09 February 2011

The Morning After

Early this morning, the State of Missouri killed a death row inmate. Martin Link was a convicted serial rapist and murderer. No one, not even he, thought he was an innocent person or should be trusted in our general population. He died as a result of 'lethal injection' which is the polite term used by legislatures for a deliberate overdose of poison.

Elsewhere you will find elegant arguments against capitol punishment and frankly I agree with them. But I am not feeling elegant today, nor philosophical. So I am going to restrict myself to questions.

Marty Link died yesterday. Do you feel safer? Do you feel vindicated? Does the society that spends millions of dollars and countless hours killing its citizens look more just to you today? Does this barbarism work? Does anyone anywhere really think a murder or rapist is going to stay his evil because Marty is dead?

Here in Illinois we have had the experience of convicting two innocent men and scheduling their judicial murders only to find out they did not kill anyone. Eventually another man was convicted. I have wondered as I watched the violent angry demand for the deaths of those two innocent men coming from the survivors of the victim, how they would have felt if the eventual correct verdict had come after executions?

I cannot tell you how the pain of loosing a daughter to a murderer feels. I have no daughters and no analogous loss. I can tell you that the survivor families have convinced me that the damage is horrible. Can you deny that the vindictive cry for vengeance is itself evil?

My younger son and I attended a wake this weekend. The sister of a dear friend was murdered. Her killer shot her, another woman and eventually himself. As though murder ever makes sense, this is the sort of killing that the news media refer to as, "senseless." The pain and loss in the room was overwhelming. The people knew the killer had died as the police moved in on him -- that did not help. Violence may solve many things but it resolves very little. The victims still are harmed or dead, the families and friends still suffer loss. Does killing an occasional perpetrator solve something?

Martin Link is dead this day. Do you feel just?



Your non-daughter said...


I feel safer because he is dead. At the same time, I don't feel right sentencing a man to death. This is one of those real tough issues. I wouldn't want Mr. Link free on the streets to repeat his crimes, but nor would I have him die because of them.

Leonard said...

Years ago there was a ¨serial killer¨ in Puerto Rico (where there is no death sentence available)-- this guy specialized in really gory murders of Gay men--no special kind of Gay man-- all types died--I knew a retired professor (who was married and then divorced because he was Gay and finally came out after the children were away from the nest), the man was really a fine fellow and he checked up on my condo when I was away (which was most of the time)-- anyway, he was one of the victims of the ¨angel of death¨ murderer in Puerto Rico and died a horrible death as others had before and after him--his captured, tried and sentenced killer must still be alive in prison in Puerto Rico as he was a younger man--like the recent ¨gay murder¨ of David Kato/Uganda and my very own beloved 12 years ago who was murdered, I long for justice, for safety, for the violence, the hatred and savage abuse to stop against LGBTI people (or anyone) everywhere, it´s not funny, it´s not ¨orthodox¨, it´s not Godly, it´s simply emotionally sick and unjust...I want the murderers off the streets and I don´t want anymore innocents, and they are mostly innocents, to die. I don´t want to have the State kill people (like the/a David Bahati/Ugandan MP proposed law before Parliament)--but I do have anger, I do have loathing of dangerous hate mongers and plain bigots and I don´t have forgiveness as the slandering of LGBTI people (or innocent others) goes on, and on, and on-- I have my own resentments and hatreds to deal with but I don´t wish anyone dead including common thugs at Church (only confined to serve out a lifetime of possible deep reflection with hopefull a couple of decades of serious regret).

JimB said...

You are no safer than you would be if he was serving life without parole. Given his crimes that would be a reasonable sentence. Shooting him full of poison did not make you safer.


JimB said...


All of us have anger and it is often justified. My young friend's sister did not deserve her fate and yes most victims are innocents. I loathe the killers too.

I do not want to become like them. I watched the Nicario family here howl for the blood of Roland Cruz, who never hurt their little girl. They were determined to kill someone for vengeance and soon Brian Dugan will in fact die.

It is not possible to carry much of a brief for Dugan, he is a cold blooded killer if ever there was one and quite willing to let Cruz and Hernandez die to cover his tracks. But, serving life without parole he could not hurt anymore women. He would not be famous and no one would care when he eventually died. As is he will get the candle light protesters, the last meal all the trappings of execution. Tell me where justice stands.


Anonymous said...

What about Sistah Souljah-"Two wrongs don't make a right but it sure as hell makes it even!"
For which she was praised at the time and continues to travel round the land as an "activist".
Personally? I think that the death penalty is too expensive in court costs, we have too much science now that shows when we put people in prison wrongly and eliminating the death penalty is a quick and easy way to shut critics of the US up by taking away one of their easier and smugger talking points.

JimB said...


I have not heard that line from the lady before. I think it wrong: piling evil on evil does not make anything even. We agree on the costs.

Thanks for dropping in and commenting!


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