It is clear from reading his article "Scenes from an execution", that Christopher Hitchens is not striving for objectivity regarding the death penalty issue facing America today. He chooses to use a light, cynical approach to get his views across, rather than the bull in a china shop approach used by many of the groups sharing his views. Beginning with a brief glimpse at the circumstances surrounding the execution of Larry Wayne White, the idiocy of enforcing a zero-tolerance non-smoking policy against a man preparing for a lethal injection, and ending with an obscure quote by Edna St. Vincent Millay regarding the debts due death, we are led down a path highlighting what Mr. Hitchens sees as the absurdity of "the practice, not principle," of implementing the death penalty.
After wading through several references about death by people long gone, our host illustrates how "barbarous" the United States is by continuing to employ the death penalty when "most advanced countries in the world have abolished capital punishment". He furthers his argument by extolling the practices of South Africa and the Council of Europe in discontinuing the practice, then likening the U.S. to Japan as if a partner in crimes against humanity. Following more voices from the grave about the horror of state executions from centuries past Mr. Hitchens presumes to enlighten with his interpretations of the U.S. Constitution, and at last we arrive at the main course, the crux of the story, his observations from personally viewing his tax dollars at work. A convicted murderer named Samuel Lee McDonald was scheduled to take his last breath around midnight on September 24, 1997 and our host has decided that since he's been riding the tide of capital punishment, perhaps he should see it first hand.
Hitchens" feigns amazement at how easy it is to "book an appointment with death" and is quick to point out that Missouri is the "Show-Me State.