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It's only 7:02 a.m. so no high yet. Of course, this means I didn't sleep late. (See below.)


I didn't go to sleep last night.


Shawn Mullins:


Nothing yet.


A nap.


June 13: First day at the new job and growing up.

wednesday, june 13th

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Quote Du Jour:
"Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once." (William Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar")

Paul Ruiz.

Earl Van Denton.

I doubt you know those boys. At least, I hope you don't. Not personally, anyway. Of course, with all of this Tim McVeigh execution business in the air, there is the chance that you know who they were and how they died.

Ruiz and Van Denton were two of three men executed by the state of Arkansas on Jan. 8, 1997. In the year of my birth (1977), they were jail escapees on the run. I'm not certain of the exact number of folks they killed after escaping from prison. However, I do know that among the dead were a park ranger and a town marshal. Obviously, these boys had no respect for the law.

At the time, I was a twinkle in my mother's eye and my dad was a police officer in a small southern town. He says that he crossed paths with Ruiz and Van Denton but by the time he figured out who they were, there were gone. I've got no good reason to doubt my old man and plenty of reasons to be thankful he didn't identify the duo. His name could have been listed among the victims... and I could have been left without a father.

The point of all this is that I'm glad those two fellas are dead. They were evil sons of bitches. Of course, with that said, I'm no longer sure if I fully support a government killing its citizens -- regardless of the crimes they commit.

Why do I think this? Well, it could be that I don't think the death penalty is really a deterrent because we've still got plenty of folks set on killing one another. It could be that I don't think its saving anyone any money because death penalty appeals are expensive. It could be that I don't think it's always the best way to punish someone because many of these guys want to die. What it probably is is my concern that there could be innocent people among the folks we're killing. And to me, one innocent person is one too many.

I was drifting around the web this morning when I found a paper about the death penalty written by a student in California. I'm not sure of his source, but the kid says that 23 innocent people were executed in the 20th Century. Sadly, the kid also seems to support this as sort of a price that has to be paid in the name of justice. I don't know about you, but I'm not willing to pay that sort of price. I might be willing to die so someone else could live, but I don't want to die just so the state can execute someone else. I bet the kid in California isn't willing to die for such a cause, either.

We're civilized folks in this country. At least, I like to think we are. If we weren't, we would have taken Tim McVeigh and strapped him to a Ryder truck and let him die as his victims did. If we weren't civilized, we wouldn't have given Paul Ruiz and Earl Van Denton 20 years to appeal their sentences. We could have taken them out back and done away with them as soon as they were condemned to die. But we didn't do these things... and in that same spirit, isn't it about time we start thinking about not putting people to death? Isn't it about time we become satisfied with locking up the evil folks for life and throwing away the key instead? Isn't it time we take our civilization to a new level? With every day that passes, the more I believe the answer to all three of those questions is, "yes."

copyright © 2001-02, Thomas Fletcher. all rights reserved.