New and improved to death

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New-ImprovedWell, they’ve gone and done it again. They’ve gone and “improved” something and made it worse. It happens all the time, companies get a wild hair and decide to improve things and they usually end up ruining everything and spending gabillions of dollars trying to re-group after improving themselves into bankruptcy. More often than not, it’s a financial thing, they “improve” things by cutting their production costs and general quality of goods involved.

Here’s the stupid part: if they’d spend the money they spend trying to convince you they’ve improved something on the actual quality of the product, they wouldn’t have to improve anything at all and we could all die happy and mediocre. But that would make sense, and sense is as scarce as detention pay after an hour, so don’t hold your breath.

The Great State of Ohio decided to use a new and improved method of lethal injection this past week. It’s really not new, but it is cheaper and, depending on your views as to how much we should care about the comfort of a convicted killer during their last moments, it could be considered an improvement. It costs roughly $65,000 a year to house and feed a regular prisoner in Ohio, I’m not surprised at all they’re looking to cut corners somewhere.

The execution was described as “horrific.” Apparently the new drugs have side effects that aren’t pleasant — the prisoner was seen gasping and there was some question as to how humane the whole thing was. The guy had kids and they were there, and it was a bad scene all around. And while I think it’s sad as hell that anyone should have to watch their dad be executed, I find it very hard to work any sympathy up for the prisoner. As awful as his death might have been, it still wasn’t as bad as what he did to warrant the execution. He knew what was coming and when it was going to happen. His victim never knew she wouldn’t make it home. If it was bad for him, it was worse for her.

I’m not making a statement about the death penalty here — I’m just saying we probably should have left well enough alone and kept the method of termination the same as its been for many years. I’m really not sure how you can improve on the infliction of death – isn’t the outcome always the same? And when did the comfort and safety of the person we’re putting to death become more important than remembering why they were put to death in the first place? If we’re using the death penalty as a model for consequences, shouldn’t it be a little hairy in the end? It really doesn’t make much of an impact when you tell wayward kids, “No, don’t kill people. We’ll feed you and clothe you and make you have free medical care for 20 years before we gently lie you in a field of flowers and inject happy serum into your veins if you do that.” Yeah. Where do I sign up?

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I think it’s ironic that I’ve railed on for years about us “new and improving ourselves to death.” I swear every time an old standby product I’ve used for years “improves” I get a rash. We improved pots and pans into cancer-inducing non-stick surfaces and communication into an never-ending vortex of constant reality television. I’d like to “improve” myself by growing an extra brain lobe but I’d probably get really lonely because who the heck could you talk to about an extra lobe on your globe?

Who am I kidding? If I keep eating truck stop fried chicken, I’ll probably grow lobes all over the place. While we’re all cranked up about what’s humane, someone should consider the humanity of Chester’s Chicken being the only hot food available at 3 a.m. Now that’s inhumane.