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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…

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Human beings quietly design these dungeons where other human beings go insane.

"Un camp de concentration se construit comme un stade ou un grand hôtel, avec des entrepreneurs, des devis, de la concurrence, sans doute des pots-de-vin.
Pas de style imposé, c’est laissé à l’imagination : style alpin, style garage, style japonais, sans style. Les architectes inventent calmement ces porches destinés à n’être franchis qu’une seule fois.
Pendant ce temps, Burger, ouvrier allemand, Sterne, étudiant juif d'Amsterdam, Schmulszki, marchand de Cracovie, Annette, lycéenne de Bordeaux, vivent leur vie de tous les jours sans savoir qu’ils ont déjà, à mille kilomètres de chez eux, une place assignée.
Et le jour vient où leurs blocks sont terminés, où il ne manque plus qu’eux."
-- Jean Cayrol, Nuit et Brouillard
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