Wednesday, December 21, 2011

EC Joins Efforts to Block Lethal Injection Drugs

Following Britain's lead, the European Commission has placed heavy restrictions on the sale of lethal injection drugs to American penitentiaries. This comes in the broader context both of a national shortage on key lethal injection drugs in the U.S., as well as an espoused desire by the European Union to see the death penalty abolished worldwide.

In addition to the obvious practical implications for executions in the U.S., I continue to wonder what impact this crisis will have on the rhetorical dynamics of capital punishment. Many abolitionists understandably worry that an emphasis on the method of execution simply leaves states scrambling for a more "humane" way to carry-out death sentences. However, this very scrambling may itself serve as a kind of "the Emperor has no clothes" moment when the state must actively account for the macabre corporeal deed they so often seek to sanitize.

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