Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Arizona State Rep. Juan Mendez opened up the daily session with a quote by Carl Sagan. 


    AZ lawmaker opens session with atheist 'prayer'

    At last some positive reporting on non-theistic legislators.

    Follow this link to read the full article

    And follow this link to read about the negative reaction of a fellow legislator

    Thursday, May 9, 2013

    Response to Dale Baich Death Penalty Presentation

    On April 21, 2013, the HSGP membership heard a presentation by Dale Baich titled "The Death Penalty:  Past, Present and Future".  A summary of the presentation can be viewed on our website by selecting the "Past Events" tab near the top of the page. 

    The presentation contained graphic descriptions of executions.  In response to these descriptions, member Susan Grunbaum submitted the following comments:

    It is my understanding that the center of Mr. Baich's lecture on April 21 was to stir sympathy for the abolishing of capital punishment. While I have no argument with this position, I do feel the need to speak up openly regarding his one-sided remarks.

    The macabre descriptions of botched executions did bring about the intended emotional impact that was clearly intended. The sympathy with which Mr. Baich delivered the most carefully chosen scenarios of executions stirred emotions in all of us, I'm sure. Quotes such as "head decapitated at one hanging", "I feel a little stings", using "invasive procedures" to open the femoral artery,  having to "clean up blood from the floor after the procedure", "first sedated, then convulsing until death", are indeed potent visuals. These descriptions left me stunned and unable to think clearly for about 20 minutes, long past the Q & A period. With a bit of time and separation from the source, I  would like to state my opinion on Mr. Baich's remarks.

    In fairness, he did say that these people were found guilty of "heinous, cruel and depraved acts". What he left out was the much more powerful story of the victims. I'm wondering just what heinous, cruel and depraved acts the victims endured at the hands of these murderers? I'm wondering if any were decapitated, as quickly and as humanely as they? I'm wondering if any cried out saying "I feel a little pain....its stings"? I think their victim's cries of desperation and agony at the hands of these depraved individuals were significantly different than the circumstances at the procedures of death the State afforded these criminals! I'm wondering what effects the victims' children, parents and siblings must now live with for the rest of their lives? I doubt that any would describe their pain and enduring loss as "a sting".

    I wonder how potent his argument would have been had he described in equally gruesome details the crimes that these offenders committed? Passionate and one-sided arguments are not what's needed to sway people's thinking and votes. Arguments must be made for cost containment and ways to curb violence.