Thursday, September 09, 2010


It looks like the state of Washington is going to execute somebody for the first time since 2001. I was already bummed we have the most regressive tax structure in the nation, but now I feel even sadder about my Evergreen home.

I’m not disputing that the guy, Cal Colburn Brown is a bad dude; he raped, tortured, and murdered a 22 year-old girl; if anyone deserves to die at the hands of government, Brown certainly qualifies. But it’s that “if” and those two subsequent considerations, which have me troubled.

First, I’m not convinced that even as sick a fuck as this guy “deserves” to be put to death. The right to life is supposed to be inalienable, blah-blah-blah, but seriously, can I really forfeit a right that can’t be taken away from me?

Plus, everybody knows that capital punishment is applied too randomly—Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer of more than 50 women gets life imprisonment; (hell, George W. Bush, who ordered the mass murder of thousands of Iraqis goes scott free!)—while Mr. Brown, with but one murder (albeit a horrible one) gets lethal injection.

Moreover, there’s solid evidence that the guy is mentally ill, and unless you’re George mercifully shooting poor retarded Lennie in Of Mice and Men, we generally try to avoid killing those not fully responsible for their actions.

Most problematic of all, though, is that it’s the government doing the killing here. I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about state-sponsored executions that sort of bugs me. Just a little too much Stalin, Hitler, or Pol Pot for my taste. I kind of prefer my elected authorities to be more in the business of roads, or schools, or environmental protections and such than in putting people to death. You don’t want them to get an appetite for it, you know?

It’s still possible Brown might get a reprieve; about as likely we’ll finally get a state income tax.


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