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Showing posts with label death penalty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label death penalty. Show all posts

02 May 2011

Coming up for air for Obama and Osama

I just can't believe it's been so long since I've written here. Then again I haven't written at my PhD blog since midterm! I think the lack of blogging sums up how ferociously tough this semester has been.

So much has happened in the world, in my life that I wish I had time to write about. Of course this is where I slap myself for thinking that my voice missing for a few weeks is a big deal.

I'm a practical lady. I understand that sometimes you need to something you don't like to keep things moving. Like say release one's birth certificate three years after you've become President of the U.S.A. to prove one's citizenship. It doesn't mean that I don't realize how racist and hateful the request is. Friends have made comments about it harkens back to slave days when free slaves had to carry their papers with them. But the best statement about the birthers demand to see President Obama's birth certificate was made by Baratunde (who is not a friend friend, but I'm friends with some of his peeps.):



Then just a few days after telling the world that he/we had more important things to focus on, President Obama freaked out everyone by calling a press conference at 9:30 pm Chicago time on a Sunday. ON A SUNDAY! Twitter didn't know what to do with itself. We were making jokes about the zombie apocalypse, speculating that we were going all in to remove Gaddafi from Libya and even just dumb jokes about the President only wanting to interrupt "Celebrity Apprentice." Then word got out that it was about Osama bin Laden, that we just might have killed him. The jokes continued as we impatiently awaited our President to tell the world what happened. Sure word leaked onto Twitter and slowly the TV news folks let the cat out of the bag. But I wouldn't fully believe it until President Obama said it.

And then he did.

I fully admit to feeling elated that bin Laden was removed from this world. And it wasn't the fear of retribution that got me to reel that feeling in. It was my conscience. I came to this fight for justice in the world via Amnesty International and my belief that an eye for an eye is never justice. Even if we had brought bin Laden in for a jury to decide to put him to death, it wouldn't be justice. Sadly, I'm afraid I can't think of what justice could be in terms of bin Laden. There are too many feelings. Contradictory feelings. Then a few friends on Facebook posted a MLK Jr. quote that lead me to this full and correct quote:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation."
--Martin Luther King, Jr. [link]
Justice can't be found through bin Laden. It can only be found through us. How we go about the world. How we treat each other. How much love and light we put into the universe.

This morning we decided to talk to our daughter about bin Laden. My husband has a different view than I do. But he presented his view to her and I presented mine. She's only 7 1/2, so I don't expect her have much of an opinion other than "Happy the evil guy is gone." I think I struggled more with trying to explain "evil" to her than the difference in Mommy and Daddy's opinion. She's use to us disagreeing.

I'm still struggling with my emotions over all of this. I remember all too well what bin Laden did to this world. While I was not in NYC that day in 2001, I had friends, close friends who were. I remember hitting my listservs and asking for people to check in. We didn't have Facebook, Twitter or too many blogs. I remember calling Jenn Pozner and letting out the biggest sigh when she answered. But I was in Chicago and no one knew what was happening. My husband worked at a museum and I at a university. Both, we were told by the media, could be targets. We were back home before lunch. I'm not being an idiot about this. But I know I'm not being 100% practical about this either. Life is messy like that.

17 November 2009

There will never be closure in the Nicarico case

Originally posted at the AWEARNESS blog

There will never be closure in the Nicarico case as long as Jim Ryan continues to run for public office.

The Nicarico family never missed a court date. For years they sat in courtroom after courtroom listening to the lies from Attorney Jim Ryan's team as they refused to admit their mistakes and consider Brian Dugan as a suspect. Instead, Ryan kept the case rolling along to wrongfully convict two innocent men and send them to death row.

Jim Ryan is now running for Illinois Governor and "spent a decade as DuPage state's attorney, previously had said he based his case against Cruz and Hernandez on the best information available at the time, though Dugan had long been a suspect in the crime." As I have said before in this space, the Nicarico case made a significant impact on my life. As a child it taught me to make sure the doors are locked. As a teen it taught me the harsh realities of racism in our judicial system.

Now that Brian Dugan has confessed and been sentenced to death, Ryan is apologizing. Not to Rolando Cruz, not to the Nicaricos, but to the voting public. Will we accept it? I can't. I simply can't accept his apology, especially since he has never given one to Cruz.

The fact that Ryan continues to run for public office only reminds us of the miscarriage of justice that occurred. The pain that he put not just the Nicaricos through, but an entire generation of Chicagoans. And it's not over. This case will be an issue throughout the primary election. Dugan still has one automatic appeal owed to him: Illinois has a moratorium on the death penalty. Amazingly, the huge flaws seen in this case alone are still not enough to convince people that we need to abolish the death penalty.

According to Amnesty International "ninety three percent of all known executions took place in five countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA." I think that says a lot about the United States as a country. As our moms have said, we are judged by the company we keep.

I am opposed to the death penalty because it drags out court proceedings (thus wasting money), it is racist, but most importantly because we are flawed as human beings. The Nicarico case screams with our flaws. I don't believe any set of checks and balances can ensure that we won't make a mistake, especially in a country where we are still debating whether people have a right to NOT be framed or a right to DNA testing to prove innocence.

And sorry Jim Ryan, but no apology can make up for all of that.

29 November 2005

Jeanine & Rolando

Reposted from my old blog...

Even as a child I watched the news and followed some things as closely as possible. Certain things stick out in my head. Obvious ones like the Challenger explosion, but less obvious ones like Jeanine Nicarico's murder. Maybe it was because we were close in age. In 1983, she was 10 and I was 8. Maybe it was all the media hype around it. Maybe my mom said something about it. I'm sure she did, I just don't recall what. But her murder left a deep impression on me.

I've blogged many times that my introduction to grassroots organizing came from Amnesty International. It was in that classroom that I also learned more about the death penalty and how unjust it had been doled out in this country. I went to a AI student conference that talked about all the stats on how racist and classist it was. Then someone talked about Rolando Cruz. All the evidence made sense to a 15-year-old. That Cruz had been framed by over eager (with justification) prosecutors and police officers. That Brian Dugan was the real murderer. What I didn't get is how stupid the Nicaricos could be. How could they look at the evidence and not see how the police messed up?

Of course I grew up and realized that the Nicaricos had lost a child. That when you lose a child logic goes out the window. The hubby had a murder in his extended family and a family member was sent to prison for it. The mother of the victim still refuses to believe that her family member did it. That's how far logic goes out the window. So instead I feel bad for the Nicaricos and I wish that this whole thing was settled so they can move on with their lives. That they could live their lives and remember Jeanine the way they want and not have to make plans to sit in court and hear, yet again, the details of their daughter's death.

But that's not to be. Today may be the day that the DuPage State's Attorney will finally indict Brian Dugan of Jeanine's murder.

Sadly the main point that hinges on whether Dugan will have to sit thru a trial or plead guilty is the matter of the death penalty. Of course, he doesn't want it and the victims' families do. Dugan is currently serving time for other murders.

And that simple fact is why I am opposed to the death penalty. How fast could this case had been wrapped up if the death penalty had not been an option? Why haggle for 20 years on whether or not to charge someone with a crime that they confessed to?

My heart breaks that this case is still out there. That Jeanine has not had justice served. That the media will create another circus out of this tragedy.

Of course, I oppose the death penalty on so many other levels: racism, classism, morals, the inability for humans to be 100% certain of anything, and how the death penalty interferes with justice being served in a timely manner.

=======================

I get it now. Jeanine's death marked the end of my innocence. From that day on, I could never be alone at home without feeling like something might happen. Feeling safe at home was never an option again. Maybe with some conclusion I can feel safe again. But I doubt it.

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