Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Paying Attention

11:54, and he's dead.
Actually, he was pronounced dead at 10:25.  In case the details matter.
Seemingly, they do.
Down at Lucasville, while the soon-to-be-murdered waits in his holding cell, a series of guards keep a minute-by-minute logbook of what he's doing.  Here's a randomly chosen page from one to give you the idea.
12:54.  He's still dead.
He'll be dead at 1:54 and 2:54, though I'll have posted this well before then.
And he'll still be dead tomorrow and next week and next year.
They kept a meticulous time line for Clarence Carter, too.  That's what they do.
Want some details? He took a shower this morning.  He declined breakfast.  He at some dates last night. He shaved his head.
Had they paid similar attention in the Hamilton County Jail, Johnny Allen would never have been killed.  Instead, the guards ignored or just didn't notice a 25 minute fight between Allen and Clarence Carter.
Allen lost, died from the beating he suffered.  And now we've killed Carter.
No, what the guards didn't do at the Hamilton County Jail isn't equivalent to what Carter did.  But it should still matter to us.  And it should have mattered to any fair evaluation of what we were going to do to Carter.
It didn't.
And so we killed him this morning.
After watching, meticulously.
Yesterday's press reports indicated that no members of Allen's family were planning to watch the killing.  Today, it's reported, his mother gave what may be part of the answer.
But the victim's mother, Helen L. Bonner, said in a statement, "I have no animosity against him and I have forgiven him for taking my child from me...I am glad that justice is finally served, but my forgiveness toward him will never ease the pain of the loss of my son Johnny."
No animosity.  Forgiveness.
Ah, but justice.
Meticulously measured.  Carefully watched.
Now, when it's too late.
Clarence Carter.  Pronounced dead at 10:25 this morning at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.
Under the careful eye of prison guards.  Indeed, at their hands. 
* * * * *
By the way, no state has, so far this year, executed as many people as has Ohio.
We're No. 1!  We're No. 1!
And we're keeping track.

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