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April 12, 2008

I Say Friday Is Frying Day

By: Bernard Chazelle

Newsweek tells us why Americans are the reasonable sort: they love their dead bodies but just not too many, OK? Goldilocks explains:

[Americans] want the option of capital punishment, but seemingly wish to exercise it only a few dozen times per year.

Perfect! 52 times is the right number: 53? What? Saudi Arabia? 51 is how we spell "soft on crime."

So designate Friday to be Execution Day. As long as there are 52 people or more on death row, we're all set. If not, ask for volunteers.

Posted at April 12, 2008 08:35 PM

There was a study, reported on in The Nation, mebbe a dozen years ago, in which Murkins reported by about a 5-4 majority that they were okay with capital punishment even if they knew, without a doubt, that occasionally an innocent person was executed. This is a very sick citizenry, friends.

Posted by: konopelli/wgg at April 12, 2008 10:54 PM

If not, ask for volunteers.

alternatively, Cf., Jackson, Shirley (1948), The Lottery.

Posted by: konopelli/wgg at April 12, 2008 10:58 PM

Newsweek fails to mention that Bill Clinton greatly expanded the death penalty, in fact created about 60 new death penalty offenses. Nor did it mention Clinton’s rushing to watch a retarded man being executed by lethal injection which I believe took several hours as they had a difficult time finding a vein because of his obesity. Prior to the execution the man had tried to commit suicide shooting himself in the head effectively lobotomizing him.

I don’t believe that there is any empirical proof that capital punishment actually reduces the number of murders that occur. I believe that most murders are done in the heat of the moment rather than being premeditated though that could be wrong. I read a half-baked study done by some quacks for the Wall Street Journal which claimed to prove that capital punishment was effective but found it unconvincing, hardly scientific. I saw another study that actually showed how murder rates had little to do with the rates of capital punishment which was more convincing than the article in the Journal which seemed to leave many factors out. In many ways the U.S. is still in the Young Wild West phase which is perhaps as good as any explanation for the support of capital punishment, and many, many other things as well.

I note how the Newsweek article maintains that the Supreme Court likes to adhere to the Constitution but considering the use of torture by the U.S. and the illegal incarceration of people under the Bush administration I find that to be a rather odd statement but then again that is the kind of crappy reporting I have come to expect from our MSM.

Posted by: Rob Payne at April 12, 2008 11:51 PM

That story about Clinton didn't sound credible, so I checked. There is a grain of truth in it; search "Ricky Ray Rector" if you care to.
On the study: Compassion is difficult sometimes even person-to-person, and it is easy to answer "kill 'em all" to some question in a poll.

Posted by: Monkay at April 13, 2008 02:25 AM

Killing people is manly. Knowing people are still sizzling in the chair helps me, as an American, ejaculate.

Executions of the not-guilty? Well, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. The Omelette of Justice requires steady killing.

As individualists, we maintain the state should have as much power over human life as it needs for us to continue to have individual liberties. I wonder if Australia has similar discussions.

Prior to the execution the man had tried to commit suicide shooting himself in the head effectively lobotomizing him.

At least he didn't suffer much?

Mencken's take: "Hanging one scoundrel, it appears, does not deter the next. Well, what of it? The first one is at least disposed of."

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at April 13, 2008 03:33 AM

I vaguely remember Ricky Ray Rector was so unaware of his pending death that after his last supper he asked the guards to hold his dessert for him, saying he'd eat it later, after his execution.

I find myself frequently, as a death penalty opponent, wondering if the Bush cabal deserves the hang man's noose or the firing squad. But I do not think any of them deserve the "more humane" toxic chemicals.

And honestly, I envy the French their guillotine.

Posted by: Dee Loralei at April 13, 2008 04:13 AM

I suggest there is more than a grain of truth to it, it is a fact. You check it out. I wrote about it some time ago, November of last year, here is the link if you are interested.

Or to save you time I am pasting a quote from Wikipedia that I used in my post that I wrote last November about hero Bill. The last line of the quote reminds me of people who support the sainted Democrats no matter what and with similar results.

In 1981, Rector decided to rob a convenience store. During a stand-off, he shot and killed a civilian, and Officer Martin. Rector shot himself in the head, but did not die. Later, partly as a result of what essentially amounted to self-lobotomy, his I.Q. would be measured at around 70.

By 1992 Bill Clinton was insisting that Democrats "should no longer feel guilty about protecting the innocent" and took a position strongly supporting capital punishment. To make his point, he flew home to Arkansas mid-campaign to watch the execution of Rector. Some considered it a turning point in that race, hardening a soft public image. [Citation needed] Others tend to cite the execution as an example of what they perceive to be Clinton's opportunism, directly influenced by Michael Dukakis and his response to CNN's Bernard Shaw when asked during a campaign debate on October 13, 1988 if he would be supportive of the death penalty were his wife to be raped and murdered.

The courts decided Rector was mentally competent to be put to death by lethal injection. Rector's prison guards called him "the Chickman" because he thought the guards were throwing alligators and chickens into his cell. He would grip the bars and jump up and down like an ape. On the night of his execution, Rector saved the slice of pecan pie to be eaten before bedtime, not realizing his death would come first. He also told his attorney that he would like to vote for Clinton in the fall.

Posted by: Rob Payne at April 13, 2008 04:43 AM

There was a study, reported on in The Nation, mebbe a dozen years ago, in which Murkins reported by about a 5-4 majority that they were okay with capital punishment even if they knew, without a doubt, that occasionally an innocent person was executed. This is a very sick citizenry, friends.

I wonder, if all of them were actually guilty, wouldn't that make said-citizenry equally sick ?

Can you make the choice to take someone's life and say "It's a good choice, it's for the best", without sounding sick ?

I thought murder was wrong. Why do we use it then ?

There is a good quote from Nietzsche that talks about how the ways of Justice undercuts Justice itself[this is a translation from French to English], taken from his book On the genealogy of morals:

Let us not forget how much the spectacle of judicial proceedings keeps the evil doer from seeing what is condemnable in his actions: for he sees that we commit exactly the same actions in the name of justice and that we approve of them then, that we commit them with a good conscience; spying, lying, corrupting, setting traps, all the capturing and crafty art of policemen and accusers, which actions are then justified, which actions don't even have the excuse of passion, and which actions are used in all types of punishment, to steal, to hurt, to dishonor, to incarcerate, to torture, to put to death,- all these things are not rejected and condemned by judges, except in certain cases and uses. "Bad conscience", the most worrying and interesting plant among our earthly vegetation, did not grow on this land, -actually, during most of history, there was never anything in the conscience of those who judged and punished to indicate they were dealing with a "guilty" man. We were dealing with a damage maker, with an irresponsible parcel of fate. And that very man on whom, later on, punishment stormed like on another parcel of fate, did not feel an "inner pain" any different than that which is provoked by something sudden and unpredictable, a terrifying natural disaster, a rock-block that falls and crushes you, and against which there is no possibility to struggle.

Posted by: littlehorn at April 13, 2008 07:39 AM

Besides Jackson's revelation of a despicable form of social conformity, Steve Allen's A Public Hating is precisely the kind of barbaric justice called forth.

Posted by: Woodyeofalb at April 13, 2008 09:16 AM

Omelette of Justice. Oh, that's pretty good.

Friday seems like a reasonable day; I can think of a few reasons:

1. Document dumps occur on Fridays for a reason.

2. A late night/evening execution on Friday might allow even less examination of the political doc dumps, so that's useful too.

Politically (and socially), I think you've hit on the day that Americans are most receptive to; we're sleeping in late the next day. I mean, I'd rather get indignant on my employer's time, not on the two days I have allocated to "me" time.

Posted by: angryman@24:10 at April 13, 2008 10:45 AM

[Rector] also told his attorney that he would like to vote for Clinton in the fall.

Interesting how many people would still vote for Clinton, even without the preliminary step of self-lobotomy by handgun.

Posted by: SteveB at April 13, 2008 01:22 PM

You read Newsweek?

Posted by: jm at April 13, 2008 01:52 PM