Saturday, June 13, 2009


This is a subject I feel compelled to discuss and expose.

Corrections officers in many states have been mandated to provide CPR to inmates that are in emergency circumstances and require it for obvious life saving reasons. Corrections officers have repeatedly voiced their objections to providing this service citing the reason that CPR is a "medical procedure". Okay, then, I have a question for these officers as well as all the state departments of correction: why are officers not using this same objection to taking part in the "medical procedure" that is lethal injection? Lethal injection has long been established as a medical procedure and no medical doctor or registered nurse will or can legitimately participate in this procedure due to the upholding of the Hippocratic Oath. Because of this promise the procedure of killing a human being is therefore left to non-medical personnel; that means it might as well be you and me. I don't know about you, but I don't have the medical expertise to perform such a procedure, nor would my conscience allow me to participate in such an event, but that is beside the question.

The point is correctional officers are refusing and consistently voicing opposition to being directed to perform CPR on inmates that are in need of assistance citing the reason that they are not medical personnel and therefore have no expertise to involve themselves in such a procedure. But, some of these same people have no problem with volunteering to putting needles into veins without medical certification or medical experience in order to effect a death.

I must question this paradox. And, what say you?

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Now, this is a subject I've been watching unfold for quite some time.

In various suits filed on behalf of death row inmates in various states the defense teams sometimes file motions to compel the state to reveal the names of prison personnel who actually carry out the death penalty on behalf of the citizenry. This type of motion is vigorously opposed by the state with different but predictable reasons as to why the public identification of these people is not a good idea. Universally the argument is that the personnel would be put in a dangerous and unsafe position if their identity were revealed. Does the defense not have a right to know the composition of the lethal injection team, i.e. their qualifications and training that render them capable of carrying out this medical procedure that will result in the death of a person? In light of past botched executions this is most certainly important and discoverable information. In light of the Hippocratic Oath no medical doctors will participate leaving only non-medical personnel to carry out this procedure.

The article I've linked states that the members of the lethal injection team are strictly volunteers and are not forced to take on this responsibility. I'm just observing the moral conundrum in which these men and/or women find themselves when there is a threat of their actual identity being exposed. We know the identity of the convicted. Why can't the convicted know the identity of those by whose hands they die? If the members of the team all volunteer one would have to assume that they believe in the validity of the death penalty since they are personally carrying out the order on behalf of the state. If they are proponents of this system, then what is it about what they are doing that they don't want the public to know?

Why is evil always hidden? What is it about the nature of evil that when exposed to light, it cowers? When the possibility that the names of the lethal injection team would become public, even if only to the judge and defense, the entire team resigned. Perhaps the members were seriously fearful of their individual safety, but perhaps shouldn't they also just as seriously ponder the roles they were being asked by the state to pl

I wonder what would happen if the prosecuting attorney and the jury in each death penalty case were to comprise the lethal injection team. Do you think these men and women would volunteer to personally carry out the death sentences they themselves had rendered? Or do you think the odds of sentencing someone to death increase in proportion to the distance kept from being the actual instruments of carrying out that sentence?

Perhaps if we want others to stay out of the business of killing then we should commit to staying out of that same business ourselves and we should refuse to play any supporting role in that regard.

Monday, February 23, 2009


This here is a must read:
In a nutshell, million dollar blocks are city blocks that have been identified via mapping that certain citizens used to call home who now call various penitentiaries their homes. The mapping is beyond interesting. Suffice it to say that it is probably not a shock to most of us that these blocks are home to an overwhelming majority of the poverty stricken, but isn't it worth noting that the poorest neighborhoods are costing the government the most? The government is actually spending a million dollars a block and sometimes even five million dollars a block to rid these neighborhoods, either permanently or temporarily, of certain individuals that used to dwell in these neighborhoods who mostly all fall below the poverty line. And, what exactly is it getting for its buck? Is it getting a return for its investment in the removal of these persons from their communities and families? You bet it is! That is if your definition of "return" includes the concept of a negative. Wouldn't it be more prudent to consider investing any sum of money to SERVE the people on these blocks rather than PUNISH them?

Friday, February 20, 2009


Everybody please read Radley Balko's article posted yesterday at entitled Manufacturing Guilt?

It's nothing short of shocking and a call to action. PLEASE PASS THIS ARTICLE ON TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW. I can't stress the importance of this article. Not only for the incarcerated in Mississippi and Louisiana but for anyone interested in the possibility of a true "justice" system and not just the legal system we currently have in this country.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

R.I.P. Billey Joe Johnson

The Grand Jury in Lucedale, Mississippi today announced in a nine page report that it ruled the death of local football hero, Billey Joe Johnson, an accidental death. The story is heartbreaking. The family of the boy will never believe this, although the information that was forthcoming may have supported the ruling. Why is it so much easier to believe a conspiracy or something evil and heinous than just to believe an accident happened? We want so much to have answers to why bad things happen to what looks like good people. It is terribly sad to know that this young man's life was cut short right when his life looked so promising. I did not know the boy but my prayers go out to his family. A real tragedy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Scary Days

Okay, things are getting scary in this country. I'm 52 and it's way scarier now than it has ever been. Far too many people are incarcerated. Not only can we not afford to continue this insanity, what we are doing to people is downright immoral. States are going broke and the legislatures seem to see nothing wrong with spending more on corrections than higher education. WTF? Who in their right mind could not see that the current state of affairs must change?