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Texas: With a man's execution days away, his victims react with fury or forgiveness

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For the past 3 months, Christopher Anthony Young has awoken in his 10-by-6 foot concrete cell on death row and had to remind himself: He's scheduled to die soon.
As the day crept closer, the thought became more constant for Young, who's sentenced to die for killing Hasmukh "Hash" Patel in 2004.
"What will it feel like to lay on the gurney?" he asks himself. "To feel the needle pierce my vein?"
Mitesh Patel, who was 22 when Young murdered his father, has anxiously anticipated those moments, as well. He wonders how he will feel when he files into the room adjacent to the death chamber and sees Young just feet away through a glass wall.
For years, Patel felt a deep hatred for Young. He wanted to see him die. Patel knew it wouldn't bring his father back. But it was part of the process that started 14 years ago when Young, then 21, gunned down Hash Patel during a robbery at Patel's convenience store on the Southeast Side of San Antonio.
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Proposition 62 Would Finally Halt The 'Machinery of Death' in California

San Quentin's brand new death chamber
San Quentin's brand new death chamber
45 years ago in a bone-chilling, blood-curdling cover story for The Los Angeles Free Press about California's gas chamber - "How Long Can You Hold Your Breath?" - author, musician and beatnik activist Ed Sanders, decried state-sponsored, taxpayer funded executions as a "ritual of filth." Sanders exhorted: "Isn't it time to crush that cruel nose-cone at San Quentin in the jaws of the nearest auto compactor or in the nearest junk yard?"

Close to half a century later - but, better late than never - when Californians head to the polls on Nov. 8, we can do just what Ed Sanders suggested: We can toss out what former Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun called our broken and vile 'machinery of death," relegating it to the dust-heap of our shared, dark, wayward humanity.

If we vote for Proposition 62 and against Proposition 66, we can finally be rid of the gruesome gas chamber which Sanders wrote, "drools for its next victim." It might surprise you to know this man-made room of depravity with its glistening, antiseptic floor, could under current California law, still be used.

And what about those grim, ghastly gurneys and the nasty life-sucking needles, no better than chemical nooses? They'll be gone for good if we just vote for Proposition 62 and against Proposition 66.

If we vote for Proposition 62 and against Proposition 66 (which promises to speed up executions, but underneath its sheen, is nothing more than 24 carat fool's gold), California can forever be free of the infamy of having executed an innocent person - that is, if we haven't done so already. With the too-large number of exonerations of the wrongfully convicted in California and nationally, a number that keeps rising as faithfully as the tide, it may be too late for us to prevent such an abomination - but what does it say about us as human beings if we don't act now to prevent more!?

My fellow citizens, if we just vote for Proposition 62 and against Proposition 66, finally, we can put an end to the extremely costly, time-sapping, never-ending death penalty appeals that have clogged and paralyzed our court system for decades, and that would do so even more under Proposition 66. If we just vote for Proposition 62 and against Proposition 66, we can end the ghoulish grandstanding over the procurement and planning by our elected officials to administer potentially defective, death-inducing drugs to our citizens - drugs that have the potential, as we've seen in recently botched executions around the country, to torture - thereby demeaning us all.

At least 18 death row inmates in California are out of appeals and ripe for execution; 730 more are in the pipeline, ready to follow suit. We can exterminate them all, and going forward we can choose to kill the many hundreds and thousands of Californians that will sadly, but as surely as human nature, take their place. We can do so in the name of so-called "justice," and on behalf of the great state of California.

Or, finally, as the Los Angles Free Press implored close to a half a century ago, we can as free Californians break from the yoke of state-endorsed murder - a vulgar practice of vengeance that has masqueraded far too long in this country as "justice."

If we do that - if we Californians vote for Proposition 62 and against Proposition 66 - we can fulfill the hopeful promise of our goodness as a people upon which the Eighth Amendment of our United States Constitution depends. In 1958, the Honorable Earl Warren, a native Californian, our state's 30th governor, and a former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote that the Eighth Amendment "must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society." If we vote for Proposition 62 and against Proposition 66, our standards of decency will finally have evolved such that we can mark - I daresay, we can celebrate - the progress of the maturing society conscientious Californians long have craved.

Source: timesofsandiego.com, Stephen Cooper, July 24, 2016. Mr Cooper is a former Washington, D.C., public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015.


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

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