The Daily Dose – September 10, 2017

Notes from around the Human Experience…

CIRCLE THE DATE: We don’t know what you have scheduled for December 9, 2021, but Lawrence Landrum, of the Ohio Landrums, has his death penciled in for that date.

Usually, the setting of an execution date doesn’t draw our attention but one four years, three months and one day – 1,553 days – away did. We are fairly well read on this matter and it seemed to us an execution date four years in the future seemed like an awfully long time.

Bingo: Some research shows it is. Texas is scheduled to execute William Rayford this coming January and Ohio is the only state to have executions scheduled after that. 

FunFact: Almost interesting is the fact Landrum’s execution date isn’t even the farthest out! John Drummond’s execution is scheduled for June 2022.

Dry, Technical Matter: In 2014 Ohio switched to two chemicals to kill inmates when it had trouble finding suppliers for some of the drugs it used in its other concoction. When those two chemicals resulted in a 26-minute execution where the inmate, Dennis McGuire, spent most of that time gasping for breath, Ohio put a moratorium on executions until it could come up with what appeared to be a better way to kill its condemned.

The new three-drug combination was challenged in court by the inmates it was going to be used on and this past January a federal magistrate granted an injunction against Ohio using it. This ruling was upheld in April but in June the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-6 that Ohio could use their new system, a decision that was later upheld when the US Supreme Court declined to get involved. This led Governor John Kasich to reschedule 19 executions and Ohio is already back in the swing of things, executing Ronald Phillips on July 26 with Gary Otte scheduled to die this Wednesday. 

Is There A Point To All This?: No, not really. We do not see the point to scheduling executions four years in advance. In a news release, Kasich’s office said the executions were rescheduled:

…to ensure Ohio would meet the goal of conducting court-ordered executions in a humane and professional manner.

This makes no sense, even by government press release standards. They need years to do this? It is presumed, though we were unable to find out for sure, that all 19 inmates have appeals remaining. If they didn’t, their executions would have been scheduled for next week. Kasich, however, is no dummy. His state is staunchly Republican and he knows that in Donald Trump’s America it is important to look tough even if there is little substance behind your posturing. Scheduling executions for four years down the road is pointless. Appeals could be upheld or even not heard by the time these execution dates roll around and it would not surprise us if few if any, inmates die as scheduled.

More Death Penatly Crap: Several years advance notice does seem better than how they do it in Japan, however. There a convict gets 30 minutes notice of his death.

In Japan you are tried, convicted, sentenced, you run your appeals up the flagpole and then you wait. You are not given an execution date. The morning of your death they come and get you and you are allowed to produce a will and pray to whomever you feel will do you the most good.

Then you’re taken to die. Your loved ones will be notified later.

Gaylon For Congress…Vote Early, Vote Often: Anyone who has followed our campaigns for the United States Senate and House of Representatives knows we are opposed to the death penalty because we have executed innocent people. If you are unwilling to believe this, consider that a state can keep a prisoner locked up for 50 years for, and this estimate is high, $1.5 million.

OTOH: While costs are hardly fixed, most executions end up costing states – and this estimate is low – $10 million to put someone to death. It’s cheaper to keep inmates alive than it is to kill them. 

ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE! American patriot Nathan Hale volunteers for a spying mission that would lead to his death on this date in 1776.

Hale, 21, was a captain in the 19th Regiment of the Continental Army and his mission saw him go behind British lines in New York City. He was captured on September 21 and executed the following day. History declined to note for certain if Hale actually said that he regretted he had but one life to give to his country.

Fly In The Ointment: Accounts about how Hale was discovered differ. One says Hale was recognized, despite his disguise as a school teacher seeking work, and another says states Hale was betrayed by a cousin who was a loyalist.

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later: Nineteen striking immigrant coal miners are shot and killed in near Hazleton, Pennsylvania on this date in 1897.

Strikes had been going at the Lattimer mine for about a month. The first one had ended on August 23 when mine operators agreed to raises, overtime pay and the right for workers to see the doctors of their choice. Another strike began on September 3, however, eventually resulting in over 8,000 miners going on strike, shutting down several mines.

On September 10 between 300-400 miners marched to the Lattimer mine, which was still open, to support the newly formed United Mine Workers. This did not go well for the strikers, as they were met by 150 sheriff’s deputies. They were ordered to disperse and a deputy attempted to grab an American flag a striker was holding. A scuffle ensued and other deputies started firing, despite the fact the strikers, almost all from eastern Europe, were unarmed. All were shot in the back.

FunFact: The sheriff and 73 of his deputies were arrested and tried, but all were acquitted.

More Great Moments In Executing People: France uses the guillotine for the last time on this date in 1977, chopping off the head of Hamida Djandoubi, originally from Tunisia. Djandoubi had been convicted of the kidnapping, torture and murder of his former girlfriend.

“He Asked The Prisoner If He Wanted A Drink And Poured Him Half A Glass…”: An eyewitness account by a French judge assigned to provide one stated Djandoubi was given a cigarette and a shot of rum before being escorted to his death. If Djandoubi had any last words besides asking for one last cigarette – a requested that was denied because it was plain Djandoubi was stalling – they weren’t recorded.

Justice was swift back then. Djandoubi had been sentenced the previous February.

Quotebook: The only graceful way to accept an insult is to ignore it; if you can’t ignore it, top it; if you can’t top it, laugh at it; if you can’t laugh at it, it is probably deserved. – Russell Lynes

Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Nelson Rockefeller was the governor of New York who ordered state police to retake the Attica Correctional Facility by force to end the Attica prison riots in 1971.

Today’s Stumper:  How many people have been executed in America since executions resumed in 1977? – Answer next time!

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