State-Sanctioned Murder!

Clayton-LockettDoes anybody remember Clayton D. Lockett?  No, of course not.  Allow me to refresh your memory.  Mr. Lockett was brutally murdered by our own federal government on April 29,2014 in a botched execution.  Lockett was administered an untested mixture of drugs that had not previously been used for executions in the United States. Although the execution was stopped, Lockett died 43 minutes after being sedated. He writhed, groaned, convulsed, and spoke during the process and attempted to rise from the execution table fourteen minutes into the procedure, despite having been declared unconscious.

Does anybody remember Clemente Javier Aguirre?  Probably not.  In 2006, he was sentenced to death for the stabbing deaths of two neighbors, despite the fact that he maintained his innocence throughout. Last year, after spending 14 years on Florida’s death row, he was exonerated by DNA evidence that had been withheld at his trial, and a confession by the real killer.  What if Mr. Aguirre had been executed as initially planned?

It is not possible to undo death!

death-penaltyToday, the United States took a step backward toward the Dark Ages.  Today, Attorney General William Barr announced that the federal government, such as it is, will re-instate the death penalty and that five executions have already been scheduled to take place, with more to be announced soon.

Let me just give you a few facts:

  • Since 1972, 165 people have been exonerated that were on death row.
  • African American defendants are three times more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendants.
  • 88% of criminologists believe the death penalty is not a deterrent.

Troy-DavisTroy Anthony Davis was convicted of the shooting-death of off-duty police officer Mark McPhail.  He was executed in 2011. His conviction was based on the testimony of nine witnesses, seven of whom later recanted their testimony or admitted it was false.

Carlos-DeLunaCarlos DeLuna was executed in Texas in 1989 for the stabbing death of Wanda Lopez.  DeLuna maintained his innocence throughout his imprisonment and insisted another individual by the name of Carlos Hernandez was really the killer.

Gary-GrahamGary Graham was sentenced to death at the age of 18 in 1981 in Texas for the robbery and murder of Bobby Lambert.  He was executed in 2000. His conviction was based largely on the testimony of one witness who said she saw him through a windshield from over 30 feet away.

WillinghamCameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas in 2004 for the death of his three young daughters in a house fire.  Willingham’s conviction was based on faulty forensic science which erroneously concluded that the fire was arson.

I am, in case you couldn’t tell, incensed by this decision at this time.  I would likely be incensed by such a decision at any time, but under the present administration, and with the current divisive political climate in this nation, this is no time to be re-instituting state-sanctioned murder!  Does anybody trust our government not to start executing immigrants?  I don’t.  With Trump having appointed some 131 federal judges thus far, with Trump spouting racism on a daily basis, with the spate of killings of unarmed blacks in the past decade … does anybody believe there is equal justice for all in this nation?  I don’t.

The contingent, primarily white, evangelicals, who seek to take away a women’s right to make her own health decisions, who are so strongly opposed to abortion that they are willing to sentence a woman to death rather than allow her to have an abortion, call themselves “pro-life”.  Well, guess what, people?  If you claim to be pro-life, then you damn well better be enraged by this decision to re-start government-sponsored murder, for these people on death row are humans, are people, they have lives that you should care about.  I’m waiting …

executionThis nation has taken many steps backward since 20 January 2017.  This is just one more in a long series of inhumane decisions by Donald Trump and his minions.  This is no longer a nation I recognize nor that I take any pride in.  We are on a path that most of us did not choose.  Ask yourself, if you have the courage:  What next?

42 thoughts on “State-Sanctioned Murder!

  1. Tulsi Gabbard called out Kamala Harris during the 2nd debate for her horrible track record as prosecutor, for nearly sent an innocent man to death for political gain. Harris also approves using prisoners as cheap labor for the state. Sent over 1500 ppl to jail for marijuana possession. So many grievous offenses. Tulsi for President 2020!

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  2. I think you and the commentators have said it all already, Jill. The death sentence is barbaric and a huge step backwards. My argument is that even one innocent person found wrongly guilty and executed is sufficient reason to ban the death penalty.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Yes, my heart dropped through the floor when I saw that article. I don’t know the roots of the word Evil, but Republicans’ doings must meet the criterion. As far as I’m concerned, the entire (silent) Republican Party is despicable for allowing if not actively contributing to this travesty of democracy. And I think I can see horns atop Barr’s head.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m with you on all you say. As Martin Luther King famously said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” There is so much inhumanity today in our government, but also among the citizens of this nation … those who turn a blind eye to children kept in deplorable conditions on the southern border, to the destruction of the planet … and the list goes on. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How about executing witnesses who claim to have seen something when in fact they did not. Either they gave in to police pressure to convict an innocent person, or they chose to do so because of their own hatred/racism. Maybe they will think twice before they openly lie. Believing you are right is not the same as being right.
    And why stop with the witnesses, why not extend the same consequences to prosecutors who aggressively seek the death penalty, and to judges who condemn people to death. What all these people are doing is committing legal murder, but still murder. Juries, throw them in too. And cops who manufacture evidence.
    Am I going too far yet?
    I don’t really want to see anyone executed, for any reason. As Scottie implied, white man’s justice is about vengeance. Aboriginal justice is restorative. It is time for white people to lose their arrogance. Other people do know better ways.

    Liked by 6 people

    • You have not gone far enough RG, where is the justice for either party when there’s so much corruption from our own judicial system, law enforcement, and biased corporate media spin machine. It’s clear that our “law and order” is nothing more than a fictional tv show and the term “criminal justice” is a shameful oxymoron.

      Liked by 1 person

    • No, my friend, you aren’t going too far yet, for all you say is true, and more. I took a couple of courses a few years ago offered by The Innocence Project, and the reasons that innocent people are convicted are astounding. Witness tampering, jury tampering, evidence withheld … and much, much more. Like you, I don’t want to see anyone executed … but this re-instatement of the death penalty makes me want to execute Mr. Barr and the jerk-in-the-Oval with my own brand of justice. Sigh. But then, that makes me just like ‘them’, doesn’t it. This nation no longer has a single reason to call itself “great” … instead, it is a really bad joke.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. We would like to believe that we Americans have made great strides in social justice and equal rights. But, the 43% support base is proving us wrong. My representatives in Congress do not hear me, the POTUS does not serve me as he obliged himself to do with his oath of office. This describes an authoritarian government.

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  6. Hello Jill. The justice system in the US is about vengeance. The prisons are designed to be dehumanizing punishment warehouses for corporations to raid for nearly free slave labor. This is not about the victim, it is about making the “evil doer” suffer. As for the current administration I would remind everyone that tRump took out a full page advert on the five black boys accused, but innocent of attacking a jogger ( the central park five ) calling for their execution. On learning that DNA proved them innocent tRump said he still felt they should be executed. Not should have been sentenced to death, but still should be put to death. He wanted five young men unfairly imprisoned killed basically because they were black. So yes I can see this as another step in the slippery slop of fascism the US is taking to be like Germany in the 1930’s. Hugs

    Liked by 7 people

  7. We, as human beings, need to learn more about compassion and forgiveness and how to support others in finding their way to peace. Taking someone else’s life, no matter what they have done, will never take you there.

    Liked by 3 people

    • No, I hadn’t heard of that one, but on your recommendation I checked it out on Wikipedia and then watched the trailer on Amazon. Looks excellent, and I added it to my watchlist … hopefully I can get to it this weekend. Thanks!

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