Tuesday, May 10, 2005

On Michael Ross

Someone posted this to the Abolish listserv and I think it is one of most brilliant things I have read in some time.

You may know that Michael Ross has dropped his appeals and is scheduled to be executed by the state of Connecticut at about 2 a.m. Friday. Ross has been convicted of murdering four women, has confessed to murdering four more and three times since his original conviction he has tried to kill himself.

Here's what was written on Abolish about this whole sordid affair:

Ross, who has demonstrated on at least 8 occasions that he has no regard whatsoever for the preciousness of human lives, and has shown on at least 3 other occasions that he has no regard for his own life, has decided that he will have the State of Connecticut kill him.

Let's look at this closely. A guy who doesn't care about life at all (his own or others') manages to require the state's killing aparatus (read: us) to kill him. And the Governor, the courts, his father, his sister, his lawyers, the people of Connecticut, including the families of his victims, either are not inclined to do so, or are powerless to think of a legal way to prevent the suicide.

That's right. Powerless. Exactly what Ross did to his victims he is now doing to us. He's making us know we are powerless to stop him. He's telling us that his desires are important and that ours are irrelevant. And that he can do whatever it is he wishes to us despite (to borrow a phrase from the rape statutes) our earnest resistance.

As long as there is a death penalty law, as long as people are sentenced to death, they will be able to do this to us. If the death penalty makes sense at all, and I don't think it ever does, it's when the person to be killed resists. But when someone with no value for life manages to get us, that's you and me, to mete out to him the very murderous behavior we condemn in him, something is very, very wrong. Are we the new Michael Ross? Do we share his values? Do we act as he would have us act?

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