I saw this story when I got to the office this morning, and I was sickened by what I read.
Yesterday, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland gave 53-year-old death row inmate, Romell Broom, a week long reprieve when Broom’s execution team could not find a vein in his arm after working on him for more than two hours.
The team began to look for a vein in Broom’s arm around 2 p.m. and finally stopped around 4:30 p.m. At one point, Broom tried to assist the team in finding a vein. After at least one attempt, he covered his face, appearing to sob.
A medical evaluation Monday determined that veins in Broom’s right arm appeared accessible, while those in his left arm were not as visible.
Problems with the execution process are not new to Ohio. Delayed executions in 2006 and 2007 led to changes in Ohio’s lethal injection process. Obviously, grave problems still exist.
I know that there are some who are not particularly concerned with the mental and physical anguish that Broom experienced yesterday and will experience again as he faces another execution attempt. Of course, the victim of his crime, Tryna Middleton, suffered immensely as well. And yet, I continue to be amazed that we, as a society, condemn his violence by inflicting violence upon him. To what end?
And yet, even for those who don’t care about Broom’s suffering, imagine the suffering of those in that room yesterday, attempting to find a vein in his arm? Imagine the mental anguish that they experienced whether they admit it or not. And now, they have to try it all over again.
The death penalty asks that those working in Corrections do our dirty work for us, and as a result, suffer the mental and emotional consequences of it. It must hard enough for members of an execution team when the process goes as planned, but this? I can’t imagine it.
Now having personally experienced an execution, I cannot fathom the trauma yesterday’s events caused to those who were participating or witnessing it and will have to go through again. There are alternatives that can protect society and spare so many people from scenes such as the one yesterday in Ohio.
NPR featured this story on Sept. 16. Listen here.
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