Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Mexico Trying to Abolish the Death Penalty

The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty reported that New Mexico is moving towards abolition.

This was a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee, which ultimately passed the bill and sent it to the floor with an 8 to 5 vote.

For me this is great news. Although New Mexico is not the hotbed of death penalty ethos, abolition there may send a message to the resto of the country. On Wikipedia there's a fascinating table of statistics. Why would Texas have had 400 times more executions than New Mexico since 1976? What could possibly explain such disparity.

On the NCADP site there's a link to a group called Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation. This link offers twenty testimonials, which to my mind represent the best of the religions conservative movement. These are people who have lost loved ones to murder and who are not demanding vengeance. To me this is always one of the most interesting aspects of a death penalty case. I'm gratified to see that not everyone responds like the ones typically highlighted in the news.


  1. Deep inside the human psyche, perhaps a survival meme, is the lust for revenge. One needs only to look at the Palestinians and the Jews to see just how long and how strong this lust can endure in the human mind.

    Cain and Abel. Fratricide. By the way, how was Cain 'punished' for his murderous act?

  2. Mike,

    First your math is horrible wrong,

    The table shows Texas with 429 executions and New Mexico with 12. That is over 400 more, but is only 35 times as many.

    I choose to think this is an editorial error, not an intentional hyperbole on your part.

    Second, just a quick glance at the population & population density might have something to do with it. One of the comments (wish I could remember to give credit) talked about the effect of population density on crime.

    New Mexico has 1, count them 1 city over 100,000 people. Texas has approximately 25 cities over 100,000. With several cities over 500,000.

    By the way, population of New Mexico- approximately 1.9 million, population of Texas approximately 23.5 Million.
    Doing the math gives us the factor of 12 times as many people in Texas as New Mexico. Might that have something to do with the crime numbers and the numbers of executions?

    I haven't found any quick information on the cost of living, the effect of cost of living on crime but I'm would believe there is a correlation. And wouldn't it be more expensive to live in the bigger cities of Texas?

    Here is a link the the Department of Corrections information on a person scheduled to be executed today Scheanette, Dale Devon

    Pretty cut and dried recitation, right.

    Here is a little more information about him

    Killer in Arlington's 'bathtub slayings' to be executed Tuesday

    ARLINGTON -- Nearly 13 years after the rape and killing of two young Arlington area educators, convicted murderer Dale Devon Scheanette is set to die Tuesday for the 1996 murders.

    The killings were dubbed the “bathtub slayings” because the victims — Wendie Prescott, 22, and Christine Vu, 25 — were found nude, strangled and bound with duct tape in their partially filled bath tubs. The killings began a trail of terror that spanned four more years and left five more women brutalized.

    Arlington homicide Detective Tommy LeNoir said Scheanette, who once lived in the same apartment complex with Prescott and Vu, was a sophisticated criminal who stalked his victims.

    “He planned those attacks,” LeNoir said Monday. “You can’t imagine the horror these women went through ... to be attacked in their homes they way they were.”

    Vu and Prescott were killed within three months of each other at the Peach Tree apartment complex in east Arlington.

    At the time, LeNoir said detectives were hoping that the killer would be caught before a third victim was found dead.

    “We wanted to prevent that third occurrence,” LeNoir said. “That was one of those cases we dedicated seven days a week to. There was a killer out there and we were responsible for finding him.”

    It took four years and a Federal Bureau of Investigation computer upgrade before Scheanette was linked to the killings by DNA and a fingerprint. He was later linked to five sexual assaults in Arlington, Grand Prairie and Lancaster

    Now, going back to a statement you made earlier:
    Furthermore the need to carry a gun to protect yourself and your family, I believe in most cases is totally exaggerated and the result of fear, insecurity and grandiosity; again that's just my opinion

    I dated a girl, at the time of the attacks that was living in the sister complex immediately adjacent to that property. My best friend's sister and a high school (female) friend lived in the same complex....1 building away from one of the murders.

    You might want to think carefully about your opinions before you spout off.

  3. Look again Bob. Texas had 429 executions since 1976, New Mexico just 1.

    You yourself provided the population differential at 12 to 1.

    How do you explain that Texas justice?

  4. Mike,

    My mistake, glanced at the table and saw Nevada. You are correct.

    But I notice that you avoided everything else in my comment.

    If your friends lived in the same complex, what advice would you give them after the first murder?
    The second murder?

    Buy a whistle? Carry pepper spray?
    These women were attacked in their own homes. Pepper spray under those conditions would affect them as much as the attacker.

    You are avoiding the defensive use of firearms and concentrate on the bad. You avoid admitting scum like this guy deserve the punishment society returned for his crimes.

  5. D O D G E!!!! For Mike.

    Address one error made by Bob, and disreguard all other (valid) points.

    Way-to-Go Mike!

  6. First of all, Mud Rake asked, "how was Cain 'punished' for his murderous act?"

    I believe it was banishment. But what I don't get is why the other biblical recommendation of "an eye of an eye" seems to take precedence. Why don't Christian fundamentalists use the Cain story to justify opposition to the death penalty?

    Bob and Weer'd, You guys never tire of pointing out my failures in answering. I've told you a million times, it's not for avoidance.

    The frightening story of a serial rapist preying on women makes me think what I've often thought. In certain circumstances, I might choose to arm myself or my loved ones. But if I ever felt I had to do that, I would accept the responsibility that would be mine. A lawful gun owner who benefits from the laws and freedoms that allow firearms purchases, is partly responsible for the inevitable problems that result from those laws and freedoms.

    If you could just open your mind to that, then we could work together to find a solution that as Sevesteen so well said, hinders criminals without inconveniencing the law abiding any more than is necessary. But as long as you keep saying, "that's not my problem," such dialogue is stunted.

  7. Mike,

    You are a frakkin piece of work

    But as long as you keep saying, "that's not my problem," such dialogue is stunted.

    You accuse of of stunting the dialogue but you are very careful to keep it "focused" on firearms and not see the correlations between other rights.

    You are trying to tell me that because I have followed every law on the books, I'm partly responsible for those that break it, but you want take responsibility for child molesters, rapists, drunk drivers, and those that commit mopery.

    Are you partially responsible for all the knife murders out there?

    Are you partially responsible for all the dads that kill their children because you have lawfully raised your children?

    You are trying to make me my brothers keeper for each and every firearm owner out there but you aren't willing to accept the same brotherhood with everyone else.

    A lawful gun owner who benefits from the laws and freedoms that allow firearms purchases,

    Straight up Mike, would you give up your freedoms to have new laws that don't stop crime?

    That is what you are asking us to do.

  8. "A lawful gun owner who benefits from the laws and freedoms that allow firearms purchases, is partly responsible for the inevitable problems that result from those laws and freedoms."

    100% correct, Mike.

    So why do you keep proposing new laws that only effect those who respect and follow them...while ignoring the real problem of punishing those who HAVE failed on their responsibility?

    You talk about one-gun-a-month, and waiting periods...but you don't talk about them because buying two guns in 30 days, or taking your gun home the moment the paperwork clears isn't the problem.

    People doing BAD THINGS with guns are a problem. PEOPLE, not the guns.

    ...but of course people have feelings, guns don't. So punishment of the guns is easier.

  9. In certain circumstances, I might choose to arm myself or my loved ones. But if I ever felt I had to do that, I would accept the responsibility that would be mine.

    what exactly do you mean by "accept the responsibility", there? what would you do, concretely?

    as well, your words fairly clearly imply you think we don't accept this responsibility. what would you do that you think we don't?

  10. And of course the trick is: when you choose to arm yourself, will you be able to do just that?

    When your kitchen is on fire is the WORST time to be buying a fire extinguisher....