Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
If it were not for injustice, men would not know justice.
It's about justice. They deserve justice. It cries out for justice.
It's the Criminal Justice System.
I don't know what any of that means, and I'm tired of hearing about it.
Dean Dankelson, President of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, writing in yesterday's Kansas City Star, described a brutal double murder.
On Oct. 23, 2000, Richard Strong, a 6-foot-3-inch-tall, 276-pound man, stabbed Eva Washington and her 2-year-old daughter, Zandrea, to death with a 12-inch chef’s knife.
They were stabbed a total of 30 times with such force that the tip of the blade was embedded in Eva’s skull.
Eva suffered 21 stab wounds to her face, head, neck, chest, arms, back and abdomen. Several ribs were severed, and her jugular vein had been shredded.
Simply put, she had been annihilated.
Zandrea was 3 feet tall and weighed 28 pounds. She suffered nine stab wounds to the neck, back, chest and abdomen. Several ribs were severed.
She suffered severe damage to her internal organs, and she was nearly decapitated.
Based upon the blood spray pattern, she was alive, though perhaps unconscious, at the time this wound was inflicted.
Zandrea was also annihilated.
Opposing the death penalty for Richard Strong because it's about revenge, Dankelson goes on to say,
is an insult to Eva and Zandrea.
That's because the death penalty isn't about revenge. And it's important regardless of cost or deterrence.
The death penalty is an extraordinary punishment that is sought and imposed only against the worst of the worst criminals.
Simply put, the death penalty is about justice. The criminal justice system has built-in safeguards against sentences of revenge.
As I said before, I don't know what that means.
Oh, Dankelson explains that the death penalty can't be about revenge because everybody involved in making the decision to seek, impose, or affirm a death sentence is altogether free of bias. That's absolute nonsense, of course. First, prosecutors, jurors, judges, and god knows the witnesses who urge killing are none of them free of bias.
Perhaps none knew personally the victim of the underlying criminal act. Perhaps none has a direct financial stake in the outcome. Perhaps none will ever write a book or seek preferment or run (again?) for office. Perhaps none cares about how his friends, her neighbors, the kids' schoolmates and their parents feel about the story that's been all over television and the newspapers and discussed in the beauty parlor and the coffee shop.
From Amos, we have a different view, something not from god, and much harder to pin down.
But let justice well up as waters,
And Righteousness as a mighty stream.
It's grand enough, certainly. But you can't just declare it and have it be. Mark Twain knew.
The rain is famous for falling on the just and unjust alike.
Which is why, when you get down to it, I don't deal in justice (or Justice). There's something noble there in those words from Amos. But there's no content.
Emily Dickinson said that hope is the thing with feathers. Woody Allen put her straight.
How wrong Emily Dickinson was! Hope is not "the thing with feathers". The thing with feathers has turned to be my nephew. I must take him to a specialist in Zurich.