Sunday, January 08, 2006

SF Gate asks the questions...

Perhaps one of our enlightened lefties can provide the answers...

Where is the outcry over the impending execution of Clarence Ray Allen? Or do we only protest the execution of more charismatic death row inmates?

In the interest of saving time, and argument space, I am personally very much in favor of the death penalty, so we can perhaps skip that bit of rhetoric...


patsbrother said...

I'd say this is the reason:

There is an argument that Mr. Williams was rehabilitated in prison; the same does not appear to apply for Mr. Allen.

There are only two factors that would give me pause in the case: his condition as one who is deaf and blind (how do you communicate what is to happen to him, how do you asign a spiritual counselor, etc.) and the cost of executing him.

Personally, I see this as an argument for a swifter execution process: this should have been carried through in 1986, not 2006.

And just cuz S.A.W.B. and that other blog make a big point of it: Mr. Allen is not (entirely) white. He is of Choctaw heritage. This does not substantively change the situation: it simply changes the preciousness of the "race issue".

Patrick Armstrong said...

I'd say it has a lot more to do with start quality. Celebrities have built in loudspeakers in this country. If a celebrity latches on to a particular court battle, they can bring it to the forefront. That was what was really happening with Tookie Williams, and a bunch of people wanted in on the circus.

He also wrote children's books and got somebody to nominate him for a Nobel Prize. A big name actor played him in the movie about his life. That gives the media (those lazy creatures that they is) something to yammer about instead of actually investigating stuff, so we all get to hear about it. The event then snowballs.

Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.

The thing is: when we choose to pay attention to an execution in this country, it is an abberation from the norm. The folks who oppose use of the death penalty will be out in front of the prison with a candlelight vigil no matter who it is. The circus only shows up for those individuals with the star power.

Race probably plays a role, to be sure, but my evidence to the contrary would be the case of Cory Maye, that we have discussed at length on this blog.

Why is the outrage over the Maye case not on the news everywhere? A black man who quite possibly has legal grounds to be released, who quite possibly did nothing wrong and who is now on death row - and the only peep comes from the blogosphere? You would think the Williams camp coulda just picked up and moved to Mississippi, but they didn't.

Why not? No star power. Not yet anyway. We may yet turn that into something....

(The blogstorm has reached holding pattern, by the way, Agitator still has the lead seat and the blogosphere waits eagerly for his reports.)

Patrick Armstrong said...

Oh yeah, and white people have plenty of folks to go to bat for them, even after they've already been executed.

Though I don't blame Governor Warner for his call to reexamine the evidence, this could have turned out a lot worse than it did.