Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's all about victims' rights, except when it's not

One of the justifications supporters of state-sponsored murder lean on is the victims' need for "finality" and "closure." These notions are, of course, only applicable to TV, the movie theater and that book on your nightstand.

In reality, there is no such thing as closure when talking about the loss of a loved one. No matter how many times the state sticks a needle in a vein and pumps a person full of drugs, no one's rising from the grave.

The threat of being strapped down and killed isn't going to stop folks from killing, either. Mix alcohol, drugs, money and women together and there's going to be an argument. And some of those arguments are going to turn into murders.

But I digress...

As Jeff Gamso so eloquently documents, not every victim of violent crime is after blood. Rais Bhuiyan was shot in the face during an attempted robbery by Mark Stroman. Mr. Stroman had killed two other men in his "mission" to avenge 9/11. Mr. Bhuiyan, however, survived the attack.

As we get closer to Mr. Stroman's appointment with Texas' murder apparatus, Mr. Bhuiyan has undertaken the task of trying to save Mr. Stroman's life.

Not because he thinks Mr. Stroman is innocent. But because he wants to understand why Mr. Stroman did what he did. He wants to sit down with Mr. Stroman. He and the spouses of the other victims of Mr. Stroman's acts want the state to spare Mr. Stroman's life.

They have come to grips with their losses. They understand that their loved ones aren't coming back. Mr. Bhuiyan understands that he can't go back to 2001 and pretend that night never happened. They don't see what is to be gained by murdering another man.

Gov. Perry likes to pontificate about "victims' rights" when he touts his ability to pump lethal doses of drugs into the veins of prisoners. Prosecutors use it as a crutch in plea negotiations. But who listens when the victims of crime ask that a life be spared?

Mr. Perry is trying to emulate his old boss and ride the Lethal Injection Express all the way to the White House. He doesn't give a damn about what the victims want. He knows that killing people is the way to the hearts and minds of his evangelical Christian followers and their fellow travelers, the Tea-baggers.

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