the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

9 Nov 2010

In as seen by a liberal vegetarian english major in medschool with a subscription to the NYT on November 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm

In Court

Steven J Hayes, with a still-to-be-tried accomplice, forced the Petit family to withdraw $15K from their bank account, sexually assaulted the mother and oldest daughter, beat the father with a baseball bat, strangled the mother, and set the family’s Connecticut home on fire, killing the two girls. He will receive the death penalty. After yesterday’s sentencing, Mr. Hayes was seen smiling. “That’s what he’s wanted all along,” his lawyer told the press. “Suicide by state.”  The thing is, though—the state of CT voted (by 70%) to outlaw the death penalty earlier this year; the governor, however, vetoed the proposition, citing the Hayes case. Proponents of the death penalty or other “the-best-way-to-stop-crime-is-to-instate-the-heaviest-deterrent” laws (think the Three Strikes law in CA) hold these truly heinous cases up as their primary argument—“how can you possibly think Hayes deserves to live?” is their associated query. Answer: because execution (even lethal injection) is pure Spectacle—no moral meaning is gleaned in the killer’s prescriptive last words and stereotyped walk to the chair; the last uncommuted pardon, in the form of a silent prison phone, is total legitimation (not of the act, but of our misplaced sense that justice has been served); and all is unquestioningly lighted, scripted, captured by the media. Execution is not justice, it’s entertainment, and it displaces more important questions about the socio-political environment that pushed a drug addict to commit such a crime. // A lesbian couple in Connecticut, after repeated attempts to receive federally-supported healthcare, is suing the government with the help of GLAD and the ACLU in an attempt to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex unions. Gays “continue to push a  [strategy] of inventing rights that neither the founders nor the majority of Americans recognize in our Constitution,” responded the leader of the National Org. for Marriage. Rights are not bestowed upon us by the majority—in fact, the constitution was established, in part, to maintain the rights of minority communities against a majority that found those rights inconvenient. This is not to say the majority does not have rights; rather, they cannot, they should not, posit their preferred freedoms as something sacred and integral to a national identity simply because they are shared with dead white dudes who counted African Americans as 3/5ths of a person and weren’t keen on letting the womanfolk vote. // The supreme court heard a case on monday concerning medical residency programs and SS tax rules. Residents would love to be exempt from these taxes, and could be, if the court rules that they’re students as much as workers. The robed-ones will probably let this one be sorted out by the IRS. // To go to trial: 99 pimps, for selling the bodies of 12 to 17-year-olds. The most arrests in the FBIs three day sting came from Seattle. // Fired: this guy.

  1. […] presented my wholly inadequate views here. Law demigod and former SCOTUS justice John Paul Stevens makes similar, but infinitely more […]

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