Thursday, November 15, 2012

Update: Another one bites the dust

So Ramon Hernandez is dead.

The State of Texas killed him last night.

Mr. Hernandez was not a nice person. He did some very bad things.

But killing him doesn't erase his actions. It doesn't undo anything that he did.

It's getting to be a common refrain over here that jabbing a needle in Mr. Hernandez' arm and pumping a lethal dose of pentobarbital into his veins doesn't magically bring his victim back to life or fill the void in the lives of her family and friends.

There has got to be another way.

I have no doubt that one day - maybe sooner rather than later - state-sponsored murder will be a relic of the past. The death penalty is arbitrarily meted out. The District Attorney gets to decide who the state seeks to kill and who they merely want to lock away. Those decisions are made behind closed doors. There is no transparency. There is no consistency.

If you're black or Latino it's more likely that the state will seek to kill you. If your victim was white it's more likely that the state will seek to kill you. Those decisions, make no mistake about it, are all about race and ethnicity.

Maybe Gov. Rick Perry feels more manly tonight now that he's added another notch to his belt. Maybe he'll show up tomorrow wearing a flannel shirt and a pair of jeans.

As budgets have tightened, the number of cases that go to trial with the death penalty on the table is getting smaller. Death penalty cases are expensive. And those expenses drag our for years. In the end the death penalty may go away not because of the immorality of it - but because of the cost.

I'll take abolition any way it comes.

No comments: