Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tennessee's scapegoat

In ancient Athens, pharmakoi, composed of slaves, cripples, criminals and prisoners of war, were ritually expelled or sacrificed when social disorder became unmanageable. With the expulsion or sacrifice of human pharmakoi by a priest-medicine man, law and order was restored. Athenians, uniting against a common enemy, placed the blame for the social ills of their community on powerless scapegoats. The "fix" being temporary, Athenian society eventually collapsed because the ritual cycle of human sacrifice never resolved the social sicknesses of their society.

Nashville, known as the "Athens of the South," with its replica of the ancient Parthenon and its academies of higher learning, has pharmakoi, too. At Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, the state of Tennessee ritually and lethally injects pharmaceutical poisons into death row prisoners while unresolved hatreds pollute the well-being of its people.

The case of Daryl Holton is a classic example of a modern-day scapegoat. Holton has a history of mental illness, had abysmal representation at trial and now faces an execution date and time of Wednesday at 1 a.m.

(Daryl Holton was executed by electrocution early this morning. To continue reading this outstanding op-ed by Rev. Elbon Kilpatrick, published in the Jackson Sun, go here.)

No comments: