"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

What Heroes Are Made Of

While conducting counter-insurgency operations this morning with Battalion Landing Team 3/1's Lima Company, [Cpl. Gareth] Hawkins' vehicle was hit by a massive improvised explosive device, shattering his right leg and injuring two other Marines. Within minutes of the blast, Hawkins was set to be flown out of the area and into the hands of higher medical care.
According to 1st Sgt. Gary Moran, Lima Co. first sergeant, Hawkins didn't want to leave until he was reenlisted by battalion staff here, more than 14 kilometers from his position.
"Hawkins just got hit in a major blast that could've killed him," Moran said, "and he said, 'First Sergeant, I don't want to fly out … I want to go to (the Combat Outpost) first'."
The first sergeant said he was stunned. After assessing Hawkins' condition, movement to the COP was approved.
While lying on a litter in the surgical area, Hawkins, straining words through extreme pain, gave his reasons for the unusual request.
"'Cause it's motivating," said the Spokane, Wash. native. "I was going to reenlist anyway, this is what I wanted to do."
Throughout the surgical station, Marines and medical personnel could be heard murmuring "(expletive) motivating, man …," and "that's crazy." Hawkins wouldn't budge.
The Battalion Executive Officer, Maj. Kevin Gonzalez, along with the Career Retention Specialist Staff Sgt. Chandrash Malapaka, and several others crammed into the tiny room for the ceremony.
"We're going to do the short version of this," said the Executive Officer.
Raising his right hand, Hawkins took the oath of enlistment by 1st Lt. Warren A. Frank, his platoon commander. With no time for the usual formalities of backslaps and handshakes, Hawkins was immediately carried out via litter and evacuated.
Standing by his sense of duty and raw determination in the face of extreme pain and uncertainty, Cpl. Gareth Hawkins has epitomized the battalion motto of "3/1 Hard."

Support Still High for Capital Punishment

Dudley Sharp has some interesting observations about public support for the death penalty. It has been a common allegation by the abolitionists that support for the death penalty is waning.

Of course, after 20 or more years of constant, and often disingenous, agitprop from the abolitionists, on a wide front including the churches, the media, and the "academy," one would expect that public support would be affected.

What's really of note, then, is that public support has remained fairly level despite the intense abolitionist campaign. The real bad news for the abolitionists is that support for the death penalty is probably greater than thought: Sharp notes that when asked about particular cases, support for the death penalty shoots up:
81% of the American people supported the execution of Timothy McVeigh, with only 16% opposed. "(T)his view appears to be the consensus of all major groups in society, including men, women, whites, nonwhites, "liberals" and "conservatives." (Gallup 5/2/01). 85% of Connecticut respondents voiced support for serial/rapist murderer Michael Ross' "voluntary" execution. (Quinnipiac University Poll, January 12, 2005).

Most tellingly, some people who voice general disapproval of the death penalty actually support it in certain individual cases, such as McVeigh, or for terrorists.

This suggests that public support for the death penalty is actually quite more robust than the answers to the general "do you support the death penalty or life without parole" question would indicate.

No doubt the anti-capital punishment folks will soldier on despite their lack of success.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007