Let's assume he did it.
Here's the background. Robert Gleason, Jr. is serving a life sentence for murder. While in prison he killed his cellmate, Harvey Watson. The Commonwealth of Virginia charged him with capital murder. His lawyers worked out a plea deal so he fired them and entered a guilty plea. He insists that he be put to death. He threatened to kill again unless he was sentenced to die. (You can read more about it, including my take on the story here.)
While the judge considers that, Gleason is sitting in the Red Onion State Prison, Virginia's supermax. And now, it seems, he's done it again. This time it was Aaron Alexander Cooper, another inmate at Red Onion.
Dena Potter, writing for AP gives some details.
Cooper died Wednesday in the recreation yard for inmates housed in segregation at the maximum security Red Onion State Prison in southwestern Virginia. Elkins is awaiting a report from the medical examiner on Monday, but he said authorities believe Cooper was strangled.
Authorities are trying to figure out how it could have happened, because each inmate is placed in a separate, small caged-in area for recreation. Elkins said authorities believe Cooper was strangled with a piece of clothing, towel or bed sheet that was somehow reached through the chain link fence that separates the inmates on the recreation yard.
Let's think about that. Gleason is in his exercise cage. With guards watching (or supposed to be watching), he managed to slip the bedsheet he had with him (Huh? He had a sheet?) or maybe it was a towel, through the cage slits and got it around Cooper's neck and strangled him. While the guards just watched. Maybe he turned himself (and his sheet/towel) invisible? Maybe he dematerialized from his cage and rematerialized in Cooper's? ("But Captain, the transporter's been acting up again?" "I'll take my chances. Beam me over, Scotty.") Maybe the guards unlocked the cages so Gleason and Cooper could be together.
I don't know.
Still, let's assume he did it.
What do we do now.
The man wants to die. He doesn't want to commit suicide. He wants to be killed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. He insists that if they don't kill him, he'll keep killing. He's apparently serious about the threat and Virginia is too incompetent to stop him.
So the issue is posed:
We do what he wants, or he keeps killing until we do?
Isn't that the essence of terrorism? And don't we have a rule that says you don't give terrorists what they want because it just encourages more? And anyway, why should we give him the satisfaction? He wants to die. We want to punish him. Shouldn't that mean keeping him alive?
So there's the choice: Killing him might save lives. Killing him means the terrorists win.
I've got it.
Run the damn prison competently.