blogadmin | 14 October, 2010 17:16
The ink is still drying on the European Union’s resolution Friday reaffirming their commitment to worldwide abolition of the death penalty.
You might call it a top-down approach from a part of the world that equates capital punishment with barbarism. In Texas, opposition to capital punishment comes from the bottom up. But there’s a lot percolating these days.
Along with tomorrow’s launch of the Journey of Hope visit to Houston, anti-death penalty activists are planning the 11th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty for Oct 30. Protesters will mass on the Capitol steps in Austin, expressing their opposition to a form of punishment that has increasingly isolated the U.S. and Texas in world politics.
With so many death penalty stories in the news, organizers predict a good crowd. Last year’s march was the largest since the annual protest began. I can confirm the crowd was big; I was there. People who had lost family members to the Texas death machine were effective, passionate speakers about the juggernaut the Texas death penalty has become.
They'll be in Austin again Oct. 30, along with Journey of Hope speakers who have lost relatives to murder and still oppose the death penalty -- even for the people who took the lives of their loved ones.
Surviving family members in a murder don’t arrive at their anti-death penalty stances lightly. I know, because my cousin, Gary Stein, was murdered while a scholarship undergraduate at Yale.
None of the half-dozen young men who participated in his fatal mugging – for Gary’s watch, no less -- was executed for his murder. I’m fine with that. His murderers deserved to be brought to justice, and they were. Putting to death even one of them wouldn't have brought the "closure" prosecutors are so fond of invoking when they seek the death penalty. I believe an execution would only have been a grotesque reenactment of the crime that took Gary’s life.
I still wish my cousin Gary were here. But I don’t wish for the death penalty. I wish for its end, in Texas and around the world. Be it resolved.
Editor's Note: This piece first came out as a news commentary broadcast Oct. 14, 2010, on Pacifica Station KPFT Houston, 90.1 FM.
Elizabeth Ann Stein produces EXECUTION WATCH on KPFT FM Houston 90.1, HD-2 and www.executionwatch.org. The program, hosted by Ray Hill, airs at 6 p.m. Central Time any day Texas executes someone. It is designed to counteract the virtual news blackout in the mainstream media when prisoners are executed. She has worked as a political reporter for United Press International, police reporter at a daily newspaper, and an editor for PC Week.