. The pipes shake. The walls and the floors tremble. Louder and louder until it seems like the building might crumble. Until it seems like the world might end.
BANG! BANG! BANG!