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Updated Jul 24, 2014 - 8:21 pm

Final Word: Let's debate the death penalty, not the drugs

The execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood has once again ignited the debate over lethal injection.

Wood was administered the cocktail of lethal of drugs Wednesday just before 2 p.m., but wasn't pronounced dead until nearly 4 p.m. The whole thing lasted nearly two hours, and the manner in which Wood died was denounced by many in the media who were watching as cruel and inhumane. Many said that Wood seemed to gasp for air hundreds of times and thus deduced that he was suffering.

These reporters are not doctors, nor do they have any formal training in the ways that humans experience death. Ever seen someone die of natural causes? What did that look like?

Wood's attorneys had argued in the weeks leading up to the execution that because Arizona doesn't officially say what drugs it uses to kill the condemned, nor admit to the source or manufacturer of them, that they shouldn't be used. Keep in mind, they didn't push for a more humane method that SHOULD be used, so their real endgame was simply staying the execution for THEIR client.

The victim's family, not surprisingly, said they didn't think Wood suffered. Jeannie Brown, daughter of one of Wood's murder victims, said he appeared to be snoring and that he deserved what he had coming. I'll leave it to you to decide if she really means she thinks it was painless, or she hopes it was painful because Wood shot her father and sister as they pled for their lives in 1989 in Tucson.

Now the state will have to investigate the medical nature of Wood's death and issue a report about whether or not he suffered.

Most death penalty supporters likely don't care if the condemned suffers a bit, considering his crime. Most opponents don't think the death penalty should be used under ANY circumstances, so the supposed debate about the "cruelty" of various methods is just a ruse.

Bottom line, you either think the state should be in the business of executing people or you don't. Let's debate that, instead of the drugs the state uses to do it.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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