Pharyngula

Texas has state-sanctioned murder

The story of Cameron Todd Willingham (via Digby) ought to be read by everyone. Willingham seems to have been a kind of Texan dumbass, an uneducated, wife-beating piece of work, but he was also the father of three children, who he, by all accounts, loved. Those kids died in a house fire. Forensic ‘experts’ declared the fire an arson, Willingham was arrested, tried, and convicted of murder, and was executed.

Only problem: he didn’t do it. The fire experts were good ol’ boys who were operating on folklore and fairy tales about how fires propagated; real experts have looked at the scene and since declared that it was an accidental fire. Nobody killed those little girls, but their father was killed for their deaths.

That’s not the most disturbing part of the story to me. You have to watch these videos of Judge John Jackson (he was prosecutor in the case, and is now a judge). He openly admits that the evidence for arson was weak, and that he looked at the circumstances to determine Willingham’s guilt. Those circumstances? Willingham was a low-class ruffian with tattoos of skulls who like heavy metal music. Therefore, he was probably a satanist. Therefore, he probably killed his children.

I’m not joking. That was the basis for this smug cracker’s determination of guilt, that led directly to his execution. Why not just criminalize tattoos and Metallica? It would make it easy to round up the riff-raff and exterminate them.

The state of Texas murdered an innocent man, and we can see the whole chain of incompetence, bigotry, and cowardice that led to the tragedy, from this ass of a prosecutor to Governor Perry, who refused to heed the evidence of malfeasance. Why aren’t all of them being impeached or fired, and facing criminal charges in a court of law? Is it because they don’t have any tattoos and listen to patriotic tripe from Lee Greenwood, Brooks & Dunn, and Tim McGraw?

End the death penalty everywhere. Drum the red-necked blundering boobs out of office, at the very least.

Comments

  1. #1 taylormorgan
    January 7, 2010

    To be honest , I do believe in the death penalty for those actually guilty of premeditated murder or those guilty of imposing horrible suffering on others. Rape , and I’m not talking , and 18 year old having sex with his 17 years old gf consensually but forced and malicious sexual or physical abuse of others.

    I don’t care how “extreme” I sound. I always try to minimise and emotional and/or physical harm I may cause to ANYBODY in ANY circumstance and others who try to do the same shouldn’t have to live in a world where they are at the mercy of these evil people who refuse to respect other humans personal safety .

    And just because they are in prison doesn’t mean they can’t cause harm to others . It’s not as though they are in a prison of 1 …The could be terrorising the guy who ended up behind bars because he fell asleep at the wheel after working 6 hours overtime to provide for his pregnant wife and two children and unfortunately killed another driver and passenger . Or the guy who had consensual sex with his gf only 6 months younger than him and was dobbed in by the parents who didn’t think he was good enough.

    I’m not debating the issue of whether they are really guilty or not or if innocents are being condemned . I’m talking those that ARE guilty.
    It is always difficult to know whether or not this is the case and that the state has done the right thing but what I’m saying is that people that really do these things don’t deserve to live .
    What is inhumane is inflicting suffering on others . Not having scum exterminated .

    To be honest , I don’t value human life standing alone . I value humans who live with kindness in their consciousness. I value the idea that there should not be unnecessary suffering . And if it’s possible to get rid of those who inflict it on others then obviously the suffering is unnecessary .

  2. #2 John Morales
    January 7, 2010

    taylormorgan, do you consider justice is never miscarried?

    what proportion of innocent people must be killed to ensure the guilty are meted what you consider appropriate punishment?