Two News Tribune headlines in three days included the words gas chamber. Friday's paper related the attorney general's suggestion that Missouri return to the use of the gas chamber to execute death row prisoners, on the theory that it is not cruel and unusual punishment. In Sunday's paper, we read of the use of a gas chamber at the animal shelter and wondered if it is too inhumane a method to euthanize feral cats and wildlife.
First, my sympathies to Ms. Laucks on the loss of her cat, Stella. I cringe at what happened to this beloved member of her family. I also cringe at a society where it is legal to kill people for the crimes they've committed, and to kill the unborn that have done nothing wrong.
I don't know if the gas chamber is cruel. I don't know how much the people and animals that die by this method suffer. I hope the advisory board of veterinarians (one of whom cares for my pet family) meets soon to discuss the best way to address animal euthanasia. Sometimes it is necessary and we should do it in the way that will cause the least suffering to the animals.
But killing people is not necessary. We can call it vengeance for the victims, retribution for their families, or punishment of the guilty, but it is still state-sanctioned murder. We can call abortion a choice and the baby a fetus, but it is still the killing of an innocent child.
I don't know how we change this in our society. For now, I simply pray that we do.