Oregon Dignity Cell

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December 9, 2011 by David Gillaspie

by David Gillaspie

The Oregon State Prison, the Beaver State Big House, has an inmate who wants to die. He’s a two-time murderer looking for the exit.

But he’s got problems.

The governor doesn’t want him dying on his watch. This same governor signed off on two executions during a prior run in office and won’t sign again.

It’s worth mentioning the governor is a doctor, an M.D. bound by the Hippocratic Oath he took long ago. It’s the one that begins with, “First do no harm.”

The inmate didn’t take the same oath. The man is a double murderer, once on the outside, once on the inside.

He did do harm. Twice. Now he wants to pay for his wrongs. He wants to clip his wings so his spirit might soar.

Is that so wrong?

Here’s a man who understands his options and chooses the one voted into law.

Oregon is a death penalty state. Lethal injection is the method. Not a firing squad like Gary Gilmore got in Utah. Not a hanging like they’ve done in Washington. Oregon sharpens up a needle and goes mainline.

The doctor/governor was voted into office to uphold the law. He chooses to ignore the law, which isn’t a crime from his office.

How do you solve this impasse? After meeting with the consultants for DG’s B&B, J. Ray and Co., these solutions jumped out.

1.  Let the inmate follow through on his appeal of the governor’s ruling, then give him thirty days in the ODC, or Oregon Dignity Cell, if the governor still refuses to sign a lethal injection order.

In the Dignity Cell the inmate will find the same lethal dose of lights out provided by Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, the law that allows physician assisted suicide in some terminal patients.

Since the inmate will spend the rest of his life on Death Row, he could be considered terminal. If he feels remorse for his two murders, he is alert enough to do the right thing without spinning anyone else’s moral compass.

If, after thirty days, the inmate hasn’t crawled into the body bag laying under his bunk and chugged his lethal cocktail, he has two other choices.

2.  He can return to Death Row where he’ll get the same attention as other Death Row inmates, spending 23 hours a day in a 6 X 10 cement room with a toilet and a sink.


3.  He can retire to the Revenge Room, the RR Cell.

In the RR he will find a rotating line of roommates to share with. It’s not what you think.

This inmate killed another inmate by stabbing him eighty-four times before crushing his head. He had a partner in crime, so credit both for at least forty-two pokes.

The inmate will find a who’s who of bad men cycling through his cell. Really bad men, but not so bad that he couldn’t take them down and go to work. He’s an experienced killer, if not a very good one, and he’ll be the executioner for those desiring to die, but held up by state and federal officials who see otherwise.

You may have a list of your own naming people to send to the RR Cell. Leave their names in comments, but no ex-wives or husbands, unless you have strong enough evidence against them.

An ideal list includes men like Sirhan Sirhan, Charlie Manson, Felicien Kabuga for his role in the Rwanda massacre, and any death row inmates tired of the same old routine.

Bernie Madoff could use a visit for his callous treatment of dreams and wishes, though the fright might be enough to do him in.

Ken Lay from Enron may have made the list if he didn’t bite it before going to court.

The RR Cell might be a bad solution to end any life. To messy and uncertain. So is the governor deciding against the people’s will in state execution. That leaves the Dignity Cell.

Thirty days may be too long to stay there. Let’s make it a one day option before heading back to the 6 X 10 death row apartment for eternity.

Before you jump to conclusions, ask why a man who committed horrific acts can’t rightfully die in a state with the death penalty.

Oregon was once a state famous for it’s natural resources. After the fishing and logging died down, the forests and beaches still draw those looking for natural beauty.

Does it draw people for the Death with Dignity laws? For legal abortion? In America the votes still get counted after an election. In Oregon, a part of America, the voice of the people tells the governor to sign the lethal injection paper for an inmate who qualifies for the gurney.

If the gov refuses, find another way. Use the tools available to carry out the people’s will. Being a leader can mean getting your hands dirty. Oregonians know how to do that. So does a man from Roseburg.

What is the real problem? Don’t make it location.


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