The Akron Beacon Journal, March 18
The Ohio Supreme Court exposed the death penalty for what it has become – a troubled mechanism unable to deliver what it promises. The state currently has put on hold executions until next year. It has yet to find a way to obtain the drugs necessary for lethal injections.
The justices took up the case of Romell Broom, convicted three decades ago for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl. The state botched his execution in September 2009. Those conducting the lethal injection tried repeatedly to insert the IV, but they failed – jabbing, poking and pricking, causing bruising and tissue damage.
After two hours of starts and stops, the state canceled the execution. It wants to try again. Broom argues that would violate the constitutional right against double jeopardy. On Wednesday, a 4-3 majority sided with the state. The justices argued that the punishment doesn’t begin until the lethal drugs flow into the body. The execution team did not get that far. So the state won a second chance…
All of this isn’t about somehow proving generous to a killer. Romell Broom deserves harsh punishment, and life in prison without parole fits the description. Rather, the point is whether Ohio conducts the death penalty according to high standards, or what is expected in maintaining a far distance from the brutality of the crime.
The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, March 19
For many investigative journalists and documentary filmmakers, days like Thursday are the reason they do the hard work and put in the time and effort.
Years of public pressure – much of it since 2013 resulting from the highly damning and critically praised documentary “Blackfish” – finally came to a head with SeaWorld announcing Thursday that it will no longer breed killer whales in captivity and will stop making them perform tricks.
SeaWorld’s 29 killer whales will remain in captivity, and their ages range from 1 to 51, so the end of orca whales at SeaWorld is still along way off, but it is understandable that reintroducing those animals to the wild now would be difficult to impossible. SeaWorld says it has never been done successfully…
While protests have gone on for decades, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film brought home to many the tragedy of the situation and the horrible, tiny living conditions for the majestic animals – not to mention the dangers for the trainers who worked with the orcas. While Cowperthwaite is not a journalist and her film had a clear point of view, it is a reminder of the power of the media and what can happen when people push beyond the “official” story in search of a deeper understanding.