Impatiently the vultures are again circling above as the smell of death is upon us. In recent weeks that ever present reminder that we are here to die; to be virtually warehoused in the very bowels of a hell few would dare to imagine, continuously kept in solitary confinement under physically oppressive and mentally degrading conditions for not just months or years, but decade after decade until finally one at the time death claims its intended prey.
In the past few weeks the reality of my close proximity with death has especially been felt. As I’ve increasingly pointed out in many of my previously published articles (http://www.doinglifeondeathrow.com/ ) this cold shadow of death that can be only too often felt here in my world is no longer so much the fear of execution at the hands of the state, but a fate far worse than that meticulously sterilized termination of life they call an execution - the horrific fate of slowly growing old and wasting away for decade after decade in solitary confinement until you inevitably contract any of the many ailments that that become terminal and then wait the weeks or months, or even years until death claims you.
Last month it was Charles Globe who finally passed on after a long battle with AIDS and hepatitis C that evolved into the cancer that killed him. Last week it was Burley Gilliam, who had spent about 25 years on death row somehow staying strong enough to keep his hope alive – only to be taken down by “natural causes”. And as I write this last night it was William (“Billy Loco”) Elledge who had been on death row almost 33 years. His fight was with chronic asthma and in recent years he was repeatedly sent to the prison hospital for treatment, then returns a few days or weeks later. But not this time as his fight is now over. I can only hope they are all now in a better place.
This past week the United States Supreme Court also issued its long anticipated ruling on whether the use of lethal injection constituted “cruel and unusual punishment’ Not at all surprisingly the majority of the “conservative” justices had no problem concluding that it really doesn’t matter that states routinely screw up executions resulting in the inmate being tortured to death. In their opinion the United States Constitution simply doesn’t prohibit pain being part of an execution. In the past there were many other means of executing someone and all things considered lethal injection, despite its inherent problems is “humane” Its no secret that the cartel of five conservative Justices on the present Supreme Court (Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito) are rabidly pro death penalty. Each was specifically selected and placed on the Court to perpetuate a “conservative” agenda. So what if these demonic judicial activists are hypocrites? See these Justices will foam at the mouth when debating their agenda to promote the conservative “pro-life” platform. Abortions are evil as they allow the murder of innocent children and the must protect the sanctity of life – except when it comes to the death penalty.
Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy of this? How can someone claim to be “pro-life” and campaign on a “sanctity of Life” platform, but then say that the death penalty is necessary. Yes I know some may argue that unborn fetuses are “innocent” but what about the US Supreme Court’s decision that said that it is unconstitutional permissible to even execute the innocent? (Herrera v Collins, 506 US 390 1993)
The fact is that as long as the death penalty continues to be practices we as a society will have innocent blood on our hands: Supreme Court justices would argue that there is no proof any innocent men and women have been executed “in recent history” but these same Justices are creating judicially manufactured law that actually prohibits legitimate evidence of innocence to even be heard under the pretense of promoting a finality to appellate review.
With well over 125 men and women already exonerated and released from death rows across America after proving their innocence, can anyone really say that there are no more innocent men and women on death row? And if the courts continue to refuse to allow the wrongfully convicted and condemned to even have lawyers and investigators necessary to develop the evidence that will prove their innocence and then, even if developed, the court will refuse to allow the evidence to be heard. Doesn’t that bring us to the conclusion that innocent men and women most likely already have been and most certainly will continue to be executed.
The Supreme Court Justices recently said that vengeance (retribution) is a legitimate objective accomplished by America’s death penalty. But the problem with advocating a lynch-mob mentality is that the same passions that feed this need for vengeance too often blinds us to truth. As the one fundamental truth that ultimately remains is that when we as a society put to death even one innocent person then that is an act of murder - and we all become murderers.
That is for this week, but I once again ask each of you to please check out the website about my case http://www.southerninjustice.com/