Board member and Philadelphia Chapter President Aja Beech has had her book of poems published! You can view and download the book here on our website. Choose the attached file "Beccaria_web.pdf" and be inspired.
Have you seen it? It's been all over the web today. I've seen it on facebook, in my email inbox, on various news sites. I even got a phone call asking if the buzz had reached this small office in Harrisburg. The Huffington Post's story seems to appear most often.
Here's their lead:
"Over an almost 35 year Supreme Court career, now retired Justice John
Paul Stevens said recently that the lone vote he regrets is one that he
cast to restore the death penalty in 1976."
I've heard Justice Stevens speak about this before and I've always admired his courage for publicly sharing his deep regrets about his decision and his wish to be able to go back and do it again. What struck me today is that there are some mistakes you just can't undo. There's no Do Over after an execution. We don't get to free the wrongfully accused, to apologize to him, to look him in the eye and say "We were wrong."
And what do we say to the victims' family when they find out that the person killed by the state was not the one who committed the crime? If after demanding "justice" for family members and insisting on the ultimate punishment, one realizes that an execution doesn't bring closure, doesn't honor the memory of the loved one and just leaves another family grieving for their loved one -- it's just too late. All we can do is share what we've learned and work to change the system that promotes revenge.
So, thank you, Justice Stevens, for reminding us to learn from our mistakes and saying that you've learned over time and changed your mind about the death penalty. Keep telling your story until our leaders hear you. Say it loud and often so that we all have to listen.
Here's another blog we recommend. http://www.capitaldefenseweekly.com/
You'll find contributions by our board co-chair, Karl Keys.