Academic journal article Hecate

Seen to Be Done

Academic journal article Hecate

Seen to Be Done

Article excerpt

We are not barbarians. The man was clearly guilty: he had been convicted in a fair trial. Now, after thirteen years and four appeals, he slept in his own room.

We are a civilised people. We let him spend the whole day watching television. That evening he had tuna casserole, spinach and lima beans. He could have ordered a special meal.

He took a sedative and went to bed. At forty-five minutes after midnight we were informed the Court had lifted his last stay of execution. Even then, we were no harsher than circumstances made necessary. It was not right to keep him waiting. The termination was fixed for one thirty.

We do not lack for manners. In the waiting room there were magazines, biscuits and hot coffee. We advised the witnesses and his family members to go to the lavatory before they moved to the execution chamber.

We are a Christian society. We offered the services of a chaplain to anyone who wanted them. His family waited in a separate room. You could hear them reciting the rosary.

We are a caring people. At one a.m. we woke him gently. He was strapped carefully to a table so that he would not hurt himself. There was a catheter in his arm so that no doctor would need to break his hippocratic oath. There was a plug in his anus so that his body would stay quite clean. No reasonable person could say that we were not considerate.

We are a godly nation. What's done is for the public good and justice must be seen. …

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