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News Scan


Saddam Execution. Debra Saunders at the SF Chron quotes Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch saying, "The test of a government's commitment to human rights is measured by the way it treats its worst offenders." So if you let a mass murderer off with no punishment at all, you have reached the highest plane of enlightenment? Saunders considers this "nonsense." Second the motion.

Death Penalty. United Nations representatives, expecting a statement condemning the death penalty after the execution of Saddam Hussein, were disappointed when the new Secretary General Ban Ki-moon suggested on Tuesday that the world should remember the dictator's victims and leave the decision about capital punishment to each individual nation, as reported by Maggie Farley in today's Los Angeles Times. This is very big news. A quick web search found 740 news stories reporting on the Secretary General's remarkable statement.

Drugs. The Mexican government is sending over 3,000 troops to Tijuana in an effort to stem the smuggling of cocaine into the United States, according to a story reported yesterday by Reuters. Last year, over 2,000 people died as drug cartels fought for control of key smuggling routes between Mexico and the U.S.

Crime. Violent crime was down 2.6% in Los Angeles last year, according to an Associated Press story by Greg Risling. While gang violence has reportedly increased, the overall crime rate had dropped every year since William Bratton was appointed Chief of Police in 2002, making LA among the safest big cities in the country.


Judging from where Calderon has sent troops so far, he's going after the Gulf and Tijuana cartels, the latter already severely weakened by recent US prosecutions and seizures. The next question to my mind: Will he go after the Sinaloa gang, too, or is Calderon picking a winner by taking out Sinaloa's opposition in the ongoing cartel wars?

Your post piggybacking on Saunders' response to Richard Dicker is disingenuous. Obviously Dicker's point is not that mass murderers should be allowed to walk free, but rather that a society's decisions about punishment reflect its level of moral sophistication. Nobody is suggesting that we let killers loose. The point is simply that we should uphold a higher moral standard than the killers we presume to judge, and we should demonstrate that higher standard by affording even the worst people a basic level of humane treatment.

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