Bush OKs execution of Army death row prisoner


I guess the fun has gone out of being President, and Dubya remembered what always cheered him up when he was governor:

No doubt he was a little desperate to shine up his legacy, and what better way than to break a 50 moratorium.

How thoughtful of him to add the “all others” bit; I am sure the condemned’s family will take comfort from that.

For the record, I am against the death penalty, even as retribution for heinous crimes. I believe it lowers our society to level of the murderer as it appeals to the lust for revenge. No crime justifies the deliberate and measured taking of a life by the state.

I agree entirely, but damn if Private Gray doesn’t come this close to making me change my mind.

I hate Bush as much as I’ve hated any man, but damn, I’m with him on this one. That guy’s date with the needle can’t come soon enough.

Yeah, I thought it was going to be for something stupid like desertion but after reading what he was convicted of I wonder what took so long.

Good for George!

Fear Itself, I want to say that I respect your position. Especially when you’re speaking up against the execution of someone like Ronald A. Gray. That says a lot, IMNSHO, about your integrity. It’s easy to oppose the death penalty for moral reasons when the person whose execution you’re trying to block has some hint of impropriety about the conviction. It’s much less easy when you’re protesting the execution of someone who seems to have acted as a vicious animal.

I am sorry to say that I don’t agree with your conclusions. I’m becoming anti-death penalty, but that’s got far more to do with the flawed implementation I’ve been seeing nationwide, such as the fact that Thomas Capano appealed his way off Death Row. Before that time one could argue that even the rich and powerful were at jeopardy of the death penalty, and use Capano’s case as evidence. Now, I suspect that there are a number of people on Delaware’s death row who were handed down death penalty sentences by non-unanimous juries, who will never get that protection that Capano’s money and family influence got for him.

I remain convinced, however, that there are people who should never leave a prison alive. And Robert Gray’s crime, as described in the article, puts him pretty clearly into that category. And if he’s never to see liberty again, I’m still not convinced that mercy isn’t on the side of a quick execution. I grant that this is predicated upon the assumption that there’s no specific reason to question the verdict handed down to Robert Gray. If you can show any specific doubt in this case, my position will march with yours, even though I’ll be coming there from different reasoning.

In short, as long as the current laws of the land have been followed, I’m not going to shed tears over this guy’s execution. Even though I will support death penalty bans with my ballot. It’s not because I have a moral objection to the idea of a death penalty, but that I have practical and moral objections with how the death penalty is working out in practice.

If the U.S. army needs volunteers from allied forces to serve on a firing squad, I’m up for it.

I read the OP a while ago, and a couple things just sank in. At first I thought the motivations and whatnot ascribed to the President was fairly hyperbolic—now, I’m not so sure. How many other requests for the death penalty (either USMJ or the Justice Depatment) have come in over the last eight years? How many has he approved? Has this been sitting on his proverbial desk for eight years? If this is another in a long string of them, then despite my concurrence with the OP’s anti-death penalty viewpoint, I don’t agree that it’s President Bush acting like an extraordinary tool. If it is anomalous action, then my view of him has sunk even lower than before (not an easy feat).

Secondly, does anyone know the time span between the President’s signature/approval and the actual execution? Is it likely to occur before the election or inauguration? If afterwards, it seems like a mighty fuck you to the incoming president. Even assuming McCain is pro-death penalty, I’d still like to think that when faced with an actual execution, it is a weighty matter. Making the decision for him is a shitty thing to do to another person.

Of course, assuming Obama is anti-death penalty, putting him in the politically precarious position of either allowing the execution to take place or commuting the sentence is an absolutely inhuman thing to—playing political Gotcha Ya with a human being’s life. Whether or not the person is repugnant or not should not diminish the atrocity that is using him in this manner.

Of course, if the execution is all set (post-appeals, etc.) and will take place prior to the election, then much of the above is moot.

And you would be wrong on that.

You want to be pissed about something, be pissed about the fact that the taxpayers have had to support this scumbag in jail instead of standing him in front of a wall and blowing his ass away 20 years ago.

Why, yes, I do support the death penalty. Why do you ask?

He can always commit suicide if he chooses to. That’s up to him.

He is not. One of my disagreements with him.

I am all in favor of assisted suicide for prison inmates, but not the death penalty.

No matter what-- unless requested by the prisoner.

Does that mean you’re going to take away the suicide watch in prisons, Frank? FTM, are you going to take away the moral responsibility of the guards and medical personnel attached to his prison to treat an unresponsive patient, even if the wounds appear to be self-inflicted?

Unless you’re advocating that, I don’t buy your alternative as being viable. Tell me you oppose my choice for moral reasons and I’ll have a good deal of respect for your position. This suggestion, on the other hand, seems utterly half-assed, and poorly thought out. I’m not trying to suggest that suicide in prisons is impossible, but it is something that we expect the guards to act to prevent. And often enough, the difference between preventing a suicide or taking out a body is simple chance or timing that could have gone the other way, just as easily. So, I reject your implication that suicide for a prisoner will always be an effective escape.
ETA: Boyo Jim, assisted suicide is something else altogether than what Frank seems to be proposing. For one thing, there’s far, far less chance of being left trying to aid a botched suicide attempt. For another, by its very nature, assisted suicide cannot happen without the guards’ knowing collusion. And with medical supervision. One of the reasons that assisted suicide is such a controversial topic.

If one is in a state where assisted suicide is legal for the terminally ill, I’d have no problem with that for inmates. But there should be the same protections in law and custom for the inmates as there would be for those people contemplating it outside the prisons, as well.

Holy Jesus, if anyone deserved the death penalty, it was this guy.

Thank you, Bush, for doing something right.

Easier said than done in a Max or Supermax facility. I’ve seen far, far more failed, genuine suicide attempts than successful suicides in prison.

While I’m philosophically & intellectually opposed to the death penalty, my emotions won’t be troubled by this execution.

A suicide watch is generally for new inmates, most of whom aren’t even in prison yet, but in jail, and generally distraught. I support keeping an eye on this sort till they settle down.

On the other hand, if someone who has been sentenced to life without parole decides that death is preferable, I support his right to suicide. He is the only one with the right to decide that, not you, not me.

Out of curiousity, in what way are my reasons for opposing the death penalty relevant to this line of discussion?

Ditto. The world will be a better place with this guy not a part of it anymore.

In what state of the US does a prisoner have a right to suicide?

AIUI, it’s also for any inmate who has shown behavior that indicates suicide is risk for them. As defined at the moment, the guards in a prison have a moral and legal obligation to act to preserve the health and welfare of the inmates in their charge. That this obligation is ignored all too often doesn’t change that it exists.

Well, considering we started this because of my reasons for a theoretical support of the death penalty, I assumed you were making the argument for suicide vice prison for the rest of the convict’s natural life to counter my reasoning posted earlier.

ETA: A question for Qadgop: Is one of the additional things for prisoners on Death Row, compared what the general population gets, a suicide watch?

Legally, they don’t. I know that. Nobody does. Everybody should.

Anyway, this all started with a comment that executing people instead of imprisoning them for life is mercy. I found that to be a facile comment. Not only are we executing him, we’re being merciful by doing it!

No idea. My state doesn’t have the death penalty.