I'm writing this over the 4th of July weekend, thinking about our freedoms..and our rights..including what many nations lack--the right to protest what we feel are unfair laws and decisions.
I'm reminded of the recent death of a little known Kentuckian, Carl Wedekind of Louisville. He was a long time civil libertarian and advocate to abolish the death penalty..though he started his professional career as a corporate lawyer for a conservative firm.
The death penalty in Kentucky has been much in the news of late..especially when the courts banned our use of certain chemicals to kill people (and the state's attempt to get around that ruling.) But there's more..including the case of a man who has been on death row for a murder 32 years ago who won the right for a DNA test in his case..a test not available when he was convicted.
Is he innocent? That's to be determined, but in another case a man on death row elsewhere was freed after 29 years when DNA testing found him innocent.
Those who favor the death penalty decry the years it takes for cases finally to be settled..and their costs. That's understandable, but who's at fault..the person in the case or our courts and how they operate under the law? There's been a movement to limit all appeals to 10 or 15 years..which makes sense to some...until you learn of those cases, as above, where justice miscarried well beyond 10 or 15 years ago.
I won't here recite all the argument, including the religious ones, that compel me to oppose capital punishment..but I will use this holiday to say "Thank you Carl Wedekind" and all those who went before for a nation that honors "LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."