April 10, 2014 4:20 pm -

Think Progress’s Tara Culp-Ressler has a great idea.

Dennis McGuire struggled, choked, and gasped for air before he finally died, as his adult children watched on in horror. The state of Ohio used a never-before-used mix of drugs to kill him, and he appeared to slowly suffocate to death. Witnesses said the process took about 25 minutes, making it the longest execution since the state reinstituted capital punishment 15 years ago.

When Kelsey Kauffman, a retired Indiana resident and progressive activist, saw the headlines about McGuire — whose death sparked widespread outrage about the nature of lethal injections in the United States — she wanted to do something in response. So Kaufmann started a petition through SumOfUs, a group that allows citizens to organize to advance social justice causes.

Her ask? Get the American Pharmacist Association to add a sentence to its code of ethics to explicitly ban its members from participating in executions.

It may seem like a strange way to respond specifically to McGuire’s case, but this one change could be an indirect method of inching the country toward putting an end to executions altogether. “The Association could help put a stop to the manufacturing and supplying of drugs used for lethal injections,” Kauffman’s petition, which garnered more than 36,000 signatures, explains, “and help end the use of the death penalty in the U.S. once and for all.”

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.