Should We Return to the Old Days?
It’s clearly time to bring back firing squads.
If we’re going to keep carrying out the death penalty in this country and if we are going to continue to grandly insist that they are “humane executions” then only a return to a firing squad will insure a speedy and relatively pain free death for the condemned.
You might think I’m kidding but I’m not. I say, line up six to eight sharp shooters, employ the old practice of giving one of them a blank instead of a bullet and instruct them to aim for the prisoner’s heart. I guarantee the convict will be dead before they drop to the ground. [click to continue…]
Deputy Wyatt Earp circa mid 1800’s
Not since the days when Wyatt Earp worked the Wild West wearing a badge and a gun has there been such good news for law enforcement.
The number of federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers in the U.S. who died in the line of duty last year dropped to a total of 111. Think about that. In the whole United States of America we lost only 111 officers during 2013. That’s the lowest number since 1959.
The most encouraging news in the latest report from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) is seen in the death-by-gun category. At a time when there is so much worry about rampant gun deaths only 33 officers, nationwide, lost their lives in the line of duty due to a firearm fatality. The number would have been even lower had it not been for a former Los Angeles cop named Christopher Dorner who went on a shooting spree last February and killed four people, including three L.A. police officers. [click to continue…]
Death By Lethal Injection
When I saw the headlines my stomach lurched. The State of Georgia has issued an execution warrant for a retarded man? Oh, Good Grief, I thought, has America come to this? Despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling more than a decade ago banning the execution of retarded citizens Georgia was going to go ahead and send Warren Lee Hill, Jr. to the death chamber anyway?
Multiple news stories told me plans to execute Mr. Hill were moving forward because he couldn’t prove he was mentally retarded, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Why would the state of Georgia put that kind of caveat on retardation, I wondered. How could they possibly want to put to death a man who didn’t have the capacity to know right from wrong? [click to continue…]
Do We Really Know All the Facts Yet?
There are two sides to every story. So, why do the media sometimes run whole hogged with the most sensational version of events and why do we eat it up like candy?
It is time for some critical thinking about a widely reported crime story currently in the news.
More than a month ago a tragic incident occurred in a gated community in Sanford, Florida when a Neighborhood-Watch volunteer shot and killed a 17 year old young man. The teen was black, the man with the gun was mixed race Hispanic. The teen was walking back from the store, the adult was in his car going to the store.
When I read the first accounts of how young Trayvon Martin died I was outraged! Seemed as though a 28 year old, gun-toting man named George Zimmerman – a guy who had called 9-11 dozens of times over the last year – was one of those modern day gunslinger types who went around his neighborhood hunting for suspects to bully. Several news accounts called him a, “cop wanna-be” who likely targeted the hoodie-wearing teen because of his race. [click to continue…]
Army Staff Sgt Robert Bales
The drumbeat has already started and I want it to stop.
The moment the horrific news that a U.S. soldier had gone on a rouge killing spree in the far away province of Kandahar, Afghanistan – murdering 16 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children and then burning some of the bodies, America has been struggling to make sense of it. If the reports are true, what could have caused Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the married father of two, to commit such a heinous act of multiple murder?
In the days since we first heard the news I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read or heard the sentiment that somehow the culture or conditions within our U.S. military made him do it. Or that the military “taught him to kill.” Nonsense.
Look, war is hell and since America has now endured more than a decade of non-stop wars maybe it should come as no surprise that this has been the [click to continue…]
How Many Are There in America?
It was a small but horrifying item in the Los Angeles Times. “Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying what they call a ‘serious, dangerous serial killer operating in Orange County. Police believe one person is responsible for stabbing three middle-aged homeless men. He is (considered) extremely dangerous to the public.” Another serial killer, I thought. And then the question: How many serial killers are out there in America? John Douglas, a former Chief of the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit and author of “Mind Hunter” says, “A very conservative estimate is that there are between 35-50 active serial killers in the United States” at any given time. Often, Douglas told me, they will, “kill 2-3 victims and then have a “cooling-off” period between kills.” [click to continue…]
Health Care in Prison? It is Constitutionally protected
They are charged with breaking laws or victimizing fellow citizens. We respond by making sure they get a lawyer – often on the taxpayer’s dime. If they plead “not guilty” we stage expensive trials for them so they can provide evidence to a judge or jury. If convicted, they are imprisoned.
So, after all that do we have an obligation to provide prisoners with any and all medicines they might need to keep them healthy?
While so many Americans are struggling to meet health insurance and prescription costs – services for prisoners constantly increase. And make no mistake about it, America has so many incarcerated people we are spending boat-loads of money on convicts’ medical care. Their services cannot be cut. But health care programs for the general public have been cut back time and time again. [click to continue…]
Giffords, Five Months After Shooting
ow wonderful to see the recent photos of a smiling Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as she left the hospital five months after being viciously shot in the head by 21 year old Jared Loughner. Our hearts went out to Giffords and to the families of the 19 other victims, 6 of whom died.
But what about the family of Jared Loughner? Did you stop to think about them? The pain and suffering of Jared’s parents makes them victims too. And, in the end, if Jared is declared fit to stand trial, Arizona’s death penalty might be used to take away their only son.
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Dr. Kevorkian Helped Us Think About Death
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t remember holding my stricken mother’s hand as she laid on a special hospital bed we had set up in her living room. It was there she took her last breath. Almost every day I think about how my father died in the bedroom of the home he loved so much. Both my parents passed away exactly how they lived – on their own terms.
They wanted no heroic measures to prolong their lives and they adamantly told me – their only child – that they did not want to die in a cold, impersonal hospital room. They made me promise to abide by their wishes. And just in case, they signed a living will putting it all in writing.
I thank Dr. Jack Kevorkian for that. He started the national dialogue about death that opened up the topic for discussion in my household. [click to continue…]