On April 29, the state tried to put Lockett to death by lethal injection, the first of two executions scheduled for the day. Lockett had sabotaged a vein in his arm, so medical personnel used one in his groin instead. After the supposedly painless process began, Lockett thrashed and moaned on the execution table ... and then the curtain came down.
Prison officials blocked the window that allowed the only objective witnesses to the process to see what was happening.
Later, Corrections Director Robert Patton announced he had ordered the execution stopped, but about 45 minutes after the execution process started, Lockett died of a heart attack.
Or so we're told.
On Thursday, the Oklahoma Board of Corrections met in secret session to discuss the issue. It's the second time the board has avoided the public eye to talk about the issue.
At the same time, the state has a secret investigation going on into the process.
Officials repeatedly have promised to be forthcoming about what happened ... some day, but so far there are only questions and closed doors.
We do not and have never disputed that Lockett deserved execution. He committed a horrible crime, was convicted fairly by a jury and had more than his fair share of appeals.
We agree with those who say the affair has wrongly diverted public attention from the victims to the criminal. We have tremendous sympathy for Stephanie Neiman, the woman Lockett shot and then ordered buried alive. The state's failure to do the job right has wrongly skewed and extended Lockett's moment in the spotlight of infamy. Our issue isn't with what happened to him, but what is happening to us as a state.
Capital punishment is the ultimate expression of governmental power. It must be used constitutionally, efficiently and transparently.
The evidence at this point suggests that Oklahoma has failed on all three accounts.
Enid News & Eagle, June 8, 2014
The devil's in the details with Obama administration's greenhouse gas proposal
On the surface, the Obama administration's plan to reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions sounds fine.
By 2030, coal-fired power plants across the country will have to have to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide they produce to fight global warming. It's all very altruistic.
But, there's considerable reason to be worried about its implementation. As the old saying goes, the devil's in the details.
Supporters of the plan hope it means there will be fewer coal-fired power plants in the years to come. Opponents say it is a war on coal and will drive up the price of electricity.
The new restrictions will not be implemented evenly in the various states. Many states that are coal-dependent will have more lenient restrictions. One example is Kentucky, which — if it meets the new limits — would be allowed to release more carbon dioxide per unit of power than plants in 34 states do now.
EPA estimates the new rules will mean coal will provide about 30 percent of the nation's power in 2030, down from just under 40 percent now.
How the plan will impact Oklahoma remains to be seen, although we may be sitting in pretty good shape. The Sooner State uses coal to produce 38 percent of its electricity, with natural gas providing more than half. Wind energy also is a large — and growing — provider. The amount generated by coal will go down, too, as Public Service Co. of Oklahoma already has announced plans to close two coal-fired plants in Oologah — one in 2016 and one in 2026.
We would hope that EPA is not trying to implement a new version of the carbon tax, which failed before under considerable criticism.
Part of our concern stems from issues that plagued other Obama administration plans when they were implemented. One look at how many bumps in the road snarled the implementation of health care reform gives us pause.