Tuesday, June 02, 2009

200th Execution in Texas under Gov Rick Perry

A short time ago, the State of Texas killed Terry Lee Hankins. The crime attributed to him was heinous and many will say his end was deserved. I know nothing of the details of his case, what, if any defense he presented. But I ponder tonight the number: 200. Two hundred people put to death under Rick Perry, killed by a system that too often, we know, gets it wrong. As Dallas DA Craig Watkins said last week on Larry King Live, "only the naive would think we haven't put an innocent man to death."

And my thoughts go to Governor Rick Perry's children and grandchildren. What legacy will they carry? The author of The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, lived in Salem, Massachusetts, the descendant of William Hathorne, a stern magistrate who ordered the public whipping of Quakers who dared intrude on Puritan turf. William's son, John, was a judge who presided over the Salem witch trials, which resulted in the executions of 20 men and women.

Nathaniel Hawthorne struggled his whole life to come to an understanding of his family's legacy. He changed the spelling of his surname, adding a 'w' to it. An act of self-assertion, or one of inherited shame?

No comments: