"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

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pushing the Envelope of Dissent

Papa Shea, in another posting of gargantuan illogic, has dredged up some questionable executions from the last millenia to argue, that... the death penalty is unjust now?

But this is what a nation signs on for when it wants to maximize the death penalty and cheer for the maximum number of people put to death. I spoke the other day of Christian *zeal* for the death penalty. Arguments for the death penalty seem to me, in the end, to always boil down to saying, "We are willing to say yes to the disgusting executions of these people so that we get to kill Lawrence Brewer, Ted Bundy, and Timothy McVeigh. We *love* killing those guys (hence the cheers for Rick Maximum Death" Perry) and are willing to kill a few victims like this as human sacrifices to that love.
Logic is not highly valued on the Left, apparently. Does it really need pointing out that use of the DP in the 1940's South and use of it now are apples and oranges? I've challenged Shea on this point before, and he can never support his slander that there is Christian "zeal" for the death penalty, nor that anyone has argued that the death penalty be "maximized" or that anyone cheers for the "maximum number of people put to death." Unless, of course, by "zeal" one means: there exist a discrete number of cases where recourse to the death penalty is just, given the atrociousness of the crime, the need to deter and to demonstrate society's hatred of murder, and the need to protect society (which includes prison inmates and staff) from people who refuse to stop killing. I've been over some examples of such cases before.

I guess Papa Shea's trying to tar any support of the reasoned, measured, rare use of the death penalty in this country as mindless bloodlust. Problem: there just ain't any facts behind that view. It's a variation of the reductio ad hitlerum, where one simply smears his enemy and calls him names, because he cannot support his own position (in this case) with the teaching of his Church (which supports the limited, rare, American-like use of the DP), with facts, or with logic.

Why does Papa Shea try so hard to minimize Church teaching, and see how far he can push his death penalty opposition without overtly crossing the line and explicitly denying six millenia of Judeo-Christian teaching on the licitness of capital punishment?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Tale of Two Executions

So Troy Davis, convicted cop-killer, has gone on to answer to the highest tribunal, to the accompaniment of an outcry from a bevy of activists, secular, like Al Sharpton and Jimmy Carter, religious, like Pope Benedict and Desmond Tutu, and international, like France and Germany.

Of course, National People's Public Radio and the mainstream media were firmly in the corner of the cop-killer, consistently implying or declaring that Davis' conviction rested on only eyewitness testimony, a blatant lie, since in addition to nine eyewitnesses pegging him as the shooter, the evidence further proved that after the killing Davis changed his shirt and fled to Atlanta. The night prior to killing Officer McPhail, Davis shot a man at a party, wounding him in the jaw. Bullet casings from both shootings were recovered and were found to have been fired by the same gun. Davis himself admitted being present at the scene, while denying shooting McPhail. He claimed at trial that the witnesses were lying about his involvement, the same claim he is still making years later, a claim rejected by the jury and every court which has considered it.

Nevertheless, the usual media/left/religious apparatus is in full swing attacking the jury's verdict and the entire process of exhaustive legal review that has found no reason to disturb the verdict.

Ironically, while undergoing their orgy or self-congratulatory selective moral outrage, white supremacist Lawrence Brewer was also executed Wednesday in Texas for the horrific racially-motivated dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. Brewer's execution was carried out without letters of protest from the Vatican, without NPR hand-wringing, without an Al Sharpton appearance. In fact, even the local anti-capital punishment outfit in Texas couldn't gin up much interest in Brewer's dire plight. Explaining why their group had not focused attention on Brewer's execution,


Kristin Hule, president of the Texas Coalition to End the Death Penalty, said that while her group's members "unconditionally oppose all executions," her Austin-based organization must "as a matter of resources and capacity focus on the case that's right in front of us," referring to two cases with execution dates before Brewer's.
Added the group's founder, David Atwood of Houston, "I think Brewer's case is a little under the radar screen. I don't think many people, the attorneys, did anything. A lot of people haven't realized who Lawrence Brewer is."
And so it goes: certain murderers get poster-child status and are feted by foreign governments, by the media, and by some religious figures, as martyrs to the merciless machinery of a vindictive government.

Others, like the vile racist Brewer, whose cases aren't so appealing to the left, die without a whimper on their behalf from the multitudes who would make a martyr of Troy Davis.

Mind you, I have no more sympathy for Brewer than I do for Davis. My point is, when the crime is viewed as outrageous enough, when the narrative of a case doesn't fit the left's playbook, in other words, when they see it as carrying out their view of justice, even the left doesn't really oppose capital punishment.

They just want to be able to pick out who the state should execute.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jews and the Confederacy

Richmond is commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and the Times Dispatch has been running an interesting series on various little-known aspects of the war as it affected Richmond.

Last Sunday's story was a fascinating review of the role that Jews played in the Confederacy. Many people know that Judah Benjamin served prominently in the Confederate government, but fewer realize that there was a substantial Jewish community in the South, and in Richmond in particular. These Jews in the main were strong supporters of the Confederacy and served in the military. I recently discovered that a relative by way of marriage was a Jewish merchant who served in a Confederate unit.

Again, few people realize that Jews were subjected to substantial prejudice... not by the South, but by Northern luminaries, mostly notoriously by none other than U.S. Grant, who issued this lovely General Order #11:

The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.
Post commanders will see to it that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters. No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application of trade permits.
This Order, countermanded by Abraham Lincoln, would have expelled the Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Concurrent with this vile piece of infamy, Grant had written a letter to the Assistant War Secretary as follows:

HDQES. THIRTEENTH A. C., DEPT. OF THE TENN.,
Oxford, Miss., December 17, 1862.

HON. C. P. Wolcott, Assistant Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.: I have long since believed that in spite of all vigilance that can be infused into post commanders, the specie regulations of the Treasury Department have been violated, and that mostly by Jews and other unprincipled traders. So well satisfied have I been of this that I instructed the commanding officer at Columbus to refuse all permits to Jews to come South, and I have frequently had them expelled from the department, but they come in with their carpet-sacks in spite of all that can be done to prevent it. The Jews seem to be a privileged class that can travel everywhere. They will land at any wood-yard on the river and make their way through the country. If not permitted to buy cotton themselves they will act as agents for someone else, who will be at a military
post with a Treasury permit to receive cotton and pay for it in Treasury notes which the Jew will buy up at an agreed rate, paying gold. There is but one way that I know of to reach this case; that is, for the Government to buy all the cotton at a fixed rate and send it to Cairo, Saint Louis, or some other point to be sold. Then all traders (they are a curse to the army) might be expelled.
U.S. GRANT,Major-General[1]

The incident raised hackles even in the North, where the New York Times criticized the Order's "disregard of the simplest rules of English composition. To be dealt harshly with is had enough, but to be vilified in execrable English is cruel, if not unusual, punishment." The Times did get around to condemning the content of the Order as well.

It's well to remember that in history, it is rare that virtue resides entirely on one side of the ledger.

Troy Davis, cont.

Well, the clock has about run out on cop-killer Troy Davis, as the Georgia Parole Board denies him last-minute clemency.

We've visited his case here and here (where we surveyed the reactions of the some of the useful idiots on the religious left to the SCOTUS's denial of relief for Davis).

RIP, Officer Mark McPhail, and may his family experience consolation at the justice about to be delivered to his murderer.