Lethal injections don't have to be botched [Letter]

Having just read your latest editorial about an inmate's execution ("Another botched injection, July 27), two things stand out. The first is obvious — when something like this happens, it immediately becomes political fodder about the ills of capital punishment. But that is a decision better left to the states and should not be the main focus here. The real question should be "why are these executions being botched"?

There is a humane way to end life. There are several states in our country as well as several European nations that allow physician-assisted death for terminally ill patients. I think we can be reasonably sure that these are not routinely "botched." The same goes for the euthanasia of pets. In my lifetime, I have personally held four beloved dogs in my arms as the veterinarian injected them with a drug that quickly and peacefully ended their lives.

Who among us would put our trusty animal companions "to sleep" if, in fact, it was likely to be botched? This is a daily, routine procedure that plays out every day around the country in private veterinary offices and sadly, all too often at overcrowded animal shelters. So the real question here is, why does the media always immediately jump on the death penalty debate rather than the real problem — incompetence?

If people and pets can be humanely "put down" by doctors and veterinarians when they cease to have any quality of life left, why can't these same procedures be used to execute convicted murderers? Stop turning this into a political debate, hire a skilled physician or call a veterinarian!

Claire Corcoran, Baltimore

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