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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

Saudi Arabia Urges Need For Death Penalty After Sharp Rise In ‘Homosexual’ Arrests

Citing a threat to the “social fabric” of the nation, the Saudi Arabian judiciary is proposing the death penalty for men found guilty of engaging in or soliciting homosexual activity as well as “men’s attempts to look like women.”

Describing them as “perverts,” officials have noted the deleterious effects social media are having on their citizenry. They note the recent appearance of the hashtag #I_am_gay_will_not_be_deterred as proof of the potential upheaval this devout Muslim nation could face if stronger measures are not adopted.

“Some defended an individual’s freedom to express his sexuality, while most users said that homosexuality is a transgression and a capital offense. “It has nothing to do with freedom, it’s breaching the laws of Allah,” wrote one commenter on Twitter. “When a man has sex with another man, God is trembling.”

A recent spate of news has emerged indicating the seriousness nature of the punishment people face when accused of anything remotely ‘gay.’ As we reported here Monday, a doctor was arrested after hanging a rainbow flag outside his home. (He was released on his own recognizance, stating he did not know of the flag’s symbolism and only hung it because his child found the colors ‘pretty.’)

At the same time, Okaz, a Saudi Arabian daily based out of Jeddah, reports that a man in his 50s was arrested for making online sexual advances to men. While being questioned, he begged police to forgive him and said he wouldn’t do it again.

Combating homosexuality remains one of the major goals of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), along with its campaign against consumption of alcohol and the practice of magic. 

Source: The Gaily Grind, Victor Hoff, March 30, 2016

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