Thursday, February 23, 2017

American Nurses' Assoc.: Dead Wrong on Death Penalty

American Nurses' Association: Dead Wrong on Death Penalty

Notes for first draft

It is hard to fathom how the ANA could have gotten so much, so wrong (1).

A rebuttal to all of ANA's death penalty "facts".

Each one of these is a rebuttal to what ANA presented.

(p 4, para 1, fn1)


White murderers are twice as likely to be executed as are black murderers

56% of those executed are white, 35% black

For the White–Black comparisons, the Black level is 12.7 times greater than the White level for homicide, 15.6 times greater for robbery, 6.7 times greater for rape, and 4.5 times greater for aggravated assault.

For the Hispanic- White comparison, the Hispanic level is 4.0 times greater than the White level for homicide, 3.8 times greater for robbery, 2.8 times greater for rape, and 2.3 times greater for aggravated assault.

For the Hispanic–Black comparison, the Black level is 3.1 times greater than the Hispanic level for homicide, 4.1 times greater for robbery, 2.4 times greater for rape, and 1.9 times greater for aggravated assault.

As robbery/murder is, by far, the most common death penalty eligible murder, the multiples will be even greater.

From 1977-2012, white death row murderers have been executed at a rate 41% higher than are black death row murderers, 19.3% vs 13.7%, respectively. ( Table 12, Executions and other dispositions of inmates sentenced to death, by race and Hispanic origin, 1977–2012, Capital Punishment 2012, Bureau of Justice Statistics, last edited 11/3/14)

"There is no race of the offender / victim effect at either the decision to advance a case to penalty hearing or the decision to sentence a defendant to death given a penalty hearing."

Is There Class Disparity with Executions?

"99.8% of poor murderers have avoided execution.

It may be, solely, dependent upon the definitions of "wealthy" and "poor", as to whether wealthy murderers are any more or less likely to be executed, based upon the very small number and percentage of capital murders that are committed by the wealthy, as compared to the poor.


 (p 5, para 2, fn1)

The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives

(p 5, para 3, fn1)

Saving Costs with The Death Penalty

(p 5, para 4, fn1)

It s impossible to prove that any sanction or any negative outcome does not deter some. Why? It would be contrary to reason and history, as we all well know.

--  Full rebuttal to Nagin (National Research Council)

Death Penalty Deterrence: Defended & Advanced

--  Full Rebuttal to Radelet (Criminologists)

Deterrence and the Death Penalty: A Reply to Radelet and Lacock

(p 5, para 5, fn1)

The Death Penalty: Fair and Just

(p 5, para 6, fn1)

There is a huge body of very well known legal work with regard to mental illness and the death penalty.

Apparently, the ANA has no clue. No surprise.

Cases to follow.


(p 5, para 7, fn1)

The ANA is unaware that because of state governments and states' rights, that the death penalty statutes, as all laws, may be different from state to state. This is no surprise and is well known to all, but not the ANA?

Nebraska reinstated the death penalty by popular vote, 61-39%, in 2016.

The other six states that have, recently, revoked the death penalty all did so contrary to those states popular death penalty support and could only accomplish repeal based upon a Democratic majority legislature, with a Democratic governor.


(p6, para 8, fn 1)

--  "The normal moral reason for upholding capital punishment is reverence for life itself. Indeed, this is the reason why scripture and Christian tradition have upheld it, a fact which suggests that, if anything, it may be the abolition of capital punishment which threatens to cheapen life, not its retention." J. Budziszewski, Professor of Government and Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, Jan. 25, 2002 conference, Pew Forum, titled "A Call for Reckoning: Religion and the Death Penalty"

--   John Murray: "Nothing shows the moral bankruptcy of a people or of a generation more than disregard for the sanctity of human life." "... it is this same atrophy of moral fiber that appears in the plea for the abolition of the death penalty." "It is the sanctity of life that validates the death penalty for the crime of murder. It is the sense of this sanctity that constrains the demand for the infliction of this penalty. The deeper our regard for life the firmer will be our hold upon the penal sanction which the violation of that sanctity merit." (Page 122 of Principles of Conduct).

--  The biblical support for the death penalty is, specifically, based within human dignity.

Genesis 9:5-6, from the 1764 Quaker Bible, the only Quaker bible.

5 And I will certainly require the Blood of your Lives, and that from the Paw of any Beast: from the Hand likewise of Man, even of any one’s Brother, will I require the Life of a Man.

6 He that sheds Man’s Blood, shall have his own shed by Man; because in the Likeness of God he made Mankind.

--  Vengeance cannot be the foundation for the death penalty. The death penalty, as all sanctions, are based within justice, with a just, proportional sanction, given within due process, whereby no one connected to the crime can decide either the verdict or sentence, which are both the sole provinces of the judge(s) and/or jury, neither of which has a a vengeance component, nor foundation - again, very well known by all, except ANA.


(p6, para 9, fn 1)

No "Botched" Execution - Arizona (or Ohio)

1) Capital Punishment and  Nurses’ Participation in Capital Punishment,


Sent to ANA 2/23/2017

From: Dudley Sharp, a death penalty expert

The American Nurses' Association: Dead Wrong on Death Penalty

It is hard to fathom how the ANA could have gotten so much, so wrong (1).

ANA's Death Penalty Facts

ANA, primarily, used an anti death penalty site for all of the alleged "facts" about the death penalty. ANA fact checked none of it, with the foreseeable result.

Here are just two of ANA's blunders, from a field of blunders.

1) ANA writes: "Since 1973, over 155 people have been exonerated and freed from death row." (p 5, par 2, fn 1)


Anti death penalty folks, simply, redefined both "exonerated" and "innocent", as if they had redefined lie as truth, and stuffed a bunch of cases into those new "definitions", as is, easily, discovered by basic fact checking (2), ignored by ANA. Various reviews find the "exonerated" claims to be 70-83% in error (2). This has been known for nearly 20 years.

2) ANA writes: "In California, the cost of confining one inmate on death row is $90,000 more per year than the cost of maximum security prison ." ". . . a study in North Carolina showed that the cost of a death penalty sentence was $216,000 and the total cost per execution was $2.16 million, more than the cost of life imprisonment (p 5, para 3, fn 1)."

Ludicrous. Neither is possible (3),  just like much of the ANA nonsense, as revealed by fact checking (4).

ANA Confusing Politics for Ethics and Morality

Some have undertaken an ill advised or dishonest effort to show that medical ethics require medical professionals to shun the death penalty.

It is an, utterly, false narrative.

The effort to ban medical professionals' participation in executions is an unethical effort to fabricate professional ethical standards, based upon personal anti-death penalty activism, from those whose professions are medically related.

As with, ANA: " . . . the principles of  social justice speak to the  importance of  the nursing profession’s taking a stance against the death penalty, due to the preponderance of evidence against the fairness and effectiveness of capital punishment as a deterrent." (p1, fn 1)

The foundation for the death penalty, as for all sanctions, is justice. Deterrence cannot be negated for the death penalty nor for any other sanction, nor for any other negative prospect (5). ANA chooses to risk sacrificing more innocent lives (5).

Fairness is a highly subjective consideration. For example, based upon 2008-2011, US data, " . . . the true number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients was estimated at more than 400,000 per year. Serious harm seems to be 10- to 20-fold more common (4-8 million) than lethal harm." (6) 


There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since the 1930s.

Based upon ANA's constant errors (2-4), we know the ANA could not, possibly, have made an informed evaluation of fairness, as detailed.

ANA parrots that the death penalty is a human rights violation. Both freedom and life are fundamental human rights. Neither is inviolate, which is why we have both incarceration and executions, with due process. None of the groups stating that the death penalty is a human rights violation also state that incarceration is, as well. The only difference in the stances are that one is honest and the other not.

Nurses may ethically/morally participate in executions based upon their caring spirit, that they may assist in providing less painful executions and that they, also, may find the death penalty to be a just sanction that helps to save more innocent lives.

As per, Dr. Robert Truog, MD, Professor of Medical Ethics, Harvard Medical School:

"If I think of the kind of a hypothetical where you have an inmate who is about to be executed and knows that this execution may involve excruciating suffering, that inmate requests the involvement of a physician, because he knows that the physician can prevent that suffering from occurring, and if there is a physician who is willing to do that, and we know from surveys that many are, I honestly can't think of any principle of medical ethics that would say that that is an unethical thing for the physician to do." (7)

How could he reach that conclusion? Easily.

Just as per page 2, fn 1, ANA could have provided that "Nurses. . .  provide comfort care at the  end of life, if requested, including pain control, anxiety relief or procuring the services of a chaplain or spiritual advisor.", for nurses that find the death penalty to be just and ethical.

There has been a lot of ink used to review the long standing medical professions ethical prohibitions against the death penalty.

There is no such prohibition.

Some in the medical community have fabricated an ethical prohibition against medical professionals' involvement in state executions by invoking the famous "do no harm" credo and the Hippocratic Oath.

It is a dishonest effort.

THE ETHICS OF LYING - The Hippocratic Oath

Note: To their credit, ANA does not use the Hippocratic Oath to support their position, but does, foundationally, use "do no harm" (1).

Some have proclaimed that "First do no harm" is a centuries old foundation of medical ethics, weighing against death penalty participation.


It is an anti-death penalty fraud that "do no harm" is in the context of the state execution of murderers (8).

Neither the Hippocratic Oath nor "do no harm" have anything to do with executions (8).

Both are, solely, concerned with the medical profession and patients.

" 'do no harm' (a phrase translated into Latin as "Primum nonnocere") is often mistakenly ascribed to the (Hippocratic) oath, although it appears nowhere in that venerable pledge.(8)"

"Hippocrates came closest to issuing this directive in his treatise Epidemics, in an axiom that reads, 'As to disease, make a habit of two things - to help, or at least, to do no harm.'  (8)"

"As to disease" -  Nothing else.

There is no relevance outside medicine and, most certainly, no prohibition against medical professionals participation in the state execution of murderers.

The classic Hippocratic Oath & Its Brother, the Hypocrisy Oath

"I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art." (8)

This is a prohibition against euthanasia and abortion (8) and has nothing to do with the fabricated medical prohibition of participation in state sanctioned executions.

Do those anti-death penalty physicians and medical associations promise license revocation if any of their members participate in euthanasia or abortion?

Of course not.

In fact, we have Belgium approving the assisted suicides of children, of any age, with participation by physicians (9).

Many medical professionals fully accept and participate in both abortion and euthanasia.

Many could care less about the true ethical prohibitions that exist in a medical, historical context.

Instead, they just invent new ones, against the death penalty and for child suicide, while avoiding the true prohibitions, ushering in the newly renamed and truthful - Hypocrisy Oath.

Is the ANA unaware that the lethal injection executions of murderers are a criminal justice sanction and that it is not a medical procedure with patients?

If nurses wish to participate in end of life situations that have nothing to do with patients, medical associations should not place political roadblocks in their way.

The few legal reviews of this topic have found as reason and fact require:

"Other courts have addressed (physicians participating in executions) and found that it does not violate the physician's code of ethics to participate in an execution . . ." "The Court... does not find that Missouri physicians who are involved in administering the lethal injections are violating their ethical obligations . .  ." (Taylor v. Crawford, Jan. 31, 2006, Court Order issued by the US Western District Court of Missouri)

Let's look at some additional sensible reviews:

The editors of The Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine write:

"Execution by lethal injection, even if it uses tools of intensive care such as intravenous tubing and beeping heart monitors, has the same relationship to medicine that an executioner's axe has to surgery." ("Lethal Injection Is Not Humane", PLoS, 4/24/07).

So to, The American Society of Anesthesiologists:

"Although lethal injection mimics certain technical aspects of the practice of anesthesia, capital punishment in any form is not the practice of medicine. ("Statement on Physician Nonparticipation in Legally Authorized Executions," 10/18/06).

Both confirm the obvious: The state execution of murderers has no connection, ethically or otherwise, to the medical treatment of patients.

Rationally, there is no ethical nor moral connection, Some folks just want to fabricate a false narrative. So that's what they do - just another anti-death penalty fraud.

1) Capital Punishment and  Nurses’ Participation in Capital Punishment,

2) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy


An Open Fraud in the Death Penalty Debate: How Death Penalty Opponents Lie - The "Innocent" and the "Exonerated"

3)  Death Penalty Costs: California


"Duke (North Carolina) Death Penalty Cost Study (1993): Let's be honest"

4) Review of other ANA fact problems

5) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives

6) A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care
James, John T. PhD, Journal of Patient Safety, September 2013 - Volume 9 - Issue 3 - p 122–128,

7) New England Journal of Medicine interview titled "Perspective Roundtable: Physicians and Execution", Jan. 18, 2008

8) Physicians & The State Execution of Murderers: No Medical Ethics Dilemma


The Death Penalty & Medical Ethics Revisited

9)  "What Belgium's child euthanasia law means for America and the Constitution", Eugene Kontorovich, Washington Post, February 13, 2014