From the See, I Told You desk:
• A little over a month ago, I wrote about Missouri and other states’ struggle to find new ways to execute people now that they’re having difficulty getting their hands on classic, fan-favorite lethal injection drugs. I proposed that states could save themselves the trouble if they try the groundbreaking idea (in that God carved it into the ground) of not killing people. Ohio must not read my blog, because yesterday they were the first state to try a new toxic chemical mixture, which they injected into murderer Denis McGuire. The head of Ohio’s prisons promised that the midazolam/hydromorphone combo would result in a “humane, dignified execution,” but instead it resulted in exactly what McGuire’s lawyers predicted: an agonizing death while McGuire audibly suffocated for 20 minutes as his family watched. Ohio Assistant Attorney General Thomas Madden said regarding the tortuous method, “You’re not entitled to a pain-free execution.” Here’s to Mr. Madden for leading our nation backwards into a medieval society in which our leaders actively push aside mercy and rationality in favor of painful blood vengeance.
• Speaking of moving backwards into a medieval society, on January 6 I predicted that since it’s now legal to carry concealed handguns in every state, soon nowhere would one be safe from being killed by some angry and/or drunk idiot that’s not Ohio’s assistant attorney general. Sadly, in less than two weeks I’ve been proven right, with the news that a suburban Tampa man was shot and killed for texting during a movie. Chad Oulson and his wife Nicole took a day off to spend time together and go see the new Mark Wahlberg special forces movie Lone Survivor. Chad sent a text to his three-year-old daughter’s daycare, annoying the guy in the row behind him. That guy turned out to be a retired Busch Gardens security guard packing a .380 semi-automatic, with which he shot Mr. Oulson in the chest, the bullet passing through Nicole’s hand as she tried to protect her husband. Florida issues concealed weapons permits to anyone over 21 who has passed “any firearms training or safety course.” Yesterday on the Guardian, Ana Marie Cox drove home the idiocy of those sort of laws, pointing out that “otherwise unpremeditated murders, where people kill out of momentary rage, are the single most common type of gun homicide in America.” Frighteningly, those murders will only become more common.
• Lest you join me in feeling physically ill at the realization that America has moved to dystopian DEFCON 2, here’s some good news. In the run-up to the 2012 election, I loudly whined about my birth-state of Pennsylvania’s restrictive voter ID law, which required all voters to show a not-easily-obtainable government-issued photo ID. I say “required,” because this very morning Pennsylvania Commonwealth Judge Bernard McGinley ruled the law unconstitutional. His Honor called the statute “a substantial threat” to voters, adding “Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal.” This makes me very happy, but I’d be much happier if a Pennsylvanian walking into a polling place to legally vote without carrying an ID couldn’t legally be carrying a concealed gun with which he could kill someone and then legally be killed in return.