The buzz over Pennsylvania's planned execution of Philadelphia admitted killer Terrence Williams just keeps getting louder and louder. Tonight I saw this form from the Pennsylvania ACLUthat can let you plead for Williams' life to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons (I guess Tom Corbett is a lost cause) and I imagine you'll see a lot more as Williams' date with state-sponsored death grows closer. It's been a couple of generations since someone in Pennsylvania who didn't want to die was executed, which is one reason why this is such a big deal even as down in the Deep South they scour to globe to get enough lethal injection drugs.
The legal back-and-forthhas basically centered on the issue of whether Williams was sexually abused by the two men he killed, a big-time mitigating factor that -- to a lot of observers -- is a powerful reason to block the execution. That said, I've found the counter-argument -- that the extent and viciousness of Williams' crimes went way beyond a crime of passion, and that most sexual-abuse victims don't kill their attackers (note: Jerry Sandusky is still alive) to be a strong case for the other side.
But in the end, it doesn't matter. The state of Pennsylvania must not kill Terrence Williams, period. It's bad enough that too many innocent or potentially innocent people are on Death Row across the nation. Williams is not one of these, nor is the cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, but the guilty should not get the death penalty either.
No one should be executed. The death penalty is not only barbaric, but pursuing it is a massive waste of my tax dollars and yours. It's something we have in common with the likes of China and Iran...and virtually none of industrialized allies in the world. If most of civilization has nixed the death penalty, then -- in the infamous nomenclature of Philadelphia Phillies fans everywhere -- why can't us?