A retarded man in Texas is set to be executed tomorrow.
August 8, 2000 3:47 PM   Subscribe

A retarded man in Texas is set to be executed tomorrow. Is this what "compassionate conservatism" is all about? Bush does not support laws that prohibit the execution of retarded people, even though such laws exist currently in 12 other states. Oliver Cruz commited a heinous crime, but isn't killing him tomorrow pre-meditated murder? Are we a better society after we kill Oliver Cruz? Does it send a message to other would be mentally-retarded killers that they will hear and will it convince them not to commit similar crimes?
posted by mathowie (50 comments total)
During the trial, the prosecutor said that Cruz was more of a danger to society because he is mentally retarded.

Course, I think that Bush is mentally retarded, as are his supporters.
posted by DragonBoy at 3:55 PM on August 8, 2000

Well, if mentally retarded means more dangerous to society, maybe we should start killing schizophrenic people too. Then we can start on the manic-depressives.
posted by EssenDreck at 4:07 PM on August 8, 2000

The argument behind sparing the retarded is that many severely retarded people are incapable of understanding that they're being executed for the heinousness of their crime. But there was a front-page story in the New York Times yesterday (can't find it on the site today in a way that tricked-up URL can access; anyone else?) that showed that in this case, Cruz fully understands it. He's not book smart, but he knows right from wrong. And he didn't do the crime because he was stupid, but because he was wacked out on LSD and other stuff at the time.

Besides, as has been pointed out on MeFi a number of times already, in Texas the governor does not have the power to spare Death Row inmates. He can grant a one-time temporary stay (for either 30 days or six months, can't remember), but if the parole board doesn't decide to commute the sentence, he's still going to die. This isn't a Bush issue.

(And I hate the phrase "compassionate conservatism," because it implies that conservativism pre-W wasn't compassionate, and that's BS. But I can see why he feels the need to use it, considering that the politics of demonization is the main legacy of Clinton at this point.)
posted by aaron at 4:11 PM on August 8, 2000

"A retarded man in Texas"? What, they're bumping off Dubya?


"What I like about George W. is he makes me feel so smart!" -- Dan Quayle
posted by aurelian at 4:38 PM on August 8, 2000

OK, Quayle didn't really say that. But he would if he could think of it! :)

posted by aurelian at 4:39 PM on August 8, 2000

The Texas parole board are puppets; Bush pulls the strings. Members of the board receive calls from the governor's office telling them which way Bush wants the vote to go, and they fax in their votes. Bush may not have much power on paper, but the power that put him in office is greater than law or democracy.

A nine year old child knows right from wrong. We don't execute nine year old children.
posted by sudama at 4:49 PM on August 8, 2000

Kind of surprised to see the words "retarded man" in a link headline on MeFi from mathowie himself, since it is largely considered a desultory (albeit easily recognizable) term for the mentally challenged. Then again maybe I just caught a lot of flak at home for using "retard" because my mother is a Special Needs Educator.

Either way, just thought I'd mention that mentally challenged, or possibly even developmentally stunted, are preferred terms. Of course I realize that the Dallas News certainly set no admirable precedent by using it as a headline. Oh well.
posted by Awol at 4:50 PM on August 8, 2000

sudama, your support of that bold claim would be....
posted by Awol at 4:52 PM on August 8, 2000

New York Times article.

And, as was also pointed out on MetaFilter, Bush has enough political clout and power over the parole board that he could stop it if he wanted to.

The politics of demonization exsisted long before Bill Clinton came along. Remember Willie Horton? Politics have been dirty and demonizing long before many of us were born.

But, I mean, it makes sense. If a retarded person kills someone in New York, it's much different than if a retarded person kills someone in Texas . . .
posted by alan at 4:52 PM on August 8, 2000

This isn't a Bush issue? Whatever.

As stated in this Salon article, Bush has signed off on 131 executions without granting a single reprieve. How is that not a Bush issue?

posted by gluechunk at 4:55 PM on August 8, 2000

Sudama is probably referring to remarks made by David Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston. It was mentioned in a Salon article.

He's not the only person who belives this is the case, but he's the only one I could find online.

And just a correction to gluechunk. Bush recently did grant his first reprieve. After the 30 days were up, the man was executed and GWB said he agreed with it.
posted by alan at 5:11 PM on August 8, 2000

Yeah, that's the Times article I was talking about. Thanks alan.

A nine-year-old knows the difference between right and wrong. Many, if not most, of the retarded people covered by such laws do not. The Times article notes at least two such examples: One guy begged for a crayon in court so he could draw pictures during his trial. The other didn't even know he was being executed at all when he was being strapped down (though his retardation was caused by his somehow managing to shoot half his own brain out as the cops were trying to arrest him).

The parole board is a bunch of puppets. Whatever. If that were true they'd all be voting unanimously to kill 100% of the time. The members are appointed by the governor, but for six-year terms. Once they're appointed, they can vote as they please.

And of course, who let more Texas inmates die than any other pre-Bush? His immediate predecessor, Democratic saint Ann Richards. This isn't a Bush issue, it's a Texas issue. Texas is wildly pro-death penalty, and is no matter who's in the governor's mansion or what party they're from. gluechunk, if you want to make it a general death penalty debate, fine. Gore is pro-death penalty too.

This is all rather silly in terms of presidential politics anyway. The application of the death penalty is a states' rights issue; once you become president you're not going to have much of anything to do with any specific death penalty cases.
posted by aaron at 5:20 PM on August 8, 2000

I heard that analysis on a radio show (realaudio link) but here's a quote from a Times article along the same lines.

Mr. Bush said the board acted independently, but some lawyers here believe that governors have ways of making their feelings known to a board made up of people who are beholden to them for their $80,000-a-year jobs.

"You can be sure there are ways of communicating with the board and letting them know what the governor wants," said Neil McCabe, a law professor at South Texas College of Law. Mr. McCabe and others pointed to the case of Henry Lee Lucas, the only one in which the board granted clemency. Ten days before the vote, Mr. Bush said he and the board would have to give careful consideration to the case.

posted by sudama at 5:20 PM on August 8, 2000

I didn't claim that Bush never granted a reprieve. I merely stated that he went 131 executions without one. Sorry for not being clear on that.
posted by gluechunk at 5:22 PM on August 8, 2000

"One of the myths in Texas is that the governor doesn't have any power," says David Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston. "All the governor has to do is communicate his wishes to the members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles who are, after all, his political appointees, and they will do exactly what he wants." Dow notes that in the one case where Bush commuted a death sentence to life in prison -- serial killer Henry Lee Lucas -- the governor made it clear what he thought and the board carried it out.

From the Salon article aaron pointed out. But the optimist in me would like to believe that once you're there, you can vote for yourself.

What's more shocking is that Bush commuted Henry Lee Lucas' sentence from death to life without parole, and this is a guy who, more than any other serial killer, is widely considered the most dangerous murderer of the last 50 years, precisely becuase he has no real method. He killed with the slighest provocation, and with ever changing tastes.

posted by Awol at 5:26 PM on August 8, 2000

Political correctness is retarded.

I am a Texan. I used to be very pro-death penalty. I guess in a way I still am. But first let's look at reprieves. A reprieve should only be granted if the governor has been shown enough evidence to believe that the entire court system failed this guy and there's enough proof to incur reasonable doubt. Otherwise, he's only postponing the inevitable, which can be more heartless than to just kill the guy as quickly and painfully as possible. Up to that point the average death row inmate's gone through the wringer anyway.

Which is more inhumane? To leave someone imprisoned for life with little to no hope to ever be free, or to just kill him off? Charlie Manson will never be allowed to leave the prison. If he does, there'll be snipers lined up ready to assassinate him. Is it humane to leave him to rot? Yet that's exactly what we're gonna do, isn't it? Let him die of natural causes in prison. There's simply no other solution with our present system. A reprieve doesn't mean free. It doesn't mean all the court activity that's been done up until then is overturned. The governor of a given state acts as a safety valve for this system. He can give the defense one last chance to prove the guy's innocence. That's all.

I can't stand Bush, but in some of the 131 cases, I can see that he was actually being more humane. In fact, personally I believe in some cases our death row system is TOO slow. But it's necessary. It is our hope that with each appeal and re-examination, we are combing the issue to find the truth as best as possible, so innocent people don't die.

Still, despite all attempts, innocent people do and will die. It's not a perfect system, but it's about the best we've been able to come up with till now. The REAL truth though, every time a man is put to death, it's not just the man that has failed society: society has failed that man. It's a two way street. The system's uniquely inhumane while simultaneously being horrendously human. The very concept of individual men judging their own peers, their own kind, it's foolhardy and imperfect. Yet we do have and will have no alternative, so long as some people out there think they can take the life of others and still retain their own inalienable rights.

I don't like Bush. I don't like the death penalty. However, the two are not as linked as one might think. As someone pointed out earlier, Anne Richards signed off her fair share of prisoners to death. It's one of the less appealing parts to being a governor. Their just the final cog in a rusty machine. The alternative is life in prison. I don't call that a life. If there's a hope of rehabilitation that's one thing, but by the time someone's gotten to death row, he's too sociopathic anyway.

We don't imprison people to punish them. We don't do it hoping they'll learn the errors of their past and reform. We do it to protect ourselves and our way of life.

We do it out of fear.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:49 PM on August 8, 2000

Anyway, the point is that Bush could have stopped the execution of Shaka Sankofa (Gary Graham), and he can stop this execution of a mentally challenged man, if he chooses to.

Apart from the fact that the public likes to kill people and regardless of whether the state has a right to take life, are there any good arguments in favor of the death penalty? It's certainly not a deterrent, it's not cost-effective, it's unjustly applied to the poor and to persons of color, and it's impossible to guarantee that an innocent isn't killed.
posted by sudama at 5:49 PM on August 8, 2000

Look, like I said, these people are appointed for six-year terms, not to be hired and fired at the drop of a hat on the governor's whim. So even in Bush had some big epiphany tomorrow morning and decided to start packing the board with militant anti-death penalty people, it would take several years before there were enough such people there to guarantee commutations every time. And that's assuming Bush stayed in power long enough to pull it off. (Could he even do that? Isn't he on his second term already? I know that in many states they have term limits of two consecutive four-year terms max.) And, given that this is Texas we're talking about, any governor that did do something like that would lose a TON of voter support almost overnight, and hand a possibly-winning issue to his challenger at the next election. You want to talk about a case where The System is bigger than any one man, this is it.

Anyway, I tend to agree with Zach. I think life without parole is a far worse fate for an inmate than death. Especially when they're in Supermax-type situations where they're in solitary confinement most of the time. A few years of that turns you into an emotional cripple, when it doesn't lead to outright psychosis.
posted by aaron at 6:14 PM on August 8, 2000

Oh I don't know. He has killed a young woman who's not going to be experiencing much anymore. Rape/Murder seems pretty malicious - even if the guy is a tard.

I really don't care what motivation someone has for killing and raping a woman; he's been found guilty; put him in prison forever or kill the screwy bastard.
posted by holloway at 6:18 PM on August 8, 2000

Especially when they're in Supermax-type situations where they're in solitary confinement most of the time. A few years of that turns you into an emotional cripple, when it doesn't lead to outright psychosis.

And so you'd kill the inmate, rather than getting rid of Supermax-type prisons and reforming the penal system? Come on...
posted by sudama at 6:28 PM on August 8, 2000

I appreciate aaron's point relating to the erroneous assumption that Bush is somehow responsible for the death's of these people and is some bloodthirsty unfeeling person. It's too convenient for otherwise intelligent people to forget that these people committed crimes, had their day in court before reasonable people like you or myself, and were convicted. To speak of how cost-effective, or uncompassionate, or whatever you think is wrong with the details of this gee-whiz case, fact of the matter is its been established that this person will pay the dues he owes society as the judge and the people of the State of Texas have arranged. If you think that your being murdered by a mentally 'challenged' individual is somehow different than being murdered by anyone else, then I just can't understand where you're coming from. Certainly not a background where personal responsibility is of much importance.
posted by greyscale at 6:41 PM on August 8, 2000

No, I won't argue with you there, our prison system's pretty screwed up. But I think reforming that is a challenge even harder to pull off politically than eliminating the death penalty. I'm just saying that given that our current choices are X or Y, death is probably the more humane thing in a lot of cases.

As long as there's any measurable level of violent crime out there, it's going to be damn near impossible to convince people to push for anything that would make life easier for those in prison. You might as well fight to have Congress pass a resolution saying the Pope is Jewish.
posted by aaron at 6:43 PM on August 8, 2000

> I think life without parole is a far worse fate for an
> inmate than death

I don't understand this. If you prefer to die than serve out your life sentence, then by all means, kill yourself. But the government shouldn't make that decision for you. I've never understood why the government kills anyone to make their point that killing is wrong. It just seems like faulty logic to me.
posted by mathowie at 6:46 PM on August 8, 2000

Well, if he's *not* excecuted because of his handicap, that would be discrimination, and unfair to Mr. Cruz.

But seriously... he raped and murdered someone. That should be the issue. Fry the bastard... simple as that.
posted by CyberPal at 6:47 PM on August 8, 2000

I certainly hope the guff isn't out of souls.


posted by ahughey at 6:48 PM on August 8, 2000

Who is the victim here the killer or the one's he/she killed? I have no respect or sympathy for killers. I don't care if you are retarded, pregnant, or whatever seems to be out of the ordinary, so why put yourself in a position to be on death row in the first place only to realize, that your time is up? I feel criminals can be reformed rather than just strapping them all up without due process or fair trial. Do innocent people get the short end of the stick? Surely, and I'm sorry to say the system a majority has in place is flawed. Show me a place that is 100%, guaranteed safe and like the X-files you will be all by your lonesome self to do as you please. So, if you try and place it on one person to stop all that some are opposed to, keep on spreading the gossip and twisting the quotes to favor one train of thought over another. Whom do you trust, a criminal or one who is set in punishing the criminal?
posted by brent at 6:51 PM on August 8, 2000

Mental retardation is an actual technical term that appears in the DSM. So it's entirely appropriate to talk about mental retardation or someone who suffers from something of that sort.

As for the number of executions carried out during Bush's rule of Texas, let's remember it has been nearly 100%. I think 1 person was pardoned during his term. 1. Maybe it's something like 2, but c'mon, that's about as close to 100% as you're going to come.

This is inane. Folks who are mentally retarded, by definition, have difficulty following things you and I can. In court, in law, in life. It's a serious enough confounding factor that I seriously question any person's judgment that says such a person needs to be put to death. Life in prison is fine.
posted by yarf at 6:52 PM on August 8, 2000

>>I don't understand this. If you prefer to die than serve out your life sentence, then by all means, kill yourself.<<

You can't. You don't have any more right to kill yourself in jail than any of us do out here in the free world, so it's a baseless argument. (I'm sure we're all aware of the case where some guy was going to be executed that day, did something to try to kill himself, was taken the the hospital and revived, and then taken back to prison and offed.) Again, I'm commenting on what's best given the choices available, X or Y. All these Zs are mere hypotheticals.
posted by aaron at 6:53 PM on August 8, 2000

obviously we've got people on both sides of the issue-- what we have in common is that we all realize that the system isn't perfect. How about some solutions, then, or at least ideas? What should we do with mentally retarded killers? If the death penalty is favored by the citizens of a given state, how can it be made more fair, less racist, and more accountable? If you support the DP, then surely you want to make it better, more efficient, and less prone to error and therefor criticism. If you're against it you may be in the minority in your particular state or community, so how would you work to make it more fair, or at least how would you try to clog the wheels of 'justice'?
posted by chaz at 7:14 PM on August 8, 2000

The death penalty debate shouldn't purely be partisan and totally try to blame everything on Texas and Bush. What was Ann Richards' record? Anyone remember Rickey Ray Rector?
posted by gyc at 7:52 PM on August 8, 2000

Mathowie: "...the government shouldn't make that decision for you. I've never understood why the government kills anyone to make their point that killing is wrong..."

Oingo Boingo has a very astute song that hits this chord:

...He's underprivileged and abused
Perhaps a little bit confused...

The existing government does not make that decision. By the time our judicial system is brought into play, the decision has already been made. It is the court's job to insure that the accusations are truth, so the guilty are punished and the innocent are not. The damage has already been done. When a man takes a woman against her will, drags her out into a secluded place, rapes her repeatedly and then stabs her twenty times, he forfeits his own inalienable rights with the act of disregarding hers.

Our constitution is founded on inalienable rights. When someone disregards the inalienable rights of others, they disregard the right to have their own. We cannot stand for this. We cannot tolerate. We cannot capitulate. If Cruz had done this to someone close to you, you would not be saying, "oh he's just mentally challenged. He's just a lad. He couldn't help it. He didn't want to do it."

...It's not his fault that he can't behave
Society made him go astray
Perhaps if we're nice he'll go away...

So Cruz is a grown man with the intelligence of a twelve year old. So he was strung out on drugs and booze at the time. Big deal. He knew what he did was wrong. He admitted to it. He turned himself in. He offered blood and semen samples. This is not the case of a man who was framed for a crime he did not commit. This is not the case of a man who did a boo boo and gee he's really sorry and please forgive him and wipe the slate clean. When they kill this man, they are not risking killing an innocent. When they kill this man, it is not to try and right a wrong. The damage has already been done. Cruz's death will not return Donovan to her family and friends.

The death penalty exists because our society cannot stand idly by and let those actions which threaten to unravel the threads of peace and freedom go unchallenged. I would welcome a better solution, but up until this point in human history there has simply been no suitable alternative. The death penalty does not stop people from believing that under certain circumstances it's okay to kill your fellow man. In fact, it reinforces that idea. Still, if we don't enact the death penalty we might as well just disregard inalienable rights entirely, and let any man who feels he is right to rape and murder at his leisure go free.

...Hey there Johnny
You really don't fool me
You get away with murder
And you think it's funny
You don't give a damn
If we live or if we die
Hey there Johnny boy
I hope you fry!

We cannot tolerate. We cannot capitulate. To do so is to give up.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:57 PM on August 8, 2000

All you folks who think the death penalty is A-OK, come on down to Arizona!
Personally, I'm proud we stand with countries like Saudi Arabia and Oman. Perhaps (after the late Mayans) we could have televised ritual executions on Las Vegas recreations of stepped pyramids.
And I'm sure that would stop people killing, just like incarceration stops people taking drugs.
posted by aflakete at 11:26 PM on August 8, 2000

ZachsMind - you're taking the piss, right?
posted by Mocata at 2:39 AM on August 9, 2000

Eye for an eye has been a ruling part of society back to the oldest times. Restitution has always been an aspect of society. If it wasn't given in land, animals, or a daughter, it was given in life.

Now, the main question I have is one that was raised earlier; who's being violated, the victim or the killer? Why do people who abuse the inaliable rights of others get to retain their own? Why are theives allowed to sue a homeowner they stole from because they were injured in the process of committing a crime? It's assinine.

And the political correctness thing. Why do we try and make things sound nice and cozy? Metally retarded to mentally challenged and now they want to change it to something like 'different mental processing.'

Oh, they are dying in droves of AIDS, but no, they're just suffering from a immunio supressive disorder. We don't have to dedicate as much attention to that, because it doesn't sound as bad.

Call a spade a spade, a heart a heart, a club a club and an diamond a diamond. All these fucking politically correct terms cheapen and demean and only serve to make the speaker feel better and more comfortable about themselves.
posted by rich at 7:27 AM on August 9, 2000

here's a nice quote found on The Green Boffin:

"An execution is not simply death. It is just as different from the privation of life as a concentration camp is from prison. It adds to death a rule, a public premeditation known to the future victim, an organization which is itself a source of moral sufferings more terrible than death. Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life."

-- Albert Camus

posted by sudama at 8:54 AM on August 9, 2000

See, I think that the same enlightened spirit sustains the death penalty and creationism in the US, and it brings me a perverse amusement that people can support one without the other. But then again, moral evolution works in mysterious ways.
posted by holgate at 8:55 AM on August 9, 2000

"the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life."

I beg to differ. The time frame may not be months, but for the victim, minutes, hours or days might as well have been an eternity. And such monsters are the subject of news items daily. Those who capture, torture, rape, then kill their victims are surprisingly common.

Therefore, it would seem that punishment is fitting to the crime. No?
posted by rich at 9:06 AM on August 9, 2000

Does anyone really think keeping someone for the rest of their life in a little concrete box is better than just killing them? Or worse, that if the person is release that prison has made a better person of them. Would you let a convicted murderer date your daughter? "Oh, he served his time! He's a real gentleman now!" Yeah, right.
And as for the retarded guy this whole thread got started with, whether he knows right from wrong or not he killed somebody. What's worse? His not knowing it was the wrong thing to do or his knowing it was?
Just kill him. In the grand scheme of things we'll be better off.

posted by Nyarlathotep at 9:37 AM on August 9, 2000

Does anyone really think keeping someone for the rest of their life in a little concrete box is better than just killing them?

I think this is the most ridiculous argument yet from the pro-death penalty side, and it's been repeated a number of times here. From what I've been able to figure, the only real argument in favor of the death penalty is that, hey, the bastard deserves it. If your purpose is to inflict the worst punishment possible, then if you believe keeping them locked up forever is really meaner, you should use that instead. But if you are trying to say that you are for humane treatment of criminals, then you can't be in favor of the death penalty! Don't go pulling that kind of bait-and-switch argument.

Aaron said he was just arguing between the two current options and that hypotheticals didn't have a place. But what we're arguing about is whether or not the death penalty is wrong. The possible elimination of use of the death penalty as a punishment is a hypothetical. Should we refrain from discussing it? I don't think there's any reason to argue unless you discuss possible solutions. If you think life imprisonment is worse than the death penalty, then maybe we should re-examine the way prisons work.
posted by daveadams at 10:02 AM on August 9, 2000

Yes, execution is premeditated murder. Yes, I suppose in some happy world execution might prevent murder, but prevention is not the purpose of execution. The purpose of execution is punishment. Retribution. Atonement.

It's not about saving lives, it's about getting equal.
posted by gleemax at 12:30 PM on August 9, 2000

Here's another argument for the death penalty then... Aside from the bastards deserving death, it also gets rid of a drain on society. Keeping them alive in prison is a waste of money. Just kill them and be done with it. They're useless! If they could do something really usefull then let them do that instead. Have them mine Uranium till they die or fight to the death for our amusement or be guinea pigs for experimental drugs. I don't care. I just don't want to pay for it.
And as for executions costing a lot of money to perform then the hell with all this humane nonsense. Just duct tape a stick of dynamite to thier head and blow the damn thing off.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 1:48 PM on August 9, 2000

I'll repeat my repetition of Winston Churchill's words, which were themselves a repetition of Dostoyevsky's: you can judge the civilisation of a society from the way it treats its prisoners. And to be honest, this thread proves the point.
posted by holgate at 4:03 PM on August 9, 2000

Nyarlathotep, executions are expensive not because of the "humane" methods of execution, but because a death penalty case automatically goes through so many appeals in court. It winds up costing more in court time to execute someone than it does to condemn them to life in prison and pay for their imprisonment.
posted by wiremommy at 4:35 PM on August 9, 2000

The original post doesn't seem to be about whether the death penalty is right or wrong, but whether it's right or wrong to execute the mentally challenged. I believe that much like with a case involving the mentally ill, the first thing that should be done is to determine competency. Does the accused understand the charge? Right from wrong? etc. If the answers to all these questions are "yes" (as with Cruz) then things should proceed as with any criminal trial.

Frankly, I think this same amount of caution and care should go into any criminal case.
posted by phichens at 4:38 PM on August 9, 2000

phichens, I hope you're not doing this on Express time. By the way, did you see Simon Heffer's absurd piece in the Telegraph a few weekends ago where he argued that advances in DNA technology and forensics mean it's time to bring back the death penalty? What a nut...
posted by Mocata at 4:23 AM on August 10, 2000

Well, in the immortal words of Paul Shaffer, "The cat is dead, the point is moot."
posted by aaron at 8:03 AM on August 10, 2000

Sorry, Mocata? Express time? And, no, I didn't see the article you mention. I think you've confused me with someone else. At the very least, you've confused me.
posted by phichens at 3:57 PM on August 10, 2000

Sorry, phichens - I skimmed your post and got the impression it was vaguely pro-death penalty or whatever and for a mad moment I thought you might be Peter Hitchens, a barkingly right-wing columnist in the UK (and brother of the more famous Christopher). My apologies.
posted by Mocata at 9:43 AM on August 11, 2000

Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months.

The thing of it is that it doesn't matter the means by which the killer did his killing -- he is still a killer. That he sits for months and years waiting for the day is a by-product of the system, not a part of the punishment.

If a killer is known to be guilty, as in this case, let him be duly punished. It is not murder to kill a guilty man for his crimes -- murder requires an innocent victim.
posted by Dreama at 6:32 PM on August 12, 2000

Well said Dreama.
posted by thirteen at 6:43 PM on August 12, 2000

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