That's the title of the Tennessean's Sunday editorial, subtitled, "TN officials pursue lethal drug despite daunting problems with death penalty."
Exhibiting a disturbing hubris, Tennessee correctional officials have quickly set dates to execute two men on death row early next year, based on the state’s decision that it will change its lethal drug of choice.
Even if it made sense for Tennessee to get back into the practice of capital punishment, an assumption that is losing ground with each passing year, correctional officials are leaping into uncertain territory by planning to use the anesthetic pentobarbital to put to death first Billy Ray Irick in January and then Nickolus Johnson in April.
Ohio and Texas switched to pentobarbital and weathered some court challenges. Its predecessor was a three-drug cocktail designed to make the inmate unconscious before the lethal drugs ended his life. The efficacy of pentobarbital seems to be based on its veterinary use to euthanize animals.
Where Tennessee plans to get pentobarbital, we have no way of knowing, now that the General Assembly has passed a law allowing the state to keep its supplier confidential, infringing on Tennessee’s open-records law in the process.
So, if you feel that as a resident of Tennessee and a taxpayer, you should be able to know how the state chooses to put people to death, this year, you have lost that right. Of course, that doesn’t mean that a compounding pharmacy with a conscience won’t violate that confidentiality.
The truly lethal combination in this is the brazen rush to get executions in full swing, mixed with officials’ state of denial about the many reasons that the death penalty is failing us.
Earlier coverage from Tennessee begins at the link.