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.
[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_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_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_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_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.