A Built-In Problem of Compassion
I just finished reading an article in the Birmingham News, online version. It stated that the US Supreme Court had denied a stay of execution for a man who'd killed an elderly 76-year-old man, and his wife, in Calhoun County.
Now I do need to state that I'm a supporter of the Death Penalty. The Bible instructs it, and I believe the society that values life is not the one that shows forbearance to murderers, but rather the one that stands ready to swiftly demand the life of anyone who takes the life of another (in manner described by the laws). So I think that societally, the Death Penalty is a reflection of the USA's, and the individual states', valuing of human life. But the article I read today gave me real pause.
Here's why: the man in the picture is 45 years of age, and has been on Death Row for 23 years, 11 months, and 22 days. Well over half his life. He is not the same man, today, that killed that couple.
He could be a better man. I've seen plenty of "Reality TV" shows in which convicted murderers have gotten saved, have matured and seen the horror of their crime, or simply become better people for all their experiences. And I'm certain .. although they normally don't show these folks as often .. that there have been murderers who have morphed into even more heinous people than they were when they swung the knife or pulled the trigger. But one thing's for sure: after this many years, the executioner is dispatching a different person from the one that did the crime.
What is, I suppose, most disturbing, is there doesn't seem to be a system to monitor this, that I am aware of. I don't know whether Parole Boards check on these guys, or whether there's any other system of monitoring rehabilitation. Perhaps there is, but that doesn't change the fact that the Government of the State of Alabama was poised to kill a different man, from the one who killed that couple.
As I post this, 2 minutes ago.
I find that sad.
Adolf Eichmann was captured 5/11/60, was tried and subsequently convicted on 12/16/61, and was executed 5/31/62. That would be less onerous, to me, had that happened here.
FURTHER UPDATE: Mr. Boyd was, indeed, executed, about the time I originally finished this post. In reading the wrap-up in the paper, just now (some 3 hours later), I learned there was another man involved in the murder. He confessed at the time, and in a plea-bargain with the Prosecuting Attorney, was sentenced to life in prison, without parole. Different decisions. Different results.
"Make your choices slowly, for time will tell
If you've chosen wisely, if you've chosen well".
Amen to that.