28 May 2009

I'm not always sure

Next week, the state of Ohio is scheduled to execute Daniel Wilson for his murder of Carol Lutz in 1991. It was the 2nd time in his 21 years of life that he was responsible for the death of another human being. Wilson acknowledges his guilt. He is not claiming that he is innocent of the crime for which he is supposed to die. For reasons that (if you believe his confession) even he does not know, Wilson locked a 24 year old woman in the trunk of a car for a number of hours before puncturing the gas tank and lighting the car on fire with her in the trunk.

Prosecutors argued that he deliberated his course of action and chose to kill Ms. Lutz rather than risk incarceration by releasing her. He let her out of the trunk once to use the bathroom and spoke with her for a while as she plead for him to let her go. He also tried unsuccessfully to start the fire and chose to try again. Being burnt alive must be an horrific way to die and I feel sickened at the thought of it. On some level, execution by leathal injection seems hardly a fit retrobution for such an inhuman act, even with Ohio's shakey history of administration of lethal injection.

In the recently published report of the Ohio Parole Board of their clemency hearing,(pdf) the parole board included a handwritten statement from Daniel Wilson. (see image above for end of statement) When I think of how awful Ms. Lutz' final moments must have been, I cannot help feeling that a person capable of doing something so awful should not be allowed to continue to occupy space on this earth. I'm horrified, disgusted, and feel a desire for revenge on behalf of the victim and her family.

And here we encounter a problem. We, as a nation, do not really know what we want with regards to convicted criminals. Is the purpose of the legal system to exact revenge? Or are we, as we pretend, really seeking Justice?

Let's pretend that the purpose of the Justice System is to try to find some form of justice. Execution changes nothing. Carol Lutz will be just as dead and that death will have been every bit as horrific the day after Daniel Wilson's execution as the day he is killed. In 18 years, Daniel Wilson has become an adult, he has found ways to serve and to benefit his community behind bars. It is, perhaps, arguable that he is not the same person who walked into prison at the age of 21 with a juvenile criminal record that stretched back 9 years prior to that event. Wilson's lawyers are arguing that the sentencing jury was improperly instructed, that they were not allowed to consider his ugly childhood after being abandoned in his father's custody when his mother fled their abusivehome, and that they were not instructed about how to propperly consider the effect that large quantities of alcohol might have had on Wilson's reasoning. They would like the courts to award Wilson a new sentencing hearing where those facts (and hopefully the last 18 years of model prisoner behavior) will be taken into consideration.

Intellectually, I know that the death penalty is not a deterant. In Europe, where they've made elimination of the death penalty a condition of membership in the EU, there has not been an increase in previously capitol offenses now that the death penalty is no longer a potential punishment. The whole process, trial, sentencing, appeals, separate death row facilities, etc costs so much more than the cost of imprisoning someone for life without the possiblity without parole. There is, unfortunately, a very real possiblity of terrible errors resulting in wrongful execution. There are a great many logical reasons why I oppose the death penalty and hope that Gov. Strickland will commute Daniel Wilson's sentence to life without parole. I've spoken to family members of murder victims who opposed the death penalty for their loved-one's killer and to those who witnessed the execution of the murderer who cut short the life of someone they held dear. Closure is a myth.

That said, emotionally I'm torn. And I'm running out of time for this internal debate.

03 April 2009

Catching up... Part 1

I made a conscious decision as I sat down to write this not to look at any of my previous posts. In particular, I made a decision to avoid checking the date of my last update. I knew that if I actually confirmed for myself how long it had been since I had last written, I wouldn't be able to actually write anything. I'm like that sometimes... I allow myself to become so overwhelmed with the imagined scope of a project that I cannot find a starting point or a piece of it that I can begin to accomplish.

I have this whole list of things that I want to write about. Some of the posts would be long, possibly even epic, others would be short. I need to write about the process that my husband and I are going through as we try to make a real decision about Sprout's schooling next year. We are 90% decided on a course of action but I think that we each have a couple of minor issues that we want to iron out (and at least one really big issue...) I feel like I know what would be best for Sprout in terms of her academic development and we're not really worried about her social development. (For reasons that we cannot understand, Sprout is extremely social and we make a real effort to give her appropriate outlets for her social impulses...) For me, the big issue is that I'm not sure that what is best for Sprout is the best thing for me. I can't help wondering how much benefit there is for her in doing what is academically best for her but (in some ways) the worst thing for me.

The other big news in AndiLand is that I'm going out of business... This probably comes as little or no surprise to anyone. There are several reasons for the decision. The first, and probably most important is that I suck as a business woman. I just don't have the right mindset or organizational skills. More importantly, I don't really feel inspired to get into the right mindset or learn the organizational skills. I love making things, but beyond that, I'm just treading water.

What that means for the blog is... If you're following me for business reasons and you haven't been so discouraged by the lack of any real developments before now to run in the other direction, this might be the time to depart. I do hope to return to my studio, someday... For now, I'm content to knit or crochet (lately I've really enjoyed crocheting lace trim on doll clothing) or needle felt or whatever. I have hopes that there's a job in ceramics for me somewhere on the horizon but for now my focus will be on Sprout, my health, my family, etc... The truth is that most of what I've created in the last 6 months to a year has been work that couldn't possibly pay. I've spent countless hours working on felt dolls with no hope of ever being able to sell them for a price that would pay me for any of my time. But I have made them because it makes me happy to make them and keeping track of time and trying to put a price on them is a sure-fire way to ensure that I'll loose interest in short order. For at least the next year, I hope to concentrate on allowing myself to follow these impulses. Spend the time, make the things that I want or need to make, and try to drive all thoughts of saleability out of my mind.

So, yeah, I mentioned my health above and should probably follow up on that. I have a new family doctor and will probably be seeing a new prescribing psychiatrist/therapist in the near future for dealing with my depression. For the last few weeks, I have been trying to adjust my family schedule to allow me to return to bellydance and/or water aerobics. This morning my doctor informed me that in addition to the rapid heartbeat that I've just considered a fact of my life since jr high school, I have some alarming irregularities in my heartbeat and that she doesn't want me to return to bellydance or water aerobics until I get an all clear from a cardiologist. This is priority 1, according to the doctor, and we can begin to look at other issues. (Issues including but not limited to the potentially addictive miracle drug that the pill sherrif put me on to make up for the failings of the two anti-depressants I was already taking. I have to admit that I don't want her to take me off of the provigil because I feel as though it has given me back my life.)

22 January 2009

What I've been doing instead of blogging

You know what the real problem with needle felting is... if you stab yourself in the fingers often enough, it hurts to type.

If you enjoy it enough, these results almost make it worth being unable to brag about what you're doing on your blog...