Mentally retarded man to be executed in Texas.
November 12, 2000 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Mentally retarded man to be executed in Texas. Discuss.
posted by donkeymon (34 comments total)
And the man presiding over this execution is who will likely become our president? But he's just "upholding the law," right? Don't blame him. *sigh*
posted by veruca at 8:56 PM on November 12, 2000

Two in one year?!

Remember the third debate? How Bush supported the death penalty only because it deterred crime?

Are all the mentally challenged in Texas, with IQ's in the 50's, going to follow this news, and with the news in their minds, are they going to think twice before they kill?

...because if you have any doubt of that happening, there's no crime deterrent, and the whole thing is just fucking cruel.
posted by mathowie at 9:13 PM on November 12, 2000

The man raped and murdered a woman. In my opinion he deserves to die.
posted by Zool at 9:15 PM on November 12, 2000

He doesn't even know what he did, or what is going to happen to him. Killing him helps no one. Killing him teaches no lessons. Killing him is just barbaric, eye-for-an-eye revenge.

Remove him from society, and keep him away for good.
posted by mathowie at 9:21 PM on November 12, 2000

Of course what he did was terrible. No one is excusing his actions. But why do you need to put him to death? What is it going to solve? The woman won't come back to life. Like Matt said, mentally challenged people won't be deterred from committing crime.

Eh, I guess we should avoid a heated death penalty debate on MeFi, but I couldn't let that comment go unanswered.
posted by veruca at 9:22 PM on November 12, 2000

Zool: There are other punishments for rape and murder. He's got the mentality of a 6 year old.

Y'know, people in other countries may be mocking us and laughing because we can't even elect a president, but with this, they should be disgusted with us.

(This, of course, goes along with the men on death row who were Mexican citizens, and had their rights violated by not being allowed to contact their embassies.)

(Oh, wait. Let's not forget that public defense lawyers have been drunk or high on cocaine before trials. Or that the whole system is racist, anyway.)
posted by gramcracker at 9:26 PM on November 12, 2000

Don't forget about Moratorium 2000 and their petition. Now that the election is over, maybe I'll replace my Nader bumper sticker with a Moratorium 2000 bumper sticker (even though the images are broken and I can't see what it looks's just $5 for a pack of 5 anyway).
posted by veruca at 9:32 PM on November 12, 2000

Zool happens to live in a country where we don't have the death penalty.
posted by lagado at 9:50 PM on November 12, 2000

I personally would like God to enforce his laws, just as he did with the people of Sodom and Gamorrah.

You kill someone, BAM! Lightning Flash! Instant Justice!
You rape someone, WHAM! Devine Fire! Rapist turned to ashes.
You jay-walk, cross the street when the don't walk sign is flashing, BAM! Instant Justice! (People would look at the pile of ash in the middle of the street in awe and say, "I guess jay-walking was a sin!")

People keep these eye-for-an-eye laws in the books in the name of God. If this is God's justice we are carrying on, I would want God to do it himself.

Even though I am Muslim, I have always liked Jesus asserting, "Let he, who has no sin, cast the first stone." No criminal should be in a position to enforce a sentence.
posted by tamim at 9:51 PM on November 12, 2000

This topic comes up on Haughey’s site as:

Mentally retard Discuss.

I’m not dising anybody, I just thought it was funny. Never mind my snickering.

But this is a serious issue, please continue.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 9:56 PM on November 12, 2000

Thankyou Capt'n

Wasn't one of Clinton's last acts as governor of Arkansas to execute a mentally retarded man?
posted by lagado at 10:02 PM on November 12, 2000

nearly on-topic, i highly recommend Dancer in the Dark to anyone who hasn't had a chance to see it...while watching it you can feel how absurd capital punishment must seem to people in 'civilized' countries that have done away with it.

posted by th3ph17 at 10:18 PM on November 12, 2000

I feel the need to remind some folks that "an eye for an eye" was a plea for *mercy*; it replaced "he took out someone's eye... BURN him.
posted by baylink at 10:36 PM on November 12, 2000

This is an outrage. No justice will be prevailing here. Fuck Bush and fuck the death penalty.
posted by grank at 10:45 PM on November 12, 2000

> Wasn't one of Clinton's last acts as governor of Arkansas
> to execute a mentally retarded man?

Yes. Ricky Ray Rector.

This is all quite awful stuff... I hate the idea of this country allowing someone like that to slip through the cracks so as to harm other members of society. This points more towards issues of mental heath care and the department of social services in Texas, inability to manage heath risks such as this. This person should have been under the proper care and supervision in the first place

As I was reading the article I get the feeling that the prosecutor, in typical fashion, has more of a zeal for self-promotion and personal publicity than he does for justice.

More info here
posted by Dean_Paxton at 10:50 PM on November 12, 2000

Clinton defends that execution pretty forthrightly in the recent Amy Goodman interview.
posted by sudama at 10:52 PM on November 12, 2000

I believe killing is wrong, with one exception: suicide.

On the other hand, I have nothing against a 2,000 year jail sentence, which is as good as a death sentence.
posted by gleemax at 12:36 AM on November 13, 2000

Clinton defends that execution pretty forthrightly in the recent Amy Goodman interview.

Yes, I read the transcript of that interview. I thought Clinton came off looking like the bucket of slime that he really is.
posted by lagado at 2:05 AM on November 13, 2000

"When he was a child, family members and neighbors said, his mother burned him in a scalding bath, locked him in his room for long periods without food or water and forced him to eat his own feces and drink his own urine."
Let's kill his mother instead, is she still around?
But seriously now folks, if you honestly think it's ok to kill this guy there is something very wrong with you.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:10 AM on November 13, 2000

Outlawyr: Keep your stickman at home.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2000

There's one thing to be said for capital punishment - it guarantees that the perpetrator can never commit another murder. Even a life sentence can't make that guarantee. Whether that is sufficient justification or not is another issue.

The idea that someone who can't understand right or wrong could be deterred by such a penalty is patently ludicrous, though.
posted by kindall at 8:31 AM on November 13, 2000


I personally would like God to enforce his laws, just as he did with the people of Sodom and Gamorrah.

I read about something like this in a book by Jack Chalker. I can't remember the title, but I think the word 'devil' was in it somewhere.

Also, I am reminded of the old Star Trek episode which the planet of people running around in skimpy clothing. The kid falls into a flower bed (which was under a kind of keep of the grass law) and was sentenced to die. All their laws had death sentences.

My take on the whole issue is that capital punishment is state sanctioned revenge. Killing the person doesn't do anything else. The ifs and maybes of escape, etc. are just rationalizations. Death sentence is a permanent solution in an imperfect system.
posted by john at 10:59 AM on November 13, 2000

I think the thing that bothers us the most about this whole 'executing a mentally challenged person' issue is that somehow justice isn't being served.

How does executing this person make the world a better place? Sure, it ensures that this one person will never make the same mistake again. But are we doing anything to prevent things like this from happening again? No.

I was reading through the old thread mathowie posted back in August. Someone posted this there: "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." ... This rings so true.

Society and the system have failed both the rape/murder victim and the murderer himself. Had the system worked and ensure that he was properly taken care of by social care professionals, maybe we never would have had this problem and maybe we wouldn't be arguing about this now.

Ultimately, the more important issue here is "what can we do to change the system so this doesn't happen again?"... Because if we don't learn from our mistakes, we'll continue to make them.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 11:15 AM on November 13, 2000

Crackpipe: Stickman?
posted by Outlawyr at 11:47 AM on November 13, 2000

Oops. I meant strawman. Setting up someone to fail in an arguement before they begin. “If you disagree with me, then there is something wrong with you,” is a classic strawman fallacy. It limits your ability to accept opposing views.

The stickman you can bring to school as long as you promise to share.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 2:29 PM on November 13, 2000

...And I thought you were making an obscure reference to something else. That's my job I guess.
posted by john at 3:02 PM on November 13, 2000

Oh. I think you don't have the definition of strawman argument quite right. According to a strawman argument is:
"Strawman – to create a silly caricature of your opponent or opponent’s position in order to give them less credibility.
Common example: "These nerdy, geeky scientists with their pocket protectors and greasy hair say that an asteroid might hit the Earth at some time in the future. Hah! I think they've been reading too much science fiction or smoking something!"

Compare what I said above:
"if you honestly think it's ok to kill this guy there is something very wrong with you"

That's not a strawman argument, it's an opinion. I think that if you feel it is ok to kill a retarded man then there is something wrong with you. You are hard hearted and lack even the barest amount of compassion. This is not a silly caricature, it is a statement of opinion.
Actually, I would go further and say if you support the death penalty at all you are rather cold hearted and primitive, but that would merely lead to all manner of cold hearted primitive types attacking me. So let's stick with the first statement.
posted by Outlawyr at 8:04 PM on November 13, 2000

Does anyone know what a mental institution is like?

Personally i'd prefer death, over a mental institution anytime.

If he's lucky he'll be let out after a short stay to do what he did again, if he's unlucky he will live like he did under his mothers loving care.
posted by Zool at 8:16 PM on November 13, 2000

Just to add to that i've known people who have lost the plot by just working in a mental institution, let alone be a patient and there is no way they would put this man in jail.
posted by Zool at 8:22 PM on November 13, 2000

(HEY EVERYBODY! I’m ENTERING bizarro mode now, because nobody stood up for capital punishment except Zool! I’m not trolling here! Stop me if I start, I’ll shut my yap and apologize profusely. If you don’t want to engage in this, that’s perfectly fine, because I’m sure I’ll taper out before you. When I’m not BIZARRO matt I’m pro-rehabilitation.)

Outlawyr, I believe that’s a derviative definition. When I said strawman, I meant something more along the lines of this:

The author attacks an argument which is different from, and usually weaker than, the opposition's best argument.

Arguing against a position by creating a different, weaker, or irrelevant position and refuting that new position instead of the original. "There is no God," misrepresents, "There isn't sufficient evidence that God exists."

Regardless whether it’s your opinion “there is something wrong with you” is not the arguement at hand.

But, whatever. I just want you to take back what you said about my Grandma. You hinted she is “cold-hearted” and “primitive.” You said “there is something very wrong with [her].” Would you ever say that to my grandmother’s face?

I want you to take back what you just said about my Grandmother, who is a loving, compassionate woman and because she is so, she is an ardent supporter of the death penalty. She doesn’t care if it deters crime (smarter than two presidential candidates), she wants justice meted out. Killers who are dead can no longer kill. Why rehabiliate a man who beheaded and raped a child then, while waiting to be sentenced, insulted his victim’s father? That man doesn’t deserve his life because he took an innocent girl’s life.

In the case that started this topic, the arguement to save the life of a killer is that he doesn’t know what he did was wrong. There is no better reason than to sentence him to death. If he doesn’t even know what he did was wrong, if he can’t muster up an apology after killing a woman then his life behind bars would be a testament to a world without justice.

(End BIZARRO matt)

You all did catch how grotesquely biased that article was right? The victim of the crime got a little less than a paragraph, and the reporter didn’t talk to any of the surviving family. The perpetrator, on the other hand, received the bulk of the generally anti-death penalty, overtly Democratic, liberal NYT article. They talked to his family and his attorneys. The woman who was murdered was pretty much a footnote.

Also, DAs go for the death penalty whenever they can because it makes them look better. It’s a real resume padder. I suppose an impoverished, mentally retarded defendant isn’t going to mount a worthy defense so Hon went for the throat. Hope he can look himself in the mirror.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 9:49 PM on November 13, 2000

I assume you're being ironic by illustrating so well what a strawman argument looks like. Your grandmother?
posted by Outlawyr at 7:19 AM on November 14, 2000

Well, I thought I shifted away from the strawmom in the last two paragraphs.

And stop talking about my Grandma.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 8:38 AM on November 14, 2000

There is an excellent article arguing against the death penalty at Freezerbox
posted by jacobsee at 12:14 PM on November 14, 2000

A man who's spent the last 27 years in prison is to be released on bail, after a long campaign to clear him led to the case going to the Court of Appeal. When he was charged with the murder, he had the mental age of an 11-year-old. He was eligible for parole ten years ago, but refused to admit guilt.

He was convicted a month before I was born. In several US states, he would have been executed, and the case closed.
posted by holgate at 7:50 PM on November 14, 2000

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