Every now and again, a single line from a news story serves as both a wake-up call and a window of revelation. I just read such a line in the story about the sentencing of Anthony Sowell.
Acting on the jury's recommendation, an Ohio judge sentenced Sowell to death for kidnapping and murdering 11 women over a two year period starting in 2007. The defendant's apparent reason for kidnapping the women was to rape them; their corpses were found nude from the waist down. The story continues (emphasis added):
Sowell, 51, never looked at victims' relatives as they spoke during the sentencing hearing. He also ignored the judge when asked if he wanted to speak....Sowell's defense team, John Parker and Rufus Sims, rested without calling witnesses and instead focused on sparing his life with sympathetic testimony about his troubled childhood, his Marine Corps service, and good behavior while serving 15 years for attempted rape.
In academic debates, we hear various, frequently abstract reasons for ending capital punishment. Here, by contrast, we have a specific case and a specific killer. What we get are no witnesses, combined with the notion that a serial rapist-killer should be spared because -- all together now -- he refrained from slugging the prison guards while serving his prior 15 year sentence for attempted rape.
Do these people even hear themselves?