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The Progressive

Romell Broom and the Barbarism of the Death Penalty

You want to know how barbaric the death penalty is?

Ask Romell Broom.

The convicted rapist and murderer was brought into the execution chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility on Tuesday.

But the executioners could not manage, over the course of two hours, to get the IVs in right so the lethal injections could do their dirty work.

They tried finding a vein in his arms. They tried finding a vein in his legs.

Broom himself assisted the executioners by sliding rubber tubing up his arm and flexing his hands.

To no avail.

They eventually found a vein they thought was suitable to the morbid task but it collapsed when the techies tried to insert some fluid.

That brought Broom to tears.

Finally, the prison director called off the botched murder attempt and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland gave Broom a one-week reprieve.

How 'bout commuting the sentence to life in prison without parole?

Broom has suffered enough already.

Dostoevsky once wrote that being sent to your execution but then surviving is one of the most hideous experiences you can have.

Yeah, being raped and murdered is more hideous. Much more.

But the state should not be in a sadism contest. And that's what the death penalty is.

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Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is senior editor of The Progressive magazine.

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