Death Penalty

Tom Lehman TLEHMAN at
Sun Mar 7 08:39:03 PST 1999

Dear Jim,

How many people in your world are there who could best be described as being Gabby Hays' type characters? You know the type, they got opinions on everything and those opinions often change in mid-sentence. Describing Gabby characters as being loquacious would be an under-statement. Put 'em on TV and it's hard to tell what they can be coached to say, "God bless America and hang 'em high". Also, I wonder how many Gabbies there are in Texas prisons today, for making a "little" mistake with a substance and or a gun?

Jim, for the New Yorkers on the list, it's been a long and steep descent from John Garfield to Howard Stern. So I wouldn't feel too bad about a couple of shady characters like the Bush brothers.

In Ohio newly elected Governor Bob Taft recently executed a homicidal handyman; this was the first execution in Ohio since 1963. I think it was sort of like keeping up with the Bushes for Taft. The Bushes and Taft belong to the same church too.

Our failed Democratic candidate for Governor, Lee Fisher tried to go to the right of Taft on the law and order stuff a la John Claude van Damm, without any success.

I wonder how many people on this list have read all three volumes of Victor Hugo's Les Miserable?

Your email pal,

Tom L.

J Cullen wrote:

> Like Harry Blackmun, I believe we should not tinker with the machinery of
> death -- we should have nothing to do with it.
> I was opposed to the death penalty until I was shook up by the murder of a
> friend of a friend shortly after I got out of college. But after a time as
> a newspaper reporter covering courts in Louisiana and East Texas I realized
> there was no way a black man accused of murder was going to be treated the
> same as a white man accused of the same sort of murder. For that matter, a
> poor white man would not be treated as "fairly" as a wealthy white man (or
> his kids). And considering how the odds are stacked against a condemned
> prisoner after his conviction, particularly in Texas, the fact that the
> state of Texas has been forced to admit that more than a half-dozen men
> sent to death row were innocent should be enough for us to suspend the
> death penalty if for no other reason than to make sure that an innocent
> accused would not be put to death due to a judicial error. But then comes a
> serial killer like Kenneth McDuff, who snatches young women off the street,
> rapes and kills them, or a racist like William King who's proud of dragging
> a black man to death behind his pickup truck. They make a pretty persuasive
> case for putting 'em down ...
> I think we're fooling ourselves if we don't admit there is a popular demand
> for revenge and retribution. But recent polls have shown that even
> bloodthirsty Texans might support suspension of the death penalty if there
> were a provision for life without parole in state prisons. (Life in Texas
> prisons means 40 years, and a convict can get parole after serving
> one-third of that. In fact, one of the reasons Kenneth McDuff was paroled
> to kill again was to make room for all those drug offenders that were
> filling up the prisons. But I digress...) Prosecutors in Texas oppose
> attempts to legislate life without parole because they think juries would
> stop sending people to death row if they had that option.
> If we did away with capital punishment, we still would see black, Latino
> and poor white murderers sent away for life while the sons of bankers would
> get probation for voluntary manslaughter, but that's another thread.
> Lastly, I think executions should be televised. If the state is taking
> lives, then the people have the right, if not the obligation, to observe
> it. The first few televised executions would attract high ratings, but
> unfortunately when they became routine the networks would start pressuring
> the legislatures and Congress to bring back drawing and quartering to get
> the numbers back up.
> -- Jim Cullen
> Tom L wrote:
> >
> >On the death penalty. I don't believe in it; never have never will. Also,
> >it's a subject like abortion that I don't take peoples "opinions" on too
> >seriously. I mean everybodies against abortion until their "kid" has to have
> >one---then all bets are off. The same way with Law&Order everybodies for it
> >until their relative, friend or pal is in serious trouble---then again, all
> >bets are off.
> >
> >Your email pal,
> >
> >Tom L.
> >
> >

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