The Answer Guy Online

Providing information to unwitting victims on a "don't-need-to-know" basis since 1974.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Death Is A Star

Interesting article about a blog from Death Row. It's a rare window into a world that, thankfully, few of us will ever know. Though words like "animal" are tossed aroud to describe the inmates, both individually and as a group, they are human. They have thoughts and hopes and fears like the rest of us. Most of the time, it is far too easy to forget those things.

I am remdinded of the Stanley "Tookie" Williams execution last month, except that this one has received far less attention from Hollywood and the media. Contrary to what some have said, it does not appear that either execution, either that Vernon Evans or the one last month, could properly be called an "injustice." Evans is a killer, and both of those he killed were as human as he was. The same goes for Williams, who continued to deny his crimes as his denials rang hollow.

That having been said, however, I fail to see what good killing people like this does.

It doesn't bring back the victims. It doesn't make anyone in the general public safer. It seems to feed the "eye for an eye" mentality of the folks found in these comments. To the extent it makes anyone feel better, it only does so because it validates our dark impulses to destroy those who wrong us.

I look at the kind of people who celebrate executions and note that they are just as wed to the dark impulse for homicide and violence as the murderers themselves. I feel sorry for anyone who has to deal with someone such as this on a regular basis, and that's probably a lot of people. Perhaps if they were born in the circumstances to which a great number of the men and women whose deaths they callously celebrate, their drinking buddies would be mocking their deaths instead.

To be ruled by these appetites to invite upon ourselves the "nasty, brutish, and short" collective existance posited by Thomas Hobbes in the absence of civilizing influences. And all this assumes that we have the right person in the gallows in the first place, which appears not always to be the case.

There may be some people out there so dangerous, so pernicious, that society can be said to act in its own defense when they take his or her life. Is that everyone in Death Row? Or even a significant fraction thereof? I think not.

At the end of the day, I look at the record of our nation and do not see a culture that is capable of administering the ultimate penalty with anything like the respect and consideration it deserves. Given how human beings are, there may indeed be no culture - past, present, or future - that can.

Totally unrelated point: The Baltimore Sun probably should have come up with another headline for Javy Lopez' dissastisfaction with the state of the Orioles and his role on it. J. Lopez Wants Action From Orioles suggests that Marc Anthony just isn't satisfying America's favorite lame-actress-turned-prefab-pop-singer, and she needs some adult-film worthy locker room polyamoury, rather than Javy Lopez wanting to be traded to a team where he'd start more often at catcher in light of the O's acquisition of Ramon Hernandez from San Diego.


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