Clayton Lockett suffered for an hour before dying of a heart attack after his "botched execution" in Oklahoma last week. He raped, shot and buried alive a 19-year-old woman. I'm supposed to feel bad about this. I know this is wrong. But only my head says "this can't happen."
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These are the types of moments when I wish I was one of those people who had a clear-cut, black-and-white perspective. I have some of those. On some things, I am very clear. My feelings are set, distinct. I have considered the opposing viewpoint and maintain my position. For example, marriage equality. Easy one for me. A woman's right to safe and legal abortion. Also clear.

But when a man who kidnapped, raped, shot and buried a 19-year-old woman alive undergoes extreme suffering at his execution, my feelings are not clear. I have a hard time feeling sorry, or feeling bad at all. But I know I should. I know it's wrong.

I think about her pain. I think about her terror, and agony. I wonder if she knew she was being buried alive — what happened in her mind through it all. And I think about him — what he deserves — the way I want him to suffer.

And I'll tell you there's a part of me that really, really wants him to suffer. There's a part of me that wants him to undergo the same agony, the same pain. There's a part of me that wonders why we bother at all with these monsters.

Yes, I'm talking about Clayton Lockett and his "botched execution" in Oklahoma, the way he evidently writhed and groaned and even intermittently called out verbally for a full 40 minutes after the drugs were administered.

My first thought? Good.

My second thought? That's torture. We don't do that. What the hell is wrong with you, Janelle? Setting aside personal agreement or disagreement with capital punishment, we don't engage in cruel and unusual punishment, correct? I believe that's written somewhere, somewhere important.

And intellectually, there are some sound arguments against capital punishment as a whole. As a critically thinking human, I attempt to set emotion aside from my analysis, at least as much as that's possible, and weigh both sides. The arguments against the death penalty, namely that it is distributed unequally among criminals (black people are more likely to be put to death than whites, particularly if the victim is white), ineffective in deterring would-be murderers, contingent upon factors having nothing to do with the crime itself (race, gender, wealth of the suspect, skill level of his/her attorney, geographic location, etc.), and the outright hypocrisy of punishing an act by committing the same act… these arguments cannot be ignored.

And so here I sit, once again, as a mother trying to sort out these feelings so I can attempt to give my kids some perspective. And you know what? Once again, I have to be honest. I think there's a lot of pressure on parents to portray this "unified" black-and-white front of confidence and 100 percent clarity. But is that really life? Is that really what we get? Nah.

We get gray.

Or I do, at least. Sometimes. Often.

An "eye for an eye" just kills everybody, and even abhorrent monsters have the right to civil liberties.

And that's what I'm going to offer my children. I'm going to tell them that my heart says, "Die, *$*&#." OK, I won't say that, exactly. But I will tell them that my heart and emotions have a very hard time feeling compassion for that abhorrent monster, but an "eye for an eye" just kills everybody, and even abhorrent monsters have the right to civil liberties. Otherwise, we are no better than he is.

Actually yes. We are. We are way better. But the heart doesn't always have a place in these matters, and though I will never feel compassion for this man (I'm not Gandhi, people), I also recognize that yes, when a monster suffers, I'm supposed to care.

And I should teach my kids to care too.

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