Death Penalty In Tennessee - The Cost To Us And A Solution

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

I am going to wade off into the deep waters of public discourse for the first time. Favor me with a few moments.

Billy Ray Irrick is scheduled to die by the hand of the Tennessee state government Thursday night August 9, 2018. There is much debate regarding this case on a state and national level as well as others waiting in the wings for the same fate.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this case there is more information on the 11alive website. Please, only read this if you have a strong stomach. I studied it last night. I wish I hadn’t, I did not sleep well. 

In reading the information, if you are so inclined, you will see enough blame to go around, poor decisions by the family of the child, less than stellar living conditions, human suffering and yes, a tragic end to the life of a very young girl. Ultimately though, Mr. Irrick is responsible as has been determined repeatedly.  

For over 30 years he has dodged the reaper, now his time is ‘nigh. And still there are those who fight for this person. The legal arguments in his defense have ran the gamut from ‘mental incompetence’, poor upbringing, drug, and alcohol addiction and finally in the world we live in today, the fear he will suffer due to an ineffective mixture of drugs to be administered to him.
While I understand the Constitution and the prohibition of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ rule I do not understand the misplaced compassion for this person. Yes, he is a human, Yes, he deserves careful debate in the court of law as to his fate. But he has had all of that. And then some.

I’ll not go into the old ‘eye for an eye’ chestnut, just too Old Testament for me. What I will say is this: he has had more than his share of ‘days in court’, he has been found and verified guilty time and again. His time has run out. Now he must pay.  

Be that right or wrong is irrelevant to my opinion here, what matters to me, and should to you, whichever side you take is this simple thing. The relevance of the debate over the drugs used to kill him. We are not talking about a short rope and a tall tree here, but a lethal dose of drugs, some may say ‘cobbled together at the whim of a power that is’. That is fair enough. Suffering at the end, whether you say, ‘too bad’ or ‘oh no’, matters not. Quite simply it doesn’t have to be. And I’ll tell you why.

There is a much simpler solution, readily available to us in bulk. It is so simple in fact I’m surprised others who are much smarter than me haven’t thought of it. It is staring us in the face.

Fentanyl.

Each year the state of Tennessee spends several millions of dollars combating this drug, every year people die from it, each month it is seized in quantity, not only in this state but others. It is everywhere. Each year some tens of thousands of people die nationwide from it. It is deadly, it has a proven track record. 

It works. 

So, put it to use.

Instead of the last-minute arguments over this drug mixture or that. Just choose the obvious substance that has been proven beyond a doubt to absolutely, without fail, work every time. It’s just that easy. There has been an abundance of it seized. It will be burned or disposed of somehow, so use it.

We are spending money hand over fist on interdiction, seizure, prosecution, and Narcan. It’s time we finally found a way to save money on both execution drugs and lawsuits. I can’t see anyone saying, ‘It may not be effective!’. It is. It’s time. 

Stop wasting money and use the best tool available. 

Russ Donegan



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