MAY 1, 2014
Two deaths, one column

There are two stories in the news I want to comment on and I couldn't choose between them so let's tackle both.

In Trout River, N.L., a dead blue whale is beached and is rotting/decomposing much to the fear of area residents. Why? Because the carcass stinks and apparently it is at risk of exploding as it fills up with methane gas.

The federal government claims responsibility for marine life when it is in the water. Locals are saying the feds won't do anything to help, instead saying it is up to municipalities to dispose of the carcass. And really, how do you get rid of something like that? You drag it back into the ocean.

That's the kind of town hall meeting you want to attend, hey? "OK, we need 800 people to help drag a dead body into the water."

Local governments across the country rely on Ottawa to provide support for issues that are too big to handle at a regional level. You might recall the floods we have and the years where the military is called in. That has to go through Ottawa. It’s not that Selinger can just call up Canadian Forces members and have them head to Emerson.

Now over to Oklahoma where there is controversy over a death penalty case. The convict, Clayton Lockett, was slated to die by lethal injection on Tuesday. Once the cocktail of liquids was administered Lockett, who was convicted of first-degree murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery after he shot a teenager and buried her alive in a shallow grave where she eventually died, himself died of a heart attack during what is being called a “botched execution.”

A jail rep told local media, “We believe that a vein was blown and the drugs weren’t working as they were designed to. The director ordered a halt to the execution.” By that time it was too late.

Lockett lifted his head 13 minutes after being injected and was still alive 40 minutes in when he finally had the heart attack, they say. Critics are calling it cruel and unusual punishment – you know, of the guy who brutally murdered someone.

That is going to bring up the question about the death penalty in general: this is a violent criminal who is slated to die anyway, so who gives a crap since he had no regard for human life? But does a convict, no matter what the crime, have the right to a dignified death… as people watch from behind glass like it’s a zoo exhibit?
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