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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 5, 2014 / 5 Iyar, 5774

Remember the cruel and unusual death

By Christine M. Flowers




JewishWorldReview.com | Let me, for a brief moment, put on my lawyer’s hat. The Eighth Amendment barring cruel and unusual punishment is not a suggestion. It is a mandate carved in stone. We do not torture, we do not cause undue suffering, we do not stretch the bounds of humanity in the name of vengeance.

Now let me toss that hat to the side.

The merits of the death penalty have been and will continue to be debated as long as justice is viewed through a personal prism. I believe that a society must impose the most draconian punishment for the most heinous crimes, otherwise we do violence to the humanity of the victim. Others have a legitimate, heartfelt and sober belief that the government has no right to essentially “murder” one of its citizens.

But this concern for process, which is important, shouldn’t turn our focus away from the fundamental issue: Capital punishment is legal and constitutional; the cold-blooded murder of innocents is not.

News reports about the 43-minute execution of Clayton Lockett focused on him writhing in pain. This, of course, is horrible. Even a rabid animal elicits sympathy when it’s in the final, foaming agony.

But few mentioned the reason Lockett was on that gurney in the first place with an IV strapped to his arm, the reason that his life was justifiably forfeit: Stephanie Neiman.

Stephanie was shot by Lockett, who then stood by and watched his accomplices bury her alive. I’m guessing that her agony lasted a bit longer than 43 minutes.

It is obviously true that two wrongs do not make a right, but there is really only one wrong here, and that is the vicious extermination of an innocent woman. The botched execution of her murderer is troubling from a procedural standpoint, but it should not blind us to the true tragedy in this case.

The Lockett case is a textbook study in how pro- and anti-death-penalty activists view the issue. Opponents of capital punishment, who are generally but not necessarily liberals, feel that all life (except the unborn variety) is sacred and that society has no right to destroy it even in those cases when this would balance the scales on an “eye for an eye” basis.

Those like me, who favor the death penalty for the most violent and despicable crimes, feel that we are bound by a social contract, and that when it’s broken by an act that falls below the lowest human threshold of decency the appropriate response is execution. Many of us are conservatives, but there are also a good number of liberals and libertarians who have no problem with snuffing out the life of an unrepentant murderer.



Again, this is really not about the morality or legality of the death penalty. It is indeed legal, and while it can be circumscribed by squeamish state governments or limited by the Eighth Amendment, it will remain on the books for generations to come. The morality question is a little tougher, since there are billions of separate moral systems, each bearing the imprint of our separate DNA, but what some see as judicially approved murder others (like me) see as justifiable homicide. Or better, justice.

What angered me the most in the discussion about the horrific nature of Lockett’s execution was the blithe and utter refusal on the part of so many to acknowledge that his suffering was infinitely shorter and, let’s be honest, more deserved, than that of his tragic victim. Forty minutes of pain, of an inability to breathe, of the sense of suffocation as the curtains to your earthly days close upon you is nothing compared to the fear in Stephanie Neiman’s heart as she was shot and then pushed, alive, into a ditch. Imagine her pain when the dirt fell upon her head, clump by clump, and the light was forever shut out. Put yourself in her poor, battered body, stripped of dignity, of comfort, of the concerns of press types and governors and presidential press secretaries. Think of her final moments, and then consider whether half an hour of convulsions is as horrible.

That last paragraph might strike you as sadistic, and perhaps it is. But if the ability to empathize with an innocent, dying woman over the justified final reckoning of a murderer makes me a sadist, I will wear that label with no small pride.

The lawyer in me understands that we are not a nation of vigilantes, and that we must ensure that the people who are executed on our watch are guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. I’m in favor of whatever measures are necessary to make that happen. What I’m not prepared to do is weep crocodile tears for a man who was the victim of a botched execution, when the only reason he was so mightily inconvenienced was because he took an innocent life.

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Christine M. Flowers Archives

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News.

© 2014, Philadelphia Daily News. Distributed by MCT Information Services

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