State sanctioned murder?

After a very high profile campaign to get him off death row, Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams was finally executed today.

It’s a sad day for the workings of the US justice system, that within a system that allows the death penalty, the idea of someone reforming whilst on death row is impossible. It’s pretty stark in its contrasts to execute a man recently nominated for the nobel peace prize…

But, the best comment on this came from Hugo Schwyzer who comments to the effect that the problem here is not that he was reformed, but that the death penalty exists at all. The problem with the death penalty is not that someone innocent might get killed, it’s in the process of killing someone full stop.

As he comments:
“One of the few things I’ve been consistent on throughout my life is my opposition to the death penalty. That opposition is not rooted in a fear that the innocent may be executed; it isn’t rooted in an ignorance as to the horror of the crimes invariably involved. It is rooted in the conviction that everyone who participates in an execution is invariably brutalized, even if they aren’t entirely aware of it at the time. The guards, the wardens, the witnesses, and the citizens of the state in whose name the execution is carried out are all a bit darker, a bit less human, as a result.”

Can’t put it any clearer than that.

A sad day, as it every day when someone is put to death in a so-called civilized country.

Soundtrack Iona, ‘Beyond These Shores’ (one of my all-time faves, but one I’d neglected of late. But not any more – it’s unbelieveable, I’m reliving the magic of the first time I heard it all over again. A truly remarkable album.)

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