The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Today the Mercury News published an editorial condemning the death penalty. I don't have a high opinion of the Merc, especially since Joanne Jacobs left. This muddled editorial is a good example why.

FOR brutally and methodically murdering three women on a Yosemite holiday, Cary Stayner deserved the maximum sentence. Instead, he got off with the death penalty.

For Carole Carrington, whose daughter and granddaughter were among Stayner's victims, the death sentence was a victory. Yet as she said: ``Lethal injection is easy compared to what he did to them.''

So, the Mercury News wants Stayner to be decapitated? Or tortured maybe?

Executing Stayner, as a San Jose jury ordered last week, won't bring back Carole or Juli Sund or Silvina Pelosso. It won't bring back Joie Armstrong, for whose murder Stayner already is serving a life sentence.

Thanks for clearing that up. If I ever read a death penalty advocate say "The death penalty is just because it makes victims rise from their graves," I'll send 'em your way.

Execution will merely spare him a lifetime in which to reflect on his crimes.

Mercury News penal theory: Aggravated murder should be punished by detention. Will there be a blackboard where Stayner can write "I will not murder" over and over?

His death will be an easy one, with none of the terror and physical pain he inflicted on others. After years of appeals, costing the state millions of dollars, he will be strapped to a table and peacefully lulled into endless sleep.

The Mercury News: Combining stoner dorm room philosophy with propaganda for euthenasia. That last sentence is the only coherent statement in the entire editorial, and it appears to have been cribbed from a 1940-ish Nazi policy statement on what to do with the retarded.

I don't really think the Merc is full of Nazis. Just idiots.

What's the point?

For maximum effect, this should have been translated into Latin.

The practice of executing murderers is an anachronism. It has been outlawed in most of the civilized world.

You can scratch your crotch and grunt about how death is too good for him, or you can simper that death penalty advocates are meanies. But please, not both.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled against executing mentally retarded murderers, reflecting a growing national discomfort with the death penalty.

A few paras up, y'all wanted to keep Stayner breathing so he could reflect on his crimes. The retarded aren't good at introspection and by Mercury News logic should be the only murderers who do get whacked.

Americans still cling to the notion that killing is good public policy. Why?

There are about 3,600 people on death row in this country. Most are minorities.

Stayner is white, so by Mercury News logic we need him on death row to keep Jackson and Sharpton happy.

Nearly all are men.

This is just fucking amazing. You work in a newsroom, with access to wire reports about what goes on in the world, and it's a revelation that men commit much more violent crimes than women. What next? "Hey Yost, you ever notice something funny about those wedding photos? The one in a suit is almost always male! And the one in the frilly white dress is overwhelmingly female!"

Nine out of 10 couldn't afford attorneys when they were tried.

And this is relevant to Stayner's case how? He has admitted his guilt.

More than half will have their sentences overturned.

Check with the obits department re: Bird, Rose. She's not on the bench anymore.

States with the death penalty have higher murder rates than those without, so its value as a deterrent is doubtful.

Ever see people in hospitals? They're like sick and stuff. Why would anyone go there? Their value as a cure is doubtful.

Executions cost states millions more than imprisoning a person for life. They focus media attention on people who are best forgotten.

First the Merc wants to put Stayner in detention. Next they will take his picture out of the yearbook. Oh, the humanity!

And there is always the chance that an innocent person will be executed, though fortunately the advent of DNA testing has reduced that risk.

This is relevant to Stayner's case how?

Executions give the public a sense of power. They fulfill our need for vengeance. ``He got what he deserved,'' we say, as if death were a fate reserved only for the murderer.

In fact, we all are under a death sentence. Yet only the death-row inmate has the luxury of knowing where, when and how that sentence will be carried out. Is that justice?

There's Heinrich Himmler-on-a-bong again. What next, federal funding for known day of death for all citizens?



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