Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Unmixed feelings.

There's something about this story that made me realize exactly how I feel about the death penalty.

STARKE, Fla. - Still defiant even as he was strapped to a gurney, a former minister who said he murdered an abortion doctor and his bodyguard to save the lives of unborn babies was executed Wednesday by injection. He was the first person put to death in the United States for anti-abortion violence.

Paul Hill, 49, was condemned for the July 29, 1994, shooting deaths of Dr. John Bayard Britton and his bodyguard, retired Air Force Lt. Col. James Herman Barrett, and the wounding of Barrett's wife outside the Ladies Center in Pensacola.

Personally, I feel Paul Hill was a murdering bastard, who deserves what he got and I hope he went to the hell he believed in when he died. The fact that he wants to control my body, and the bodies of my mother, sister, and firend, to the extent that he would kill for it fills me with rage.

But that shouldn't matter. Our personal anger and convictions shouldn't interfere with the delivery of justice. Otherwise, our court system would be nothing but mob rule and a court of popular opinion. Our justice system should be cool, rational, and impartial. Not flaming with the hatred of those who want revenge for the wrongs that have been comitted against them. We're supposed to be penalizing and reforming people, not seeking vengance upon them.

I told someone at work the other day that I was against the death penalty. The responded that I would "sure feel differently if someone killed someone I loved." Sure I would. If someone killed someone I loved I would probably want to tie them to a chair and go at them with a baseball bat.

But that's not what the criminal justice system of a civilized society should be based on.

On a side note, this story also lists several examples of white, christian terrorists. As part of my constant (boring, by now, I'm sure) quest to point out that not all terrorists are Ann Coulter's swarthy males, I quote:

The killings of Britton and Barrett happened during a time of increased violence at clinics nationwide.

Another abortion doctor had been killed in Pensacola in 1993 by Michael Griffin, who is serving a life sentence. Two receptionists were killed at Boston-area abortion clinics in 1994 by John Salvi, who committed suicide in prison two years later.

Earlier this year, James Kopp was convicted of killing an Buffalo, N.Y., abortion doctor in 1998, while fugitive Eric Rudolph was captured and charged with a 1998 bombing that killed an off-duty police officer at an Alabama abortion clinic.

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