DUCK AND COVER: Trent Garner wants more concealed weapons in virtually all public facilities.

NO PAIN: Trent Garner testifies as execution witness.

The state offered up two senators who’d served as execution witnesses, Trent Garner and Kim Hammer, to defend the position that the drugs are effective and don’t cause silent suffering by inmates being executed. A full report here from KUAR’s Michael Hibblen.

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Highlight from Garner, an ardent proponent of the death penalty:

“As an Arkansas state senator, I have a strong say in public policy behind the death penalty and I wanted to witness that myself to see what the process was like. To see if that would change my determination for the public policy of it,” Garner said.

He testified that he wasn’t alarmed by what he saw Williams do as the lethal injection was underway. As a former U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret in Afghanistan, Garner said he has witnessed people being killed or injured and can recognize pain.

“For approximately 10 to 15 seconds there were some brief involuntary muscle spasms. His chest rose two to three inches a few times,” Garner said. “I call it involuntary because I didn’t see any pain on his face, no grimacing. I didn’t hear any noises that would indicate pain.”

There’s much more. I continue to have two dominating thoughts:

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  1. The only people who know for sure who’s right — on either side of the argument about use of midazolam — aren’t able to provide testimony.
  2. Does anybody not think this report on the testimony of Dr. Joseph Antognini should merit a followup?

Antognini, who said he has worked with thousands of patients, described midazolam as an effective sedative, albeit one that has fallen out of favor in clinical settings in place of more recently developed drugs.

Why does the state insist on sticking with a protocol rife with problems?