Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Man is About to Die

Unless Governor Jay Nixon issues a stay, Dennis Skillicorn will be injected with lethal drugs at 12.01 am Wednesday.

I have little sympathy for Skillicorn. Although he says he did not actually pull the trigger on two people who were murdered, he was there. He robbed one of the victims before his accomplice killed the man by firing two bullets into the back of his head.

I understand society's desire to avenge such horrendous crimes. Penny and I lost a family member to murder. When someone you know and love is murdered, you want to strike back. At least I did. You want payment.

And yet the parents of this family member have not asked for the death penalty for their daughter's killer. They know that this man's death won't bring their daughter back, won't ease their grief any, won't really produce any justice. It would bring about another death.

Instead, they have sought to redeem their daughter's death by reaching out to families who have lost loved ones to violent death. They have created a foundation, which seeks to affirm life and the continuation of life after tragedy, as a way of honoring their daughter. They are acting for life, not death.

Why answer two deaths with another death? What good will Dennis Skillicorn's death accomplish? If the governor lets Skillicorn's death proceed, the state will take a stand for death, not for life. And this death will not elevate us, but degrade us.

For the state will say that people who do evil deeds cannot change; they cannot be redeemed. Death is the only outcome for them. And that will be a tragedy.

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