THE DRESDEN FILES Reading Challenge

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Thursday, September 22, 2011


I used to be a very strong advocate of capitol punishment. Yup, you heard that right, gangers: Ms. Liberal here, was a strong advocate of “Kill ‘em all and let THEIR version of god sort ‘em out.” Two words changed that for me, a bit ago: Clarence Brandley. He was the black janitor that was wrongfully convicted of the rape/murder of a 16 year old high school student in Conroe, back in 1980. Incidentally, he was the ONLY African-American janitor in the high school. Suspicion immediately fell on two of the custodians, Brandley and Henry (Icky) Peace, who had found the body. During their joint interrogation — as Peace would recount — Texas Ranger Wesley Styles told them, “One of you is going to have to hang for this” and then, turning to Brandley, added, “Since you’re the “n(word)”, you’re elected.” Nope, not much racism in Texas in the 1980s, nope, no SIRREE! You can read more about Mr. Brandley here:

Now I’ve got another name to add to this tale of horror: Troy Davis. ( He was put to death yesterday after SCOTUS refused, unanimously, to issue a stay of execution.

Well, I can hear y’all saying, but he had a fair trial, didn’t he, and the law of the land was upheld and justice was served, wasn’t it?

Nope. Sorry, but no.

What this entire discourse eventually boils down to, and depends on, is your version of so-called “christian” covenants, and which covenant you follow in your life. The Old Covenant states quite clearly, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life.” The New Covenant states just as clearly, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Take a look at Matthew 19:18, where Jesus states, again, quite clearly, “Don’t commit murder.” Precisely, from the King James version, “He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

And there you have it. There are other places in the Bible – in the OLD TESTAMENT – where murder is exhorted against. Including, might I add, the 10 Commandments.

Murder is murder is MURDER, and murder is wrong. Death itself robs us of our loved ones, both human and animal. Death attends and woos us every day while we live. Death takes all – the brave, the cowardly, saints, sinners – ALL, and Death comes to us all whether we like it or not – and MOST of us DON’T, myself included. Murder is even worse. Murder de-humanizes both the victim and the perpetrator. Murder robs us of our loved ones before their allotted time is finished. Murder reminds us that there are, still, amoral and uncaring animals in our midst that are pretending to be as human as we are – and that they will always be with us. Murder is murder is MURDER – and we do not have the right to kill.

OK. So? What do we do with these animals? Well, they’re rabid dogs, and we kill rabid dogs, right? OF COURSE we do. THEY don’t know any better, and their sickness will kill, so we kill them first - quickly, quietly, humanely. Unfortunately, this is an argument that doesn’t translate to humankind. We are not animals, to destroy those among us that are sick. We must try to heal that sickness if we can – and if we can’t, then it’s up to us to be sure that this sickness doesn’t get out to infect the rest of us.

Capital punishment, dress it in whatever language that we will, is still an act of murder. It is the state – which includes, dear reader, you and I – rather than an individual doing the killing, but it is STILL murder. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life” is pretty plainly stated in the Bible, and that is what gives the state the moral sanction to COMMIT murder, no matter how quietly, and no matter how humanely. This is wrong. There is no difference between the acts of politically sanctioned murder, such as war, state sanctioned murder such as the death penalty, or individually performed murders committed by thugs.

Many, MANY people die that deserve to live, and if we cannot give back to them what was taken from them, then we have no right, no ethical mandate, and no moral reason to take life from anyone else regardless of what they might have done – or did do – to deserve it. I pity the McPhail family with my whole heart. They lost a beloved son, in the worst possible way. They’ve been waiting 20 years for this moment, and now they’ve gotten it. I pity the Davis family with my whole heart as well. They’ve been dreading this moment for the last 20 years, and now they too have lost a beloved son, in the worst possible way.

It’s time, and long PAST time, to be rid of the death penalty. It’s not a deterrent, except to the person who is murdered at the state’s will, and it basically solves nothing. IF we are to present ourselves to the rest of the civilized world as civilized, then we need to be rid of it. Governor Rick Perry was applauded at the first Republican Debate in the Reagan library because he’s signed 235 death warrants over the course of his tenure as governor of the state of Texas. To me, at least, that’s a shameful, tragic thing to be cheered.

We need to be rid of this shameful act of revenge. NOW.

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