Last week, Oklahoma authorities botched the execution of a murderer named Clayton Lockett. The execution by lethal injection took more than 40 minutes. According to witnesses, he twitched and gasped and said, "oh, man" after officials had thought he was unconscious.
Opponents of the death penalty outdid one another in expressing their outrage. It was the left's hysteria-of-the-week.
In contrast, many Oklahomans were not nearly as upset.
"Who cares if he feels pain," stylist April Sewell, at Hair Naturally in Perry told Oklahoma TV station KFOR. "You know, honestly, he's getting away a lot easier than how his victim did, how Stephanie did."
Marilee Macias, owner of the town's popular diner, Kumback Lunch, told KFOR, "What that guy got, he deserved."
Tiajuana Hammock, a friend of the family of Lockett's murder victim, Stephanie Neiman, told the station: "I have no sympathy at all. None whatsoever. Stephanie was beat up; she was shot; she was thrown in a grave when she was still alive. His little 30 minutes of lying there in anguish, if he was even feeling any anguish for 30 minutes, does not compare at all to anything Stephanie went through, or her family."
Bobby Lee Bornt, the man who was tied up and beaten by Lockett and his accomplices, said he was tired of all the talk about Lockett's rights.
"Everything that's been talked about is them, what they feel, and no one's mentioned what Stephanie's family feels and Summer and her family and what it's done to them or me and my family," Bornt said. "We live with this every single day and it, it'll honestly tear you apart."
This reaction is not confined to Oklahomans who live in Perry. Mike Christian, a Republican Congressman from Oklahoma, wasn't all that perturbed by Lockett's execution, either. He just wanted Lockett dead. "I realize this may sound harsh," the congressman said, "but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
Nor is this reaction confined to Oklahoma. The Los Angeles Times reports that "[t]he reaction so far by readers who have sent us letters? Big deal -- the man who shot and buried his victim alive 15 years ago had it coming."
On the other side are the abolitionists.
The Los Angeles Times reporter notes that, unlike many of his newspapers' readers, he opposes capital punishment: "A government execution of anyone -- even a brutal murderer -- is an immoral, barbaric act, no matter how you do it."
Dennis Prager is a SRN radio show host, contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of his newest book, “The Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code.”