Clayton Lockett's forty-five minute struggle with lethal drugs has caused a lot of questions concerning the death penalty and how it should be carried out. Lockett, an inmate who had been convicted of murder and was on death row awaiting his execution, was administered a lethal cocktail of drugs. One of his veins ruptured and, despite having been pronounced unconscious, he proceeded to writhe, attempted to speak, and made attempts to rise from his gurney. The attending doctor called a halt to the proceedings, but Lockett suffered a fatal heart attack after forty-five minutes.
Many have asked whether chemical execution, as demonstrated by Lockett's, is a valid under the 8th Amendment and the UN has called this affair a possible violation of human rights, asking the US to halt its use of the death penalty while the subject is examined.
Many are calling for an end to the death penalty, while many others are defending it. Some think the drugs used to carry out executions should be standardized. It seems clear that if we are to hold onto the death penalty, we have to deeply examine what we consider humane.