Tag Archives: murder

Death Penalty. If At First You Don’t Succeed-Execute ’em Again?

I don’t know exactly where I got this idea from, but I always thought if any state botched an execution, they didn’t get a second chance. The condemned man (or woman), or so I believed, would be consigned to life in prison. I guess I was wrong on that one!

The state of Ohio tried to execute a convicted murderer/rapist named the other day. In fact, they spent two solid hours trying to find a vein suitable to inject a lethal cocktail of drugs. No luck.

So, they’ve decided to try again next week.

There is precedent for this. Back in 1946, the state of Louisiana tried and failed to electrocute convicted murderer Willie Francis. They succeeded the following year, after the Supreme Court ruled in essence that once is not enough in the case of execution attempts.

Ohio itself has had it’s share of problems with lethal injection protocols. Twice before, executions were delayed for more than an hour because the executioners couldn’t find a suitable vein. As you might expect, a number of civil liberties groups like the ACLU want to stop Ohio from taking a second shot at Romell Broom. One of his lawyers, who watched the attempt Tuesday on a closed circuit television screen, said Broom was in obvious pain during the botched procedure.

Romell Broom
Romell Broom

The question then becomes whether pain inflicted during an unsuccessful execution becomes cruel and unusual punishment. For me personally, the answer is simple. I am opposed to capital punishment. I don’t believe the state has the right to murder any more than any citizen does, period. However, I have many friends, good people, who disagree with me on this.

They point to the pain and suffering of the victim, who, in the case of Romell Broom, was a 14 year old girl named Tryna Middleton. She was abducted, raped, and murdered by this man back in 1984. If she were alive, she’d be one year shy of her 40th birthday. There is a case to be made for taking into account the fact that her life was cut short by the senseless act of a lowlife.

Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, in Cleveland Heights on Sept. 8. Romell Broom was to be executed Tuesday for raping and murdering Tryna in 1984, but the fatal drugs could not be administered.
Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, in Cleveland Heights on Sept. 8. Romell Broom was to be executed Tuesday for raping and murdering Tryna in 1984, but the fatal drugs could not be administered.

And yet, what is gained by trying to kill Romell Broom next week? The state of Ohio obviously doesn’t have its act together when it comes to executions. Cold comfort comes from Terry Collins, director of the state’s corrections department. “ I have confidence that my team will be able to do its job.”

Like he’s talking about a bunch of Starbucks baristas.

Legal experts say they doubt a second execution attempt will take place as scheduled next Tuesday. Legal appeals are almost certain to derail that. Yet in the end, Ohio seems bound and determined to take a second shot here. What do you think?

Should Ohio make a second attempt at executing convicted murderer Romell Broom?

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Why Can't Americans Get Real on Guns?

So now two lives have been claimed by people with hate in their hearts and deadly weapons in their hands. First it was Dr. George Tiller, and now a security guard at Washington’s US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Holocaust MemorialMuseum

The guard’s name was Stephen T. Johns, and he didn’t have to die. America should have been able to keep a rifle out of the hands of a known racist and anti-Semite, James von Brunn. We didn’t, and this is what happened.

Von Brunn was known to law enforcement. Back in 1981, he tried to take board members of the Federal Reserve hostage by actually entering the system’s Washington headquarters. He was armed with a revolver, hunting knife, and sawed off shotgun. He did time for that one, which leads to an interesting question. If 88 year old James von Brunn had a history of drunk driving or driving erratically at his age, there would have been some effort to take his driver’s license away. So how does a man who went to prison on assault and weapons charges manage to procure a rifle, especially if his extremist views were known to authorities?

The answer lies in part in the power of the gun lobby. When they say “If you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns”, they aren’t talking about James von Brunn. If the media does its job and asks how he got the rifle he used, the lobby will publicly wring its hands and decry the violence. At the same time, they’ll caution against blaming those law abiding citizens who have nothing better to do than blow off the head of a squirrel at 150 yards for “sport”.

Well, it’s time for a paradigm shift in that way of thinking.

cowboysleaveguns

It’s precisely because of those Second Amendment zealots that its easier to buy a gun in some states than it is to get a fishing license. We are reaping what we have sowed when it comes to George Tiller, Stephen Johns, or a young, innocent kid in the Bronx who gets caught in deadly crossfire.

There is no excuse for this. And by the way, don’t bet on the media asking too many questions about von Brunn’s rifle. They didn’t ask about Scott Roeder’s weapon in the Tiller case, so don’t expect anything different now. That’s how we operate here.

PileOGuns

It’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell when it comes to guns. After all, it’s our sacred right to have them, whether we be racist or deranged.

white supremecist

Never mind the head scratching that goes on in the rest of the world when these events take place.

They’re wondering how America can lecture others about the need for restraint when it comes to weapons procurement when our own citizens are buying guns at a record clip.

I can’t figure it out. Can you?

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Who is Responsible for Tiller's Murder?

In the minds of some, it simply (and allegedly) Scott Roeder, the person in custody for the shooting of the Kansas doctor who performed late term abortions. For others, the net of responsibility can be cast much, much further. The murder of Dr. George Tiller, inside his local church, has set off an entirely predictable firestorm of accusations between supporters and opponents of abortion.

Tiller

Some progressive bloggers and Websites heap blame on Fox News screamer Bill O’Reilly, who has referenced Tiller as “Tiller the baby killer” on more than one occasion. O’Reilly, of course rejects such criticisms, saying the killing should be condemned and the focus should instead be on what he says are the 60,000 abortions Dr. Tiller performed.

At the same time, some abortion opponents pour gas on the fire by saying in essence, that Tiller got what he deserved. These apologists for murder are truly dangerous, in that they see themselves as somehow outside of and above the law. They feel they have a God given right to kill. Dr. George Tiller was a perfect symbol for them, a man unafraid to do what he felt was right.

George Tiller had survived being shot, having his clinic bombed, and the picketing of his home and office. He wasn’t just steadfast, he was defiant. Now questions center on whether his murder will have a chilling effect not just on abortion providers but on women seeking them as well. For some, that chilling effect is worth Dr. Tiller’s life.

Randall Terry, the founder of the anti abortion group Operation Rescue says about Tiller’s death “He reaped what he sowed”. That statement speaks volumes not just about Terry, but about the outer fringe of the anti abortion movement in this country. One can’t be sure that common ground with them can actually be found, as President Obama referenced in his speech at Notre Dame.

One question about this entire ugly set of events has yet to be answered. Both Scott Roeder’s ex-wife and his brother say he was mentally unbalanced. If that is true, and he is George Tiller’s murderer, how did he manage to procure the gun he used? Time after time people are killed with guns, and we never stop to ask where the gun was purchased, whether it was legal, and if proper background checks were done. 

Gun violence, as we should know by now, isn’t the sole province of the inner city. Shouldn’t we be asking how many other zealots (regardless of cause) have access to guns, bombs, and other weapons? While we’re at it, shouldn’t the anti abortion movement take a long look in the mirror, and ask themselves if they want to be portrayed as murderers?

You tell me.

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