HUNTSVILLE, Texas —Texas marked a solemn moment in criminal justice Wednesday evening, executing its 500th inmate since it resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982.I distinctly remember being in San Antonio when Carla Faye Tucker was executed. It was pretty shocking for this Massachusetts boy to hear people openly praising the state for putting her to death - although after reading up on the events leading to her sentencing and the crime she'd committed, I can't say I blame them. Texas doesn't mess around when it comes to executing dangerous criminals - it accounts for nearly a half of the state-run executions in the United States.
Kimberly McCarthy, who was put to death for the murder of her 71-year-old neighbor, was also the first woman executed in the U.S. in nearly three years.
Some folks opposed the death penalty because they oppose giving the state that much power. I can't really argue with that. The state has proven, time and time again, that it could f**k up a wet dream; yet we want to give the state the ultimate power, the power to take life? Yet, on the other hand, this idiotic state that we don't trust to execute criminals has cops armed with machine guns and armored vehicles and we don't bat an eye (well, *we* do, of course; but the starry-eyed bleeding hearts certainly don't seem to care).
There are cases where there is no question of guilt. Here in Massachusetts many years ago, State Trooper Mark Charbonnier stopped a convicted felon who opened fire as the officer walked up to his van. Officer Charbonnier was hit under his vest, and managed to wound the scumbag seriously enough that he couldn't leave the scene. Officer Charbonnier called in that he'd been shot, gave a description of the scumbag and the scumbag's vehicle, and identified the scumbag to the officers that responded.
The scumbag had the murder weapon in his hand - and a bullet from Charonnier's gun lodged in his head.
You tell me what doubt there is. Tell me. Tell me the state might have had the wrong guy. That episode was one of the big reasons I didn't follow my father and grandfather's footsteps into law enforcement - because I honestly don't know how they maintained the professionalism not to empty their service weapons into that cowardly bastard. My hat is firmly off to the officers who responded to that scene for showing nothing but calm efficiency and emotional detachment in the apprehension of that scumbag. At the time, I couldn't honestly answer "yes" to the question of whether I could do the same.
Here's another reason for the death penalty. "Father" John Geoghan, one of the pivotal figures in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, was beaten to death in prison. The man who killed him? He was a lifer. You tell me what possible motivation someone in prison has not to walk the straight and narrow absent the death penalty. What are they going to do? It's cruel and inhumane punishment to throw him in a hole, or beat him, or anything of that nature. There's simply no incentive not to be the most insane, violent animal in the place - unless the state can dangle the needled in front of you.
Some people just need killin' - and Texas is killin' a lot of 'em...
That is all.
Another dispatch from...
(image courtesy of Robb Allen)