We the people of the United States in order to form a safer and more perfect union are no longer burdened with the keeping of a murderer. Karla Tucker was the center of much attention as the first woman to be put to death in Texas since the Civil War. Much was made of her subsequent conversion to Christianity and the "goodness" in her heart.
Little was made of her choice to leave a pickax through the heart of her victim. Few likely remember the twelve citizens who were faced with making the decision about Karla's fate. No contrast has been made between those twelve and the twelve who, in choosing not to make a decision, spared the life of Terry Nichols.
The devil, as they say, is in the details. Tucker was a cold blooded murderer. Was she beyond reform? People will argue this for years. Should George W. Bush have spared her life? Should any single man be given this power or responsibility?
Every couple of years as November rolls around we are inundated with cries about candidates who are "soft on crime." To date no candidate has run based on their having administered the lethal drug mixture to a condemned prisoner. Plenty have been run about an opponent's being soft and releasing prisoners early.
Dead Men Walking was an excellent movie. Anyone who unequivocally says we need the death penalty should see it. The ending was too much for me. I haven't seen it and I won't.
April 19, 1995
Few events of this decade will touch us like what happened this day. It was on this day that Timothy McVeigh slaughtered 168 people. Given the qualms I have on the death penalty, this case gives me no reason to doubt it. I don't know how I'll feel on the day McVeigh meets his maker. I do know the relief and sense that things are just that I felt on the Summer day in 1997 when twelve men and women gave their verdict.
The system is so incredibly out of balance. Had McVeigh been drunk and killed 168 people on a street in New York he'd be eligible for parole many years before the end of his life. As long as a person's incapacitation comes from a bottle or syringe they are not held accountable.
If on the other hand we don't understand a person's incapacitation we are far less forgiving. Theodore Kaczynski killed and injured many people. Yet given what we know it is likely he was not sane at the time. His delusions came from a place we are not likely to understand but since it wasn't a bottle with a label saying "80 Proof" we don't get it.
So there are many problems. What are the answers? They are difficult. I won't loose sleep about Tucker meeting her maker or the fact that McVeigh will someday walk those steps from death row to the chamber. I won't say I don't feel more secure knowing Kaczynski is locked up for the remainder of his days. The answers are complex. I submit that anyone who suggests otherwise is not looking at all of the issue.
In Colorado the death penalty is no longer an issue for the jury to decide. Instead three Judges will pass sentence following the jury's verdict. Will this make juries less likely to find defendants guilty? Will it make the system more equal or just?
What do you think?
Kudos to Jay Marvin for his insightful coverage of this issue prior to Colorado's last execution.