Friday, September 14, 2007


Pictures from Holton Service and Vigil

We are so very lucky at TCASK to have two AMAZING photogs in Harry and Karan Simpsons. I mean seriously, these two are pros. The emotion that these photos represent is matched by the quality of the pictures themselves.

Thank you so much Harry and Karan!

Edit, we have received more pictures that Karan took, the link to see them can be found below.

New set of pictures can be found HERE.

First set of pictures can be found HERE.
Comments :
In your pictures of the vigil it seemed that you were all honoring the life and deeds of Daryl Holton. I was curious how you could all pay such respects to a man who had exectued his on children simply becuase he felt that he didn't get to see them enough. Obviously Crystle Holton had solid grounds for not allowing visitation. Holton was a MURDERER how do you all justify what he did? And why should I pay for any murderers to sit in a prison and have a bed to sleep on and food to eat? To take a life is terrible. On that I'm sure we agree. But to allow a life to continue after it has stolen a life is far worse. No man or woman deserves to live after killing FOUR CHILDREN. And no man deserves to be held up as a saint for killing. No man.
First of all, let me say that the pictures of the vigil you held for a convicted murderer appauled me. How on God's green earth can you all sit around with your guitars and candles and bibles to honor life, a life of a man who didn't deserve to live. I am a firm believer in life and the preservatrion of it, but Daryl Holton forfeited his right to life when he took the lives of his children. He put a gun to their heads and pulled the trigger and you are trying to tell me that this man deserves to live when he took that right away from his own CHILDREN? No, I am sorry, but he does not. You cannot ask the taxpayers of this state to take care of the murderers you are trying to keep alive. A life for a life? To me, that is fair. Keeping him alive? That is not. The death penalty is not necessary? So, let me ask you this . . . if it were your children he killed, your child's life he took away, would you feel the same? Have you even thought to put yourself in their mother's shoes and try to understand how she feels? You think your being a fair and just person, an upholder of right and wrong? To me, and many of those I've talked to, you are being naive. And you seem blinded by the fact that this man is a MURDERER. I see it for what it really is? What I don't understand is why you can't even try to do the same.
In your pictures of the vigil it seemed that you were all honoring the life and deeds of Daryl Holton :
Nope not really - nor sure how you percieved that.

To take a life is terrible. On that I'm sure we agree.:
Yes we do. Where you take it a step further is where we disagree. I personally believe that we don't have the right to decide when another human being's right to live is forfieted. Why are folks so eager to kill other people for killing other people. I really don't understand that.
My main objection to the death penalty is what it does to my spirit when I decide it is OK for me to take a life. The state takes the life. By virtue of my being a citizen I am part of the state and I don't like the idea of me taking a life. The real question isn't should a person be put to death, but do I have the almighty right to make the decision to take theirs. In my work with death row clients and murder victims' family survivors there are a lot of questions regarding responsibility and culpability. Forget mental illness and other issues often argued. Killing someone creates pain for someone else. Daryl's mother and siblings will never get over this. And I am not so righteous I get to exact this so called justice.
lamont, I could not have said it better. Imagine the fear in those children, right before he killed them. he was not mentally ill, he had the wherewithall to take them to mcdonalds and to the arcade right before. The poor mother of those children...she will never get over the pain of the loss of her four INNOCENT children.
I often wish that death penalty proponents could differentiate between justifying what a person did, or calling them a saint, and saying that the state should not kill. I don't think that anyone has ever said that Holton's crime was justified - it obviously wasn't in any conceivable way. But that does not mean that I think that the state should kill him. It cannot right the wrong of the crime, and, as several of the above posts have pointed out, it cannot ever bring closure to someone who has lost a loved one. But it does make me, as a citizen, a participant in a death (and it costs far more money to tax payers than life without parole- I wish people would stop citing money as a reason to kill).
Karan's photos are at
How much would it please God if none of us sought to kill another! I look forward to that day.
I think that the pro-DP posters make valid points. While you have not held up Holton as a paragon of virtue, your posts do tend to hold up murderers as victims. Harbison is a victim of racism, Workman was innocent, Reid is nuts etc. etc. That tends to irritate a lot of people, and it tends to reinforce the view that you are, to a certain extent, minimizing what they have done.

Let's not forget that someone associated with TCASK labeled a killer a "former murderer". It's rhetoric like this (coupled with the tendency to take every claim in a defense brief at face value) that gives people the suspicion that you guys are soft on murderers and don't really care all that much about the victims. It reminds me of people who wear "Che" t-shirts. No, I don't think that people who wear those t-shirts support the murder of homosexuals for being homosexuals or anything else that this hard-core instrument of tyranny did, but rather that such outrages are, sotto voce, excused. Your goal is to eliminate capital punishment, and that's fine, and I don't think that you support murder, but I do think that you are soft on it. I suspect, in your heart of hearts, that, to you, the execution of Daryl Holton is more of an outrage than his ghastly murders of innocent children. Such a position cannot be logically justified, and it is morally obtuse. This view allows you to denigrate the justice system (something which endeavors to keep us all safe) and jurors--something which is offputting outside the echo chamber.

As for your quip about death being more expensive. Maybe it is, and maybe it is not (if you think the death penalty a deterrent, then the death penalty may be a bargain--also, its effect of encouraging plea deals cannot be understated, and that's a significant cost issue that is NEVER taken into consideration in the cost analyses). However, most people who believe in capital punishment think that the current regime of endless appeals is complete nonsense and is responsible for the excess costs.

Traveling Jesuit, your casual dismissal of the tax dollar argument is interesting. You wish such arguments would go away because, to you, they are not valid--but I just came up with two reasons why the death penalty may have some hidden cost savings. Will you address them? And, why are you so certain?
Those who are charged with murder and convicted by the state with a sentence of the death penalty are victims because the state kills them. They are victims by state sanctioned killing. What we point out that might be deemed as labeling these individuals as victims are all examples of mitigating evidence. It is the court's job to weigh this mitigating evidence against aggravators to determine whether or not the death penalty is a suitable form of punishment. Everything we put out there is based on facts. Racism aside, Harbison's case is rife with error, please take a look at the case summary. Workman was not innocent of causing the death of Lt. Oliver, but there is a lot of evidence in support of the notion that his bullet did not kill him. To dismiss Reid's mental capacity and clear insanity as quibbling is troubling to me. I do not believe that the state should be executing people with mental illness, many people support that notion. It's almost as if you believe that we believe that EVERYONE on death row is innocent--clearly this is not the case.

At the service and vigil, we ALWAYS remember the victims of the crime. This isn't done in some sort of attempt to defuse what we are doing at that point. We do it because we are conducting a service and vigil to remember all victims of violence.

I was the one who used the term "former murderer" as I was describing the folks who helped Juan Melendez learn English while on Florida's death row. I am amazed that this is being rehashed and it is indicative of the ability of proponents to stay focused on the missteps of another. I'm not sure whether I was right or wrong in saying "former murderer," but I believe in forgiveness and rehabilitation. The death penalty provides no option for either.

Deterrence and cost are issues that expose how bungled up this policy is. There are many arguments and studies to support both sides in both issues. However, I do believe that it is widely accepted that to seek out the death penalty of one individual costs more than to not. I believe that you are wasting your time attempting to argue that the death penalty has some "hidden cost savings."
Wow, Ike. Long post. Here are some responses:

1) The cost issue. Yeah, it costs more to seek death than not, when you look at the one case--but that's not really the point. The issue is whether the death penalty as a whole "costs more", and the jury's out on that one. You guys just want to look at one aspect of costs divorced from all others. That's a pretty big flaw, and it means that Traveling Jesuit's dismissal of the arguments of the pro-death people here looks pretty silly. And you yourself are now saying that there are studies to support both sides on the deterrence issue, so how can you guys, with straight faces, simply say that the death penalty does not deter?

2) Ike, I am quite familiar with Workman's case--I was just pointing out that you accepted his arguments as fact--they are not. Also, I didn't dismiss Reid's evidence or anything else like that--my point is that you make these guys out to be victims on a par with real murder victims, and that's offputting. And I don't think Harbison's case is rife with error. His crime was death eligible, and he got death.

3) Funny how you guys can never answer a pretty nasty charge, i.e., that to you, executions are more of an outrage than murder. Your post drips with the moral equivalence of executions and murder (N.B. when you lump in murder victims and execution "victims" and decry "cycle of violence", you are equating executions with murder, and that's a no-no to most people).

4) Ike, these sentences: "Deterrence and cost are issues that expose how bungled up this policy is. There are many arguments and studies to support both sides in both issues." are incoherent. If the jury's out, then how does that fact make the policy bungled?

5) The former murderer stuff is simply evidence of how you guys think. There is ample evidence that you guys, in your fight to win (and show the world how moral you are) are willing to understate the outrage that is murder.

6) So, when are you going to defend the 17%/40% comparison?
Primary anon and anon and whoever else you call yourself:
It is offensive to me (your objective I'm sure) to say that we would side with the murderer over the victim. That's just not the case and I don't see where you pulled that together from.
It might appear from the attention to mitigating circumstances that we are soft on murderers - we're really just hard on a system that IS not working well for anyone involved. A system that kills people in a methodical way.
You seem to think we are more moral than you. Where did you get that?
Let's drop the personal attacks and snide remarks.
harry, let's calm down and see what was actually written--what I said was that the posters here seem to be more outraged by executions than by murders. I think that a very easy take-away from what gets posted here for the reasons I have mentioned.

Is that offensive, perhaps, but I think it a fair impression. Happy to be wrong . . . .
I get what anonymous is saying about abolitionists coming across as though executions are more outrageous than the illegal killing of people. At a distance, appearances can be quite deceiving. It might help proponents of the DP to know more about the make up of TCASK. There are several members who are murder victim's family survivors. I believe if these surviving family members of murder saw this organization being soft on the violent killing of their loved ones they would most certainly speak out.

A couple reasons Hector Black gives for not wanting the DP to avenge his daughter's death have to do with what the justice system does to victims in death penalty cases. I work on the legal end of this mess and the way victims are treated all the way around is troubling. One other thing that bothered Hector was when he found out the man who murdered his daughter was born in a mental institution and that his mother tried to drown him and did drown his sister in front of him. Hector has never come close to being a lightweight around this issue and he understands what it means to be a victim up close. The DA in his daughter's case told him if his family did not go along with his push for the death penalty and if they talked to the defense to find out about the man who killed Trish they would be considered enemies of the prosecution and be given no more information on her case. How's that for caring?

When a legal team is preparing for a murder case for trial we are very aware of the pain of the victim's family members. We would love to be able to talk to them about the person they loved and help them understand what the process is about, but the legal system is set up to be adversarial. It's an us against them mentality. For us to make an approach is often seen as our being insensitive. So many times we do not make an approach out of respect. We always try, but we cannot force it. Abolitionists reap the unfortunate fallout from that system. It can come across that if someone is against the death penalty they must automatically be against victims also.
Fantastic response Susan!
Clearly, the DA's response in that case was outrageous--no doubt about that.

With respect to whether you guys are "soft" on murderers or whatever, I can only go by what is written here by people who purport to speak for TCASK.

You see a lot of moral equivalence here--the "cycle of violence" description is unfortunate as it presupposes a moral equivalent between capital punishment and murder. Calling people like Workman a "victim" is in the same vein. Saying that the state should not kill is different from saying that Workman is a victim. He is not. He was where he was because of conscious actions on his part. He may have been redeemed or what have you, but he was not a victim. He was a killer. People here have actually labelled executions as "murder". How's that for moral equivalence?

The other problem, in my view, is the depths to which people here will sink. I am sorry, but Stacy's post clearly points the racism finger at Harbison's jury. That is wrong, and it begs the question of why people are willing to trash law-abiding jurors for the sake of some killer. The only answer I can come up with is that the ends justify the means. Moreover, there appears to be no sympathy for people who do want their loved one's killer to be executed here. None.

Additionally, the blithe dismissal of deterrence studies is really dismissive of the possibility that unnamed victims' lives are less important than those on the row.

These statements etc. leave one with the unmistakable impression that you guys are more outraged about executions than you are about actual murders. And no one here has said, "Anonymous, murder is far more of an outrage than legal execution." Why can't you guys make that statement? It's a simple one to make. Honestly, I think that you guys, in your heart of hearts, think that the state killing of Holton was worse than his killing of his children. Maybe I am wrong. But I doubt it.

So Ike, are you going to defend the 17%/40% comparison or is that just so much propaganda that abolitionists are willing to spout for the cause.
You ask that someone state that victims are more important than statement above I think indicated that but you choose to not hear or not recognize what you want. And it is quite tiring. I started to bring up our members that were victims and family members of victims but felt that the ol Pearls Before Swine rule would be broken if I did because I know how little you value life and people's feelings. Your main objective is to bait and antagonize here, and I for one will not respond to your childish rantings anymore. Got to save my energy for making a difference not volleying with anonymous crackpots. And I really don't doubt that the two girls that posted above (who we've never heard from agtain) and the other anonymouses are really all the same.
I ask a simple thing, viz., for someone here to state that murder is far more of an outrage than execution. So far, no one can seem to do that.

And I only post as anonymous.
There are many responses I could make to the "anonymous" poster but basically I say "No human being -you or another one - has the right to play God and methodically kill another human being, period. I also say that there is no moral difference between legal (executions) and illegal murder - both victimize a family of survivors. I am the survivor of a suicide in my family and so can relate somewhat to those who lose someone they love by violence. No one - no one - victim's family or inmate's family - should go through that.

So, stop trying to play God, and stop trying to find righteousness in state killing - murder is no different from an execution - the latter just whitewashes and adds dishonesty to homicide by ignoring the victims it creates and by promising something it can't deliver."
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