McConnor's Corner
A Time To Die
By Sean McConnor
Feb 1, 2003 - 9:30:00 AM

Photo by spsarge on Flickr
ILLINOIS — Former Illinois Governor George Ryan, before leaving office a few weeks ago, pardoned four condemned men and commuted the death sentences of 167 other inmates. I think George Ryan was absolutely wrong in granting blanket mercy to these convicted people.

I favor the death penalty. I had an aunt who one year when attending the Rose Parade in Pasadena with her husband and two daughters, took in a young man who was a drifter. This was decades ago when people were more trusting and probably not wise.  Anyway, the drifter quickly became a liability and she told him to get lost one day when her husband was at work and her daughters were at school. The drifter, for whom she showed compassion, raped and stabbed her 39 times. Her mulitilated body was found in the kitchen by her husband, an ex-cop.

The drifter was captured and tried. He was given the death penalty, but in one of their flights of fancy the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the death penalty and the drifter had the sentence reduced to life imprisonment. My aunt was not brought back to life, however, nor was her husband, who suffered mentally afterwards, cured.

Am I bitter? Look what was reported in the news as the reaction of Ms.Ollie Dodds whose daughter was killed in 1987 and the person convicted, Madison Hobley, was pardoned by George Ryan: " I just sat there and cried, I couldn't believe what he was saying." I didn't cry when the drifter got "mercy" for killing my aunt. I got mad.

Austin D. Sarat, a political science and law professor and writer about the death penalty is quoted as saying, "People are asking if the death penalty is compatible with values taken seriously: equal protection, due process, protection of the innocent."

Sorry, Dr. Sarat, you are protecting the wrong guys. The real innocent people are the people that get up out of bed every morning, get on the parking lot freeway (101, 170, 405) and struggle to work. They uphold the laws. They pay their taxes. And they are victimized by predators who spend and have spent most of their lives in jail.

Certainly, mathematically, some people may have been incorrectly convicted of the higher crime while technically guilty, but does it justify giving a blanket pardon to all? Would you have liked the Oklahoma City Bomber of the Federal Building to have gotten off instead of death? How about the 9/11 Hijackers? Would you have spared their lives?

Some people are sick mentally. Gentically and environmentally, they have become like dogs with rabies. Once rabies gets to an animal's brain it is too late. You have a being foaming at the mouth ready to kill you. I think the convicted murderers are the same. Yes, life is precious, but we  have to protect ourselves: fry them, gas them, inject them. Get the bad guys away from our midst.

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