Bureaucrats’ Big Night
So, the great state o’Texas whacked yet another prisoner last night.
Texas, home of many, many, many fiercely proud, independence-minded, anti-government types, has killed more than 500 people since the death penalty was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 1976. Today, some 298 prisoners languish on death row in Texas prisons.
The guy who took the collar last night was a Mexican national. Few people would suggest he didn’t pump three slugs into the skull of a cop who’d arrested him after a drunken brawl in 1994. The only real controversy in the case was why Texas prosecutors denied him the opportunity to get legal help from the Mexican consulate.
Texas long has been known as the execution king of this holy land. Them good ol’ boys sure love to tie nooses, aim rifles at people’s hearts, or watch with glee as doctors inject lethal drugs into people’s arms.
Your Room Is Ready, Sir
Which is really ironic since everybody involved in a state-sponsored execution is…, well, an employee of one government or another. Papers must be shuffled, reams and reams of them. Food must be served to death row inmates. Their medical needs must be taken care of. Arrangements must be made, deadly drugs procured, and undertakers must be called.
All done by bureaucrats. From the time a suspected capital criminal is hauled in to the time he or she is separated from this vale, payrollers from the city, the county, the state, and, eventually, the federal government* get involved.
[*Capital punishment cases almost invariably are reviewed by the US Supreme Court.]
Funny that Texans — who are well-known to be suspicious of government-run health care, are petrified that the government has a secret plan to seize citizens’ shootin’ irons, absolutely loathe the fact the tax moneys are spent on food, education, and housing assistance, and, in general, fervently wish all governments would simply disappear from the face of the Earth — depend so passionately on bureaucrats and operatives paid for with our precious tax dollars to carry out state-sponsored homicide.
Texas, babies, is a weird country.
I will brook no argument against the following pronouncement:
This has been the worst winter I’ve experienced since The Loved One and I left Chi. in March, 2007.
Kirkwood Avenue (Herald Times/Jeremy Hogan photo)
One of the reasons I was convinced to leave that November-through-March hell was the prospect that I wouldn’t have to endure sub-zero temps and crushingly gray January days.
I’d always said that if my beloved former hometown didn’t have depressing, dangerous, often fatal winters, its population would at least double and possibly triple.
There’s nothing in the world like a late spring morning walk along Chicago’s lakefront. The waves lapping the shoreline, the sun rising over the distant watery horizon, the spectacular skyline opposite — why, it’s a slice of heaven. There are, I might reasonably estimate, two, perhaps three, such days to be had in each Chicago year.
So, my two years in Louisville followed by four mild winters here in Bloomington have convinced me we made the right move. Until now.
B-town, you’ve got a lot of making up to do.
Science Cafe czar Alex Straiker sez Mura is “quite passionate” about obesity. Odd that: she’s as thin as a rail. I probably could fit three of her into a single pair of my billowy dungarees.
The Science Cafe Gang*
In any case, I’ll be dropping by the Root Cellar to find out the scientific reason why I warp the floorboards. I hope to see you there, too.
[* (l to r) Jim Wager-Miller, Alex Straiker, Natasha Mura, and Marta Shocket.]
Thanks to everybody who has extended warm wishes and support as my family and I facilitate my mother’s journey out of this mortal coil.