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The Real Machinery of Death

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"Machinery of death" is a favorite phrase of the abolitionist movement.  It was invented by Justice Harry Blackmun in order to justify his constitutionally obtuse, mostly lonely, and ever-so-sanctimonious opposition to the death penalty.

A better example of the actual "machinery of death" was put out of business this week by the Commonwealth of Virginia when, after years of courtroom battles, it executed Alfred Prieto.  Prieto had been convicted of "only" four murders, but was almost certainly responsible for nine.  Talk about a "machinery of death."  (He also raped four of his victims before killing them).

In the typical last-minute pitch, cobbled together more from abolitionist lore than from facts, his lawyers argued that he was mentally defective.  That argument did not garner a single vote I know about in all the many years this case has been in litigation.  In a different context, making an argument of that character would be called "fraud." In this one, it's called "due process."

The Washington Post has an excellent article written by a reporter, Tom Jackman, who witnessed the execution. Originally, I was going to link the article simply because it has photos of five of the victims, but I also found, after reading it, that it contains many, many insights from a journalist who actually took the trouble to research his story.  I commend it to our readers.

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