Thursday, April 07, 2005

Culture of Life

James Kraft is a self-styled "conservative Christian and Republican" and denies being a Democrat!

Last week James Kraft asked "where was George W. Bush’s ‘culture of life’ when, as Governor of Texas, he executed Robert Drew and mocked Karla Fay Tucker’s plea for mercy?" I don’t want to pick on Mr. Kraft, but it would be nice if he’d get his facts straight before he launches. George Bush was elected Governor of Texas on Nov. 8, 1994. His predecessor, Gov. Ann Richards, didn’t leave office till January 17, 1995. So it was late January of 1995, at the earliest, when Bush became Governor of Texas. Robert Drew was executed on August 2, 1994. For you recent graduates of public school, that is 168 days before Bush took office. It was Ann Richards, a Democrat, who refused Drew’s appeals for a new trial and executed him. There are some disturbing elements to the Drew story which might have warranted commuting his death sentence or even calling for a new trial. However, the simple fact is that he was an accomplice to senseless murder, did not go to the police after the act (as far as I can tell), and had to be apprehended. He also did nothing to assist the State in its investigation or prosecution.

It amazes me every time I hear the moans and cries for mercy for monsters. Karla Fay Tucker was a monster. She was so heinous that I won’t retell her horrors here (read for yourself, if you’re curious, at http://www.courttv.com/archive/casefiles/tucker/background.html or http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/women/tucker/1.html?sect=5);
it’s simply ghastly. On Larry King Live, Mrs. Tucker avoided telling the details of her crime herself but did admit, "I not only didn't walk around with any guilt, I was proud of thinking I had finally measured up to the big boys." That she had sufficient time on Death Row to find God and become saved in Christ is commendable, but has no bearing on her sentence.

The ‘anti-capital punishment’ movement (Amnesia International... err... I mean Amnesty International, Innocence Project, Grassroots Investigation Project, etc.) is eager to talk about those already executed (Drew and Tucker). They quote "last words" and describe the executions in morbid detail. They present the bare bones of cases, give detailed reports of "inaccuracies" and "mistakes" in trials. Curiously, they provide no resource material on investigations, no trial testimony, no evidentiary material, nor any information relating to the laws pertaining to capital murder charges. In short, they tell moving stories of redemption or persecution, but leave out any information useful in coming to an educated opinion on the issue.
Typical of the ‘anti-capital punishment’ crowd are the specious claims of hundreds of innocents executed.

"A review of death penalty judgements over a 23-year period found a national error rate of 68%," says the ACLU Death Penalty Campaign statement. Reg Brown of the Florida governor’s office noted "The ‘study’ defines ‘error’ to include any issue requiring further review by a lower court.... Using the authors’ misleading definition, the ‘study’ does, however, conclude that 64 Florida post-conviction cases were rife with ‘error’ -- even though none of these Florida cases was ultimately resolved by a ‘not guilty’ verdict, a pardon or a dismissal of murder charges...[and]...the nearly 40 death penalty convictions that were reversed by the California Supreme Court during the tenure of liberal activist Rose Bird are treated as ‘error cases’ when in fact ideological bias was arguably at work." Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Paul G. Cassell observed that "after reviewing 23 years of capital sentences, the study’s authors (like other researchers) were unable to find a single case in which an innocent person was executed. Thus, the most important error rate -- the rate of mistaken executions -- is zero."

On Friday, Mar. 25, 2005, Good Morning America’s Charles Gibson played a phone interview with Jack Kevorkian who spoke from his Michigan prison, where he lives on death row. The good doctor had this to say about the Terri Schiavo issue: "What bothers me is the bit of hypocrisy in this. When the President and the Congress get involved because all life is sacred and must be preserved at all cost, they don't say the same thing about men in a death row cell. Their life is just as sacred." Mr. Kraft claims Bush has a disconnect between "an eye for an eye," and "turn the other cheek," but both Mr. Kraft and Dr. Kevorkian are confused about Christianity. Jesus was not trying to delete the Law of the Old Testament: "Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish them, but to complete them." (Matthew 5:17) Truly, "scripture says, vengeance is mine," but Paul goes on to say "if you do wrong, then you may well be afraid; because it is not for nothing that the symbol of authority is the sword: it is there to serve God, too, as his avenger, to bring retribution to wrongdoers." (Romans 13:4) Now, I’m not a Biblical scholar, but what I’ve read suggests that the word ‘authority’ means the State and the interpretation of the sword as the symbol which is more than just symbolic clearly indicates a death penalty. Likewise, "give unto Caesar" means more than just taxes.

That anyone would compare Kevorkian, Drew, or Tucker to Terri Schiavo is simply the basest of moral relativism. It is similar to trying to co-opt "Right-to-Lifers" with opposing abortion while supporting the death penalty. Only a moral reprobate would compare an innocent life with a convicted felon, murderer, or rapist.

George W. Bush’s "culture of life" shines in all the things that Mr. Kraft hates about him. "When he decided to unnecessarily invade Iraq, resulting in the death of perhaps 100,000 people," Bush ended a tyrannical rule where a 12-year-old boy named Taimour was shot several times before being bulldozed into a mass grave. He was one of a very few who survived an estimated 180,000 Kurdish deaths in the Anfal massacres. It was Bush’s "culture of life" that rescued Ibrahim, an activist opposed to the Ba’ath Party, who escaped while 13 of his group were murdered, two of them died under torture. Bush’s "culture of life" shut down numerous torture chambers and rape rooms into which hundreds of thousands disappeared screaming in the night. (For those interested see http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hrdossier.pdf which is a British report on Saddam’s human rights abuses.) As to "unnecessarily" invading, I would point out the violations of 16 United Nations Security Council Resolutions and the binding cease-fire agreement at the end of the First Gulf War. Of note also is the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 signed into law by Bill Clinton. These arguments of "unnecessary" and "illegal" war are fraudulent.

Mr. Kraft questions "the ‘culture of life’ among ‘conservatives’ when they threaten the lives of Howard Dean, Jim Jeffords, and now Judge George Greer," but for the life of me, while I won’t argue it may have happened, I can’t find any stories about it. Be that as it may, let’s take it as read that it happened, I ask: so what? High-profile figures like these regularly receive threats and the incidence of threat becoming act approaches zero. I find it notable that Mr. Kraft avoids mentioning the outrageous physical attacks on ‘conservatives’ that are not threatened but are actually occurring. William Kristol at Earlham College, Pat Buchanan at Western Michigan University, and Ann Coulter, among others just this year. According to Sun-Times columnist, Richard Roeper, "about 90 percent of pie attacks are launched by liberals against conservatives." Of course, a "pie attack" is not on a par with a death threat, however, as Earlham student journalist, Thomas Lifson, points out, "pie-throwing is a violent assault, capable of damaging the eyes...designed to intimidate speakers out of accepting speaking engagements...a crime against civil society," intended to stifle one’s freedom of speech. So much for the Left’s respect for free speech.

After all this, I have one simple question for Mr. Kraft and others who share his opinions: what is your "culture of life" and where is your sense of decency?

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