O Death, Where is Your Sting? Part I

I was hus­tling around between North Car­olina (fur­ther­ing behav­ioural genet­ics), and the usual NoCal (fur­ther­ing the usual fool­ish­ness). As I pull into San Quentin State Prison for an alto­gether dif­fer­ent mat­ter (fur­ther­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of some other for­mi­da­ble research involv­ing the “clus­ter­ing” of defense mech­a­nisms), I hear that a Marin County judge has inval­i­dated California’s cur­rent exe­cu­tion pro­to­col. This report was imme­di­ately fol­lowed by one in which a “rou­tine appeal” of the death penalty of a San Diego woman who mur­dered her chil­dren in a par­tic­u­larly grue­some man­ner was upheld. Preg­nant pause in my mind as I turn off the radio: the Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court has con­firmed a reser­va­tion for Susan Dianne Eubanks on “the table” (from where she resides on CA’s FOURTH death row — we’ll get to that), in full knowl­edge that her flight has been can­celled. Mes­dames et Messieurs, this is about the mad­ness of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment in the State of California.

For pur­poses of clar­i­fi­ca­tion, this will not be a wad­ing through the usual cast of pen­e­trat­ing “issues.” I have, indeed, exam­ined the mal­for­ma­tions of human­ity that result in mur­der (sin­gu­larly, seri­ally, and by more sta­tis­ti­cal vari­ables than I care to admit); rig­or­ously stud­ied Anti­so­cial Per­son­al­ity Dis­or­der (a mem­ber of the so-called Axis II, Clus­ter B Per­son­al­ity Dis­or­ders); and trained in diag­nos­ing Psy­chopa­thy, specif­i­cally in incar­cer­ated males by means of the Hare PCL-R. Blah, blah, blah. No, this is not about those issues. Should you wish to pur­sue those as a pre­lude, I rec­om­mend these:

[sws_ul_ui indent=“3” ui_theme=“ui-smoothness”][sws_ul_ui_item item_indent=“0” position=“outside” icon=“ui-icon-lightbulb”]Psy­cho­pathic gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tions: The Exe­cu­tion Pro­to­col. In my esti­ma­tion, this is government-speak as sex­ual stim­u­lant, authored by Patrick Bate­man. California’s equally soul­less ver­sion is here. Put on a hoodie before you begin.
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[sws_ul_ui_item item_indent=“3” position=“outside” icon=“ui-icon-lightbulb”]Wake me up to give me my sleep meds: Aileen Wuornos. Aileen was appar­ently the first iden­ti­fied female ser­ial killer in the US. It is inter­est­ing that Aileen was diag­nosed with “Bor­der­line Per­son­al­ity Dis­or­der” (301.83), and not Anti­so­cial Per­son­al­ity; and while she cer­tainly exhib­ited the wildly labile mood char­ac­ter­is­tics of BPD, her vivid rec­ol­lec­tion of “mur­der in self-defense” (she claimed rape & tor­ture, um… seven sep­a­rate times) was c-o-l-d. In New York, we referred to this as, “the hawk is out” c-o-l-d. The point, how­ever, is that in the above-cited video account, we wit­ness a psy­chotic break­ing, the lit­eral psy­chi­atric “melt­down” of a human being. And by law, we do not exe­cute the insane. Unless Gov. Jeb Bush appoints three (count ‘em) Florida psy­chi­a­trists, who upon exam­i­na­tion, unan­i­mously find you sane. Or, you find your­self in Arkansas. And you want irony? In 2004, Char­l­ize Theron won a Best Actress Acad­emy Award por­tray­ing Aileen Wuornos in the movie Mon­ster. Per­haps you were hop­ing for a deter­rent value to lethal injec­tion? [/sws_ul_ui_item] [sws_divider_line] [sws_ul_ui_item item_indent=“3” position=“outside” icon=“ui-icon-lightbulb”]To per­son­al­ize is to expose in the clar­i­fy­ing light: Most recently, doc­u­men­tar­ian Werner Hert­zog (best known, of late, for Griz­zly Man), has issued forth Into the Abyss, a detail-obsessive jour­ney into a sin­gle point­less, unex­plain­able, dumb mur­der, and its equally dum­b­ass pro­tag­o­nists & vic­tims, one of which, Michael Perry, awaited exe­cu­tion. It is unclear to me whether Hertzog’s selec­tion is to demon­strate the banal char­ac­ter of “these cases” as equally mean­ing­less — and he oddly feels com­pelled to tell Michael Perry, eight days before his sched­uled exe­cu­tion, that he (Hert­zog) can oppose cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment, yet “I don’t have to like you”; a state­ment that appears (for­tu­nately?) to pass over the head of the smil­ing dum­b­ass Perry. Lord help us, the first per­son he was con­victed of mur­der­ing was, lit­er­ally, in the process of bak­ing cook­ies! Cook­ies! And what have we learned from Mr. Hert­zog? Help all affected par­ties to secure the ser­vices of an “Academy-Award cal­iber” cast & direc­tor? [/sws_ul_ui_item] [sws_divider_line] [sws_ul_ui_item item_indent=“3” position=“outside” icon=“ui-icon-lightbulb”]Take Two: And let us quickly con­trast this with the case of Wanda Jean Allen, not sur­pris­ingly also from Texas, the rights to whose last-moments were pur­chased and served up by HBO. To put it mildly, if you believe that cul­tural diver­sity sig­nif­i­cantly impacts the legal sys­tem and the impo­si­tion of death sen­tenc­ing in this coun­try, Wanda Jean Allen was a dream depen­dent for appeal: African-American, female, les­bian, his­tory of abuse and neglect, his­tory of trau­matic brain injury, and men­tal retar­da­tion. Does any­one smell mit­i­ga­tion? Well, Wikipedia would have you believe so, albeit with­out a sin­gle cita­tion. Apart from an his­tor­i­cal rec­om­men­da­tion by a psy­chi­a­trist for “fur­ther test­ing” (some­thing he quite sheep­ishly, if not bizarrely, “acknowl­edged” at her failed clemency hear­ing) there was no evi­dence sup­port­ing the “anec­do­tal” claims. Noth­ing. But more sign­f­i­cant, Wanda Jean Allen had his­tor­i­cally mur­dered some­one else in an iden­ti­cal cir­cum­stance — explo­sive rage — and was released on parole after serv­ing four years in prison. You may appre­ci­ate the fact that both Mr. Perry and Ms. Allen, in their final state­ments, were mag­nan­i­mous in for­giv­ing the legal sys­tem, and their execu­tors in spe­cific. [/sws_ul_ui_item] [sws_divider_line] [sws_ul_ui_item item_indent=“3” position=“outside” icon=“ui-icon-lightbulb”]When I was in prison you vis­ited me: It is here I admit my own per­sonal prej­u­dice — and please notice, I am not euphemistic in my choice of words. I admire the clergy, chap­lains, and vol­un­teers who faith­fully extend them­selves in con­di­tions of which I am emi­nently famil­iar. I can only guess at the suf­fer­ing of those such as Sis­ter Helen Pre­jun who join the path of the con­demned, and whose influ­ence can and will pro­duce change. Nev­er­the­less, how to describe a world of false­hood and decep­tion? A place where human beings have no con­cern for truth; where truth, on the one hand, gen­er­ally and rarely serves any prag­matic pur­pose, but more fre­quently results in a neg­a­tive con­se­quence. We may lie to avoid con­flict or con­fronta­tion, to “spare” the feel­ings of another, to ally fear of con­se­quence, or for any num­ber of rea­sons that we might per­ceive (ratio­nal­ize) as “effi­ca­cious.” Pris­on­ers, how­ever, lie when there is absolutely no rea­son nor ben­e­fit to be dis­hon­est. No, not every inmate is anti­so­cial personality/psychopathic, but they func­tion with adult anti­so­cial behav­iour. I will tell an inmate, “You see this file? It is the crim­i­nal record of every­thing you ever did & said, hop­ing against hope that if I tell the truth, they won’t send me to prison. Don’t lie to me , OK? I’ll know. I’ll show you the record” Look­ing me straight in the eyes, they lie. I went out of my way to meet a well-known inmate who was on death row, sched­uled to be exe­cuted while I was on vaca­tion. A few peo­ple stood there near the cage for three-minutes or so, and he said, “I’m sched­uled to die. Why would I lie now?” I wanted to say, “Are you play­ing me? Do I look like that much of a dum­b­ass?” Instead, like a lot of peo­ple, I watched the live play-by-play on CNN into the early evening. What do I know? [/sws_ul_ui_item] [sws_divider_line] [sws_ul_ui_item item_indent=“3” position=“outside” icon=“ui-icon-lightbulb”]Finally, you can read how the State of Cal­i­for­nia has spent more than $4,000,000,000 to exe­cute a grand total of thir­teen (13) human beings since the rein­state­ment of the Death Penalty in 1978 here. [/sws_ul_ui_item] [/sws_ul_ui]

We will pick up with the details of how a naïve sim­ple­ton (that would be me) found him­self at the front door of hell.


Down­load O Death, Where is Your Sting? Part I as a PDF file


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