Government Secrecy in Missouri

From The New York Times (“After Flawed Executions, States Resort to Secrecy” by Adam Liptak; July 30, 2007):

A Missouri doctor who had supervised more than 50 executions by lethal injection testified last year that he sometimes gave condemned inmates smaller doses of a sedative than the state’s protocol called for, explaining that he is dyslexic. “So it’s not unusual for me to make mistakes,” said the doctor, who was referred to in court papers as John Doe I.

My first instinct on reading this was surprise that a doctor, sworn to preserve life, would help a state—especially a barbaric state like Missouri—execute a prisoner.

So, what does a government do when its unethical behavior is challenged? Pass a law to protect itself!

A new law, signed this month by Gov. Matt Blunt, makes it unlawful to reveal “the identity of a current or former member of an execution team,” and it allows executioners to sue anyone who names them.

Hell, if we’re going to have execution, why can’t we be honest about it? Government activities should be publicized, afterall. Of course, the answer about why we can’t be honest about it is it would turn people’s stomachs if they saw it happen publicly.

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