The Kansas City Chapter of Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty have been protesting the selling of the execution drug to Missouri by the Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa, Oklahoma over the past couple of weeks. The members of our chapter took turns picketing in front of the pharmacy during their regular business hours and this proved to be an effective way to get them to change their minds. This was due in part to the fair amount of press coverage and negative publicity we were bringing to the pharmacy. I took my turn in Tulsa and it involved receiving much irate reaction to my huge sign and persistent picketing. I heard a lot of swearing and cursing of what I was doing, but also got a fair amount of cheers and affirmation. A reporter for the local ABC News station interviewed me and the first thing I did was identify myself as a Missionary of the Precious Blood and a brother in the Catholic Church. My faith is what led me to be there that day even though I knew it was going to involve a considerable amount of persecution. Nevertheless, it proved to be an effective mode of social action. The Apothecary Shoppe of Tulsa decided not to provide pentobarbital or any other drug for use in Michael Taylor’s execution in Missouri. According to the Associated Press, the court documents ask a judge to dismiss the case that Taylor’s lawyers had filed against the pharmacy seeking to stop it from providing the execution drug alleging that the drug could cause “inhumane pain.”
The Kansas City Chapter of MADP has an invested interest in the Michael Taylor case because his mother, Linda, is a faithful member of our chapter and we were doing this especially in support of her. Her son, Michael, is scheduled to die for raping and killing a 15-year-old Kansas City girl in 1989. Governor Jay Nixon said that Missouri is prepared to carry out the February 26th execution but declined to elaborate. Missouri, like many states, is reluctant to divulge much information about how, or where, it obtains lethal injection drugs, citing the privacy rights of the supplier. We decided to put pressure on the supplier and it paid off. I believe we were successful due to focusing on the ethical concerns and emphasizing the legal costs and unwanted publicity. Currently, there is a bill pending in the Missouri state legislature to promote capital punishment by using a firing squad. Let us pray to God that does not get passed. Unfortunately, it appears that Missouri already has on hand the drugs to execute Michael Taylor. Please join me and others in a vigil on Tuesday, February 25th from 4-5pm at Nichols Fountain on the Plaza in Kansas City to oppose the death penalty. Those in St. Joseph can join Companion Jean Swymeler at LaBlond High School at noon on the same day.