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Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Ryan's Hopefull PR- I'm not sure if the gubernatorial nullification of George Ryan is quite as crass a PR move as Ben says it is, but it's close. Eileen's been troubled by it and asked the question yesterday "was that of God?" I don't think so. There are some religious people like Mark Shea who were applauding the Ryan decision. However, I wasn't sencing a spiritually-based rationale for Ryan's decision; it seemed much more a secular decision. I'm not sure whether it the death penalty hatred is earnestly held by Ryan or is a act of political convience so that if the corruption of his administration puts him in the slammer, the left can substitute their tattered "Free Mumia" T-shirts with a "Free Ryan" one. The committee to get his sentence communted by a future governor could even be called Ryan's Hope. I'm not a big fan of the death penalty, but the decades of review tend to weed out the cases that are wrongfully convicted. Most of the fight over the death penalty is whether it is racially skewed or whether to execute the mentally handicapped or teenagers (when the did the crime; they'll have their AARP card by the time they get executed), not whether a innocent person was mistakenly convicted. I'm not quite buying Shea's construction of "Is the death penalty so sacrosanct that it's better the innocent should perish than that the guilty not die?", for that assumes that the innocent are perishing. Yes, we've got a lot of false convictions that are overturned upon appeal, but I'm not aware of anyone executed in the US in the last quarter century that was later proven innocent; please present a case to refute that if it exists. I threw out that challange in July and had no takers. A decades worth of appeals makes it very hard for an innocent man to be executed. I share Shea's concern; it's one of my arguements against it. The other argument is that it takes two teams of lawyers a decade to make quaduple-sure that all avenues of appeals are checked and double checked; it's a lot cheaper just to lock them up and keep everyone's concience quiet and give the Euroweenies one less thing to she-dog about. However, once all those appeals and investigations are done, we usually have people who are cleary guilty heading for the chambers.

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