Su Lum: Slumming |

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

It’s hard to believe the discussions I’ve been hearing on the news channels regarding executions by lethal injection. It seems that there are big problems getting the proper drugs to do the job, the drugs aren’t even available in the United States and some European countries that manufacture them won’t sell them to us because they feel that the death penalty itself is barbaric.

I agree that executions are barbaric, though I think that, given the opportunity, I’d be capable of chewing the beating heart out of anyone who laid a finger on a member of my family, and that there are some scum (Manson comes to mind) who should be shot, hanged, gassed, injected or otherwise taken off the planet.

But for the media to promulgate the idea that the problem is the unavailability of lethal drugs is total bull. Any pet owner who has had to “put down” a beloved friend knows, and every veterinarian in the country can tell you, that instant-death drugs are on hand at every pet clinic in the country.

When my dachshund Trudy had to be sent on ahead, I asked Scott Dolgninow at Aspen Animal Hospital how long it would take, and he, who had given her the shot seconds before, said, “She’s already gone.”

That drug was called Beauthanasia (cute drug-speak for beautiful euthanasia) and one of my reactions was to want a few vials of it in my medicine cabinet at home in case I ever needed to cut out quick and easy.

“Well, that was a DOG,” you might think, “and a little dog, at that,” but when I asked Scott if it could kill a person he replied, “Oh, yes.”

So what’s holding up the lethal injections? The FDA? The anti-death penalty people? It’s something, but it sure isn’t lack of know-how or the availability of the medication.

If we’re going to go back to more executions in this country, we should go back to the old methods: Have public hangings, firing squads, a guillotine in Wagner Park. I hope this doesn’t happen but, misdirected as we are these days, we seem to be headed in that direction.

On the other side of the killing coin is the ongoing politics of abortion. We are a country divided about death. Some want criminals executed, some don’t (“sometimes you feel like a nut …”). Some support killing fetuses, some don’t.

The blazing irony is that it seems to be that the same people who support the death penalty are the ones who are the most adamant about the right to life of the fetus, from the moment of conception – unwanted or unintended pregnancies should be carried to term no matter what the circumstances.

The more right-wing the proponents of the right to life are, the more they seem to be against abortion and also (here’s the real dichotomy) against any governmental financial support for unwed mothers, child care, Medicare, welfare, education and Social Security.

In other words, those unborn babies must live, but then they’ll have to fend for themselves.

It seems to me that that’s an indefensible position, and seeing predominantly white banker-type Republican males pontificating on the subject of abortion is a national disgrace. It’s not about life, it’s about how to get (or not get) elected.

Those who want to go back to the dark ages of illegal abortions should remember those days or, if they’re too young to remember, do some research about the past.

I never had an abortion, but I knew many people who did, and their horror stories were legend. One young girl had to drive to Nebraska, cash in hand, and part of the deal was that she had to have sex with the “doctor.” In Mexico, a friend was anesthetized after promises that she would be awake and there was nothing to it. A creative doctor in Boston poured chicken blood over a young woman’s lower body and rushed her to the emergency room, telling the staff she was hemorrhaging. At least he was able to give her a sterile D and C.

Is that what we want to return to – back alleys and coat hangars? Be careful what you wish for.

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