In the Company of Wolves
Ten years ago, a hate-filled white supremacist creature burst into a convenience store in Dallas, saw a dark-skinned man behind the counter, and shot him in the face with a shotgun. Then he sought out 2 more stores being operated by people with dark complexions and he shot them to death. When the cold-blooded killer, Mark Stroman, was captured, he said he was seeking vengeance for the 9/11 attacks on America. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.
Now, Rais Bhuiyan, the man whose face was partly blown away, causing blindness in one eye, says he forgives Stroman and wants a stay of execution. Mr. Bhuiyan wants his attacker's life spared to "end the cycle of hatred, violence and death and to afford Stroman the chance to rehabilitate and renounce hate." In addition, he says he wants the chance to meet and, possibly, reconcile with the man who tried to take his life. Bhuiyan has petitioned the court seeking an order to stay the execution until he can enjoy his right under state law for victim-offender mediation. The victim, a native of Bangladesh, says he has the support of the families of the two men who were fatally shot, Waqar Hasan, originally of Pakistan, and Vasudev Patel, of India.
Mr. Stroman has a long criminal record, including stints in jail for robbery and credit card fraud. In a July 13 note posted on his blog (yes, the creep is given access to a blog), Mr. Stroman wrote that the last few days before his scheduled execution had been strangely rewarding. "It is definitely an experience that has already molded me into a new person," he wrote. "I've seen so many people worldwide trying to save my life in the last few days and weeks and it's a surreal feeling. It's like my life is flashing right before my eyes. As I said in an earlier blog ... the closer I get to my death, Peace I seem to find."
These types of appeals have become all too common and they do not serve the ends of justice or help to protect other potential victims. Everyone who ends up on Death Row either spends their time (and taxpayer money) appealing their crimes via the use of computer access to the Internet and/or suddenly becoming religious. This much attention and sympathy for thugs like this only encourages other thugs to do the same thing.
Frankly, I'm tired of hearing people say that the death penalty is just and act of revenge or retribution. Well, what's wrong with that? I think it's way past the time that we cry out for revenge against those who would kill innocent people in cold blood without a scintilla of compassion for human life. These savages make us afraid, even as we try to avoid dangerous situations. Hence, why shouldn't we make them afraid after they've been caught and convicted?
Legal penalties were put in place to protect the innocent. But, those penalties are worthless if they can be bent and molded to appear toothless and imbued with a bleeding-heart mentality that will always be there for the living defendant, but not for the dead victim. Using religion to escape punishment is tantamount to asking for sympathy because you're an orphan, after you've been convicted of killing your parents. Where were their religious beliefs when they were planning and carrying out their vicious homicides? Religion shouldn't be viewed as body armor, to be donned only when trying to avoid the consequences of one's evil deeds.
Furthermore, to those who say capital punishment doesn't work, I say the hand-wringing liberals in this country never gave it a chance to work. A death sentence means, on average, about 15 years of appeals, retrials, and the usual assortment of imbeciles wanting to marry the inmate because of some perverted sense of affection and love. In order for capital punishment to work, after sentencing, the murderer should be taken directly from the court to the execution chamber. Then we'd get a fair appraisal of the efficacy of the system.
The criminal mind that risks incarceration and execution knows very well how the system works. Those who take that risk do so because they know there will always be some teary-eyed lapdog purring and cooing over the "misunderstood product of a disadvantaged childhood." That is an extremely dangerous philosophy because it provides a "get out of jail free card" mentality to anyone who grew up under impoverished conditions and it makes society the scapegoat for their crimes.
We'll never fully understand what possesses someone like Mr. Bhuiyan to ask for sympathy for someone who had none for him or the other victims. Nevertheless, we as a society must not become so wobbly in our administration of justice that we demonstrate a sheepish demeanor in the company of wolves.