1995: Girvies Davis, framed? 1990: Dalton Prejean, cop-killing child

Themed Set: Executions for Abolitionists

May 17th, 2010 Headsman

This blog’s raison d’etre is not to carry a brief in the death penalty debate.

But whatever can be said of capital punishment in its modern American manifestation, the executioner mills into jagged, glass-sharp relief everything about crime and criminal justice, even about truth and redemption and matters even more fundamental to humanity than life and death.

The debate, however worn, is itself a part of the landscape of the death penalty Executed Today surveys, and like this site, it gravitates towards dates.

This week, we mark cases which have been marked by death penalty opponents: not necessarily because these cases are all themselves exemplars of infamous injustices, but because they cast into relief the humanity of the condemned, sitting paradoxically beside the humanity of those called upon to kill him.

As David Dow observed in his recent exploration of the personal toll exacted by Texas’s capital punishment regime, The Autobiography of an Execution,

[m]urder is perhaps the ugliest crime, which is why it is so shocking that most murderers are so ordinary in appearance. Average height, average weight, average everything. Even after all these years, some part of me expects people who commit monstrous deeds to look like monsters. I meet them, and they look like me.

There but for god …

On this day..

Entry Filed under: Themed Sets

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