Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Daniel Lopez: Suicidal or Just Plain Sorry?

Daniel Lee Lopez was executed by the state of Texas tonight for causing the death of a police officer in 2009. While trying to flee from the police after a traffic stop, Lopez struck the officer with his SUV as the officer stood on the side of the highway. Later, Lopez rammed the same SUV into several police cars when they tried to block his escape. Lopez didn’t end his vehicular assault until he was shot, wounded, and apprehended.

While Lopez’s crime was a heinous one, his own lawyer tried to brand him as insane for simply accepting his death sentence without a fight. Because Lopez didn’t file endless appeals or ask for clemency from numerous courts, this was called a sign of “obvious and severe mental illness” by the lawyer, who accused Lopez of committing suicide via the legal system.

The question now becomes this: if an inmate who must be dragged to the lethal injection table kicking and screaming, perhaps making wild and bizarre statements along the way, is dubbed insane, then why is an inmate who calmly accepts his court-ordered fate without a protest labeled the same way?

Since Texas no longer allows special last meal requests, Lopez was served the same food as others in his unit. For his last meal, Daniel Lopez had baked chicken, mashed potatoes, country gravy, carrots, black eyed peas, a lemon cookie bar, and sliced bread, with a choice of water, tea, or punch to drink.