The Serial Killer Who Hugged Me
April 4, 2005 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Life and Death: an extraordinary post from Chris Clarke about his connection to serial killer Stephen Peter Morin. His family chimes in meaningfully in the comments. Morin's execution is often pointed to as proof of the cruelty of lethal injection.
posted by Cassford (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You are right, lethal injection and the electric chamber are the wrong way to do it.

I think we should get back to the firing squads. Simple and final, bullets kill murderers well.

If we are going to kill as a society, which IMHO is sometimes necessary, the pretext of nicety in execution should go out the window.

IMHO (again), if you kill others and are sentenced to death, you don't deserve a peaceful death.
posted by Argyle at 11:11 AM on April 4, 2005

Actually that may be one of the finest anti-death penalty essays, I've ever read. It acknowledges the normal human emotions that make the death penalty an appealing proposition on some level, and does so without condescencsion, yet still remains steadfast in it's convictions. That I can respect.

Nice link, cassford.
posted by jonmc at 11:19 AM on April 4, 2005

A fucking serial killer driving me to school each morning

posted by srboisvert at 11:19 AM on April 4, 2005

This is good, thanks.
posted by cedar at 11:21 AM on April 4, 2005

This gem was included in the list of botched executions:

Florida Supreme Court Justice Leander Shaw commented that "the color photos of Davis depict a man who -- for all appearances -- was brutally tortured to death by the citizens of Florida." Justice Shaw also described the botched executions of Jesse Tafero and Pedro Medina, calling the three executions "barbaric spectacles" and "acts more befitting a violent murderer than a civilized state." Justice Shaw included pictures of Davis's dead body in his opinion. The execution was witnessed by a Florida State Senator, Ginny Brown-Waite, who at first was "shocked" to see the blood, until she realized that the blood was forming the shape of a cross and that it was a message from God saying he supported the execution.

Just lovely.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:22 AM on April 4, 2005

Nice link, thanks.
posted by OmieWise at 11:39 AM on April 4, 2005

He links to one of my exes' blogs, which, in a weird way, links me to Morin, I guess. geesh
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:46 AM on April 4, 2005

...The second was finding out that my mother had ordered a copy of my birth certificate to give to Ray so that he could get ID with a different name on it. I intercepted it in what was likely the luckiest moment of my life.

Woah. Just fucking woah.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:09 PM on April 4, 2005

I've adored Chris Clarke's writing for a while now, but was especially moved by this when I first saw this essay. He does a great job of capturing a glimpse of humanity in this person, while not making any excuses for his horrific actions.
posted by the_bone at 12:11 PM on April 4, 2005

Mr. Roboto beat me to that gruesome little tidbit.

Also, it seems that finding a suitable vein for lethal injection seems to be a rather common problem, as are violent reactions against the cocktails. I'm also surprised that there are problems associated with cyanide - I had previously thought that shutting down cytochrome c (so cells can't produce energy) was a fairly 'peaceful' process; guess I was wrong.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:15 PM on April 4, 2005

posted by spazzm at 12:24 PM on April 4, 2005

But deserved.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:35 PM on April 4, 2005

But deserved.

That is a very succint summary of the dealth penalty debate. Some people agree with the first line, others with the second.
posted by raedyn at 2:30 PM on April 4, 2005

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Cruel and unusual, not cruel or unusual. If that list demonstrates anything, it's that enough Americans have now been tortured to death that it can no longer be described as unusual. That's handy, I guess.

If I'm ever executed, I want them to drop a piano on my head from 100 feet while I'm not looking. Very moving piece, though.
posted by Soulfather at 2:35 PM on April 4, 2005

I was referring not only to Mr. Morin's execution (and execution in general) but also his actions.

I assume Asparagirl is not referring to the latter.
posted by spazzm at 2:40 PM on April 4, 2005

hmm... You know getting shot, or even guillotine style decapitation would probably be less 'cruel' then the current lethal injection system.
posted by delmoi at 3:35 PM on April 4, 2005

This is an amazing essay, complete with some of the most moving and literate comments I've ever read on a blog. I liked Chris Clarke's answer to the Christian woman:

"I have not, however, rejected Christ's teachings. Not all of them, anyway. Here's my favorite:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:5)

I doubt I could have shown anywhere near that level of restraint after writing such an emotional piece. He must be a remarkable man.
posted by maryh at 4:41 PM on April 4, 2005 [1 favorite]

How about one of those cow "stun guns" that shoots a 1" rod into the brain? I'm thinking that'd be a pretty quick and painless death for a human.

I've also heard that heroin overdose is awesome. I think it was heroin.

Me, I wish to be chased over a cliff by rollerblading women with big breasts. Oh, those big breasts...
posted by five fresh fish at 7:38 PM on April 4, 2005

That second link was an afterthought. The first thing I thought after reading Chris' post (that is, after I stopped shaking my head and muttering to myself "damn, that was a fine, fine piece of blogging") was that I'd heard of Morin's execution before.

I'm against the death penalty and I've seen a surfeit of anecdotal evidence about the various methods of execution. The reason Morin's sticks in my mind is that I remember seeing it listed on these "botched" lists and thinking it a weak example. If having a hard time finding a suitable vein for inserting a hypodermic needle is torture, then my dear, departed Ma could have filed civil suits against several phlebotomists in Boston's teaching hospitals.

As an aside, Chris is the editor of Earth Island Institute's quarterly journal and it seems like his honest, mindful approach is in evidence there as well. Thanks to Michael Bérubé for the link to Chris.
posted by Cassford at 9:36 PM on April 4, 2005 [1 favorite]

To Argyle (and others),

That someone "deserves" death does not, in my opinion, justify the state -- the imperfect, fallible, political state -- trying to mete out death on an equitable and judicious basis. Such attempts are never equitable nor particularly judicious.

Lots of people "deserve" death. Lots of people who aren't even rapists or murders don't "deserve" to be alive. But is that how we as a society want to determine whether or not to kill someone?

I hope not.

Brilliant blog, though. Neither supports nor discredits the death penalty, in my opinion, but as usual, supporters and opponents alike will find something in it for them.
posted by jenii at 5:46 AM on April 5, 2005

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