Yes, the man who died strapped to a table inside an Oklahoma State Prison on April 29 was a man convicted of a heinous murder, but his own nightmarish death following a botched lethal injection execution continues to spark a national debate about how our nation chooses to legally kill the worst of its people.
This morning's Washington Post, as part of its Post Nation column, published "Everything you need to know about executions in the United States," including the details surrounding capital punishment, how our nation's death-row population breaks down by race, and how the death penalty is being used much, much less in the U.S., in spite of some states, including Idaho, who have chosen to re-start executions.
-An average of 71.1 executions were carried out each year between 1997 and 2005, yet between 2006 and 2013, that number dropped to 44.3 executions per year.
-18 states have officially abolished capital punishment.
-The current death row population is 41.7 percent black, 43.1 percent white and 12.6 percent Latino.
-Between 1973 and this year, 144 people on death row have been exonerated.
-Three states—Delaware, New Hampshire and Washington—still allow hanging.
-Two states—Oklahoma and Utah—still allow the firing squad.
-Three states—Arizona, Missouri and Wyoming—allow the gas chamber.