"You're taking my life for your peace of mind? Well then LET'S GO...START THE SHOW!" --Accept, from the title track of "Death Row"

There are three concepts, I have found, that will turn a person's passions beyond reason and logic...Abortion, Gun Control, and Capital Punishment (four, if you count the Great Pumpkin). Each of these issues stir primal emotions just as hard now as they did for millenia-and-more.

Here in America, we do kill condemned murderers (currently, the only crime punishable by execution is Capital Murder or First Degree Murder with Special Circumstances, depending on the jurisdiction. Treason, especially after the Rosenberg executions, usually gets life w/o parole in a maximum-security Federal Prison). Not as many as the People's Republic of China, mind you, but many a condemned felon still meets their maker in the early-morning hours, courtesy of our judicial system.

Supporters cite Mosaic Law, economic savings, and retribution as reasons that our nation should retain-and-expand the death penalty. Opponents cite the New Testament, the Ten Commandments (#5 reads "Thou Shalt Not Kill" in the KJV version), abolition throughout most of Europe, and economic savings via a sentence of life w/o parole.

Expansion-and -contraction of the states that impose capital punishment tend to run in cycles. Currently, two states (New Mexico and New Jersey) have joined with the rest of the "No Death Penalty" states in shuttering both their death suites and condemned rows.

Of all the states that still use the death penalty (as do the Feds and the U.S. Military), Texas leads in not only total executions, but also in executions per year. Death in the Huntsville Walls Unit is by lethal injection...as it is in all but one of the states that still carry out the death penalty. Nebraska still has the electric chair legislated as it's method of judicial death.

Does execution serve as a deterrent? Get real...horrific homicides that merit execution still go on every day, even in states that are quick to do away with their condemned. Biblical justification? Mark Twain once remarked that any fool can prove anything by The Bible...and under Mosaic Law, executions were not all that common to begin with.

Economic benefits? Statistics can be cooked to serve any purpose, and a felon facing life w/o parole for a murder conviction still might get executed inside the prison...by his fellow inmates!

Retribution and revenge? There's a pair of reasons that we still have death penalty laws on the books. Back before the first civilization, a person who killed another person often faced getting killed by the victim's family. From this, we have the concepts of vendetta and blood feuds.

Upon the dawn of the first civilization, one of the powers the state reserved for itself was the one about life-and-death. And since any ruling government detests competition, unsanctioned murders (as opposed to killing in open warfare) were dealt with by killing the killer...hence, judicial executions.

The same principle applies even today. The state reserves the right to avenge murders by killing the condemned killer-in-question. The reality of many folks writing judicial systems that still use the death penalty for tickets to an execution in that state? You can either take it as a sign of the popularity of judicial-inflicted death--or that the persons requesting the tickets are in dire need of psychiatric care.

Would I watch an execution? I've seen people die before, and each death took a lot out of my soul. So, to that, I ask you this:

When the EKG goes flatline in a lethal injection execution you watched, was it really worth it?

You must answer for yourself that very question before you can truly say you'd go up to San Quentin to witness California's next lethal injection execution. For the true answer is known only to one---yourself!



CuddleFish Sept. 28, 2009 @ 8:42 p.m.

Yet, many are openly dismissive of Roman Polanski's arrest! He basically raped a thirteen-year-old girl.

By refriedgringo 5:22 p.m., Sep 28, 2009

I don't think they are dismissive of Polanski's arrest.

By Fish 5:30 p.m., Sep 28, 2009

Many are, from what I've been reading today. The French really have their lingerie in a knot over it, and even some Americans think it's over-the-top.

By refriedgringo 5:43 p.m., Sep 28, 2009

There is a difference between being outraged about the arrest, which is the point that I made in my comment, and being dismissive of his arrest. As far as I understand, and actually your post supports this, no one is being dismissive of his arrest, and let's remember that he is being arrested for being a fugitive, not for the sex crime. In fact, people are taking it very seriously. I think where the difference lies, is in whether people think he should have been arrested for being a fugitive, and whether he should face another trial and doing more time, in relation to a crime that happened thirty-one years ago, that was settled in a plea deal, for which Mr. Polanski pleaded guilty, voluntarily returned to the United States and turned himself into the authorities, and served his time, and where the judge and prosecutor engaged in serious misconduct, and where the victim herself opposes prosecution. And let me repeat here, Mr. Polanski has not been accused of another sex crime, that I am aware, in the thirty-one years following his flight.

This is not an argument for argument's sake, nor am I being dismissive of the original crime. I think a lot of people are conflating the "sex crime" with a supposed lack of punishment, when that is not the case. IMO, I think we do an injustice to the victim when we don't keep the two things separate.


SDaniels Sept. 28, 2009 @ 11:18 p.m.

refried lied: "I'm all about dumbing it down ;)"

Tu mens.


Robert Johnston Sept. 28, 2009 @ 12:53 p.m.

Oh, forgot to add a bit of news regarding this blog.

After having a chat with a couple of friends of mine, I went and printed up every entry in this blog...but for a good purpose. You see, Vista Blues is going book form!

Right now, I am transcribing each entry into Microsoft Word 2007 format and setting the entries into book form. I'll have the manuscript ready for publisher/agent review by next late spring.

This, however, does NOT mean the end of Vista Blues--far from it. I enjoy sharing my ideas with you fine folks, and will continue to do so until they pry my cold, dead fingers away from my keyboard!

The working title of the manuscript is: "VISTA BLUES--BOOK 1"

And yes, your comments on each entry (that has reader commentary) will be in the book as well.

Thank you folks for reading and enjoying my work, and I'll be back-on-blog later tonight!

Who Dares To Care, Wins! --Robbiebear


SDaniels Sept. 28, 2009 @ 11:19 p.m.

"Dignity, a pain-free and good existence, means something."

Ditto all. Now if we could just solve the rest of the human problems raised in this blog :)


David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 11:23 p.m.

SD supposed: "Tu mens"

Je ne mens jamais.


SDaniels Sept. 28, 2009 @ 1:37 p.m.

"There are three concepts, I have found, that will turn a person's passions beyond reason and logic...Abortion, Gun Control, and Capital Punishment"

If you're open to reasonable discussion on most topics, you'll be open to some on these as well, I've found.

I am hearing it costs something like 2.1 million for the process of death row housing and appeals--all the labor going into them. This is much more costly than keeping a prisoner alive for the rest of his or her (miserable) life in general population.

Just something to add to the discussion. Good luck with publishing your essays!


David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 9 p.m.

Ms. Fish: That was sort of my point, I used Polanski and Vick as examples. Dismissive was likely a poor choice of word, but I simply wanted to point out that I find it interesting that people tend to consider crime on a strange curve.


David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 1:50 p.m.

Good luck with the book, Robbie. The publishing world is a tough nut to crack these days. And for the record, I am against the death penalty, abortion, and gun control. Or rather, I am against the government having anything to do with anything.

I mean, isn't everyone against abortion and death? I've reached the conclusion that the important arguments aren't even being considered. For example, white gravy or brown? A dry wine or a very soaking wet burgundy? Mashed potatoes or baked?

These are important issues!


nan shartel Sept. 28, 2009 @ 1:54 p.m.

OK SDaniels..i marched on San Quentin when i was in my 20's because i didn't think Caryl Chessman should be put to death with the Kidnap charge when he only pick the girl up and drove her one block and decided not to molest her and let her out of the car

at that point i was against the death penalty for any reason

you're coming at this from the point of money spent..which is of course your right and a worthy argument in this financial climate

now that I'm older I'm in favor of the death penalty for child molesters as the recidivism for them is (without chemical castration) 100% if they are young to middle aged

I'm still confused about singular rape..but i put serial rapist in the same category..pull the switch...same reason...recidivism...however DNA should be used to prove the truth or falsehood of the claim that a particular individual was the perpetrator

abortion...a personal decision...but used as birth control...just heartless

Gun Control...mixed feelings on that one...convince me


nan shartel Sept. 28, 2009 @ 1:56 p.m.

hahahahahahaha refried...u are absolutely right about the importance of dining decisions....


David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 11:28 p.m.

"Now if we could just solve the rest of the human problems raised in this blog."

That part is probably easy. I think it involves free-range chickens and an unconditional love of humanity.


CuddleFish Sept. 28, 2009 @ 2:01 p.m.

Abortion, I'm not for it, but I am for a woman's right to choose.

Gun control, For it.

Death penalty, Against it.


CuddleFish Sept. 28, 2009 @ 2:01 p.m.

Oh and good luck with your book, Robbie!


David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 2:16 p.m.

"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and the whole world would soon be blind and toothless." - Mahatma Gandhi

That pretty much sums up why I'm against the death penalty.

The real issue surrounding abortion isn't even being discussed. It is about consequence of one's actions and self-responsibility. Primarily, the government has no business being involved in this issue at all. Secondarily, people have to live with their decisions. The decision to copulate without regard as to the possible outcome. The decision to get one's uterus scraped clean. But as I have counseled by daughters continually about not having unprotected sex, I also councel them that abortion is not a good option to escape personal responsibility.

So far as gun control, I live in a country where guns are illegal. Yet, it seems that half of the polulation here owns one. Therefore, I conclude that gun control doesn't work. And I don't own a gun, in case anyone is curious.

Now, can someone tell me about mashed potatoes vs. baked?! I'm getting hungry over here...


Robert Johnston Sept. 28, 2009 @ 9:23 p.m.

Yo, SDaniels: A few points to clear up here!

1: Just because I relay stories about KFC does NOT mean I eat their sleazy product in the first place! In fact, I very rarely eat out to begin with. I do all of my own cooking--and most of my meats go on the Electrobachi grill I keep here at my place. In fact, I have some chicken breast halves (with a sprinkling of lime and seasoned salt) on the grill right now.

In fact, if you had read the story I related about CH Sanders reaction to the "gravy" he was served, you see another reason that any poultry I eat..I prep-and-cook it myself. If KFC suddenly went bankrupt, I'd laugh my head off! The same for Church's "Oilier Than The Persian Gulf" Texas-Fried Chicken, or most any other fast-food joint, for that matter. Let Ronald and Jack deal with Chapter 11!

Also, I have my choice of four "made from scratch" marinades that I pop my meats into for 12-48 hours before grilling! When I have half of my apartment complex salivating...then I know that marinade will be used again!

2: La Placa Rifa is ok to call me, but know that "Robbiebear" was the nickname given to me by my late wife, as well as by two other lovers. Call me what you will, SD...just don't call on me at two in the morning with a shotgun in hand and homicide on the mind!



CuddleFish Sept. 28, 2009 @ 9:44 p.m.

Ms. Fish: That was sort of my point, I used Polanski and Vick as examples. Dismissive was likely a poor choice of word, but I simply wanted to point out that I find it interesting that people tend to consider crime on a strange curve.

By refriedgringo 9 p.m., Sep 28, 2009

Explain more about the strange curve, I find that interesting.


SDaniels Sept. 29, 2009 @ 1:43 a.m.

With an unconditional, universal love, and an assistant, and a kind Chinese gentleman, I may one day be so lucky as to have a chicken balance on my head. Upon that day bells will ring, children will sing, and the Reader will award me $500 for those electric red Christian Louboutins :)


David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 10:02 p.m.

"Explain more about the strange curve, I find that interesting."

It's simple, really. A certain percentage of the population would claim that cruelty to animals is X amount of bad compared to other crimes, and others would claim that it is really Y amount of bad. I guess my point is that you could put these people on a jury and lay down the rules and tell them not to allow their personal ideologies to affect their decisions, but I doubt that this is possible.

That's the strange curve. And even the judge has his or her own ideology. It's fairly inescapable. I reckon that's the crux of my argument against the death penalty. Our ideologies are bound to get into the way of good judgement. After all, we keep electing idiots to run our countries ;)


SDaniels Sept. 29, 2009 @ 1:45 a.m.

--a free-range chicken, with Philippe Petit-like skills.


nan shartel Sept. 28, 2009 @ 3:53 p.m.

mashed potatoes definately Refried....but you have to come to your own conclusions about what kind of gravy


Robert Johnston Sept. 28, 2009 @ 4:14 p.m.

All right...looks like we have a good, lively discussion going, w/o the slinging of mud-scented caca. Like it, love it...want some more of it!

Oh, RG--I have found that a great story on gravy comes from the history of KFC. H. Sanders devised a gravy formula that he said was so good "that you could throw away the chicken and eat the gravy."

Well, the research kitchens at KFC came up with their final formula...and presented it to Col. Sanders. Sanders took two bites, spat it out, then roared: "How are people supposed to eat that slop, with a (Golf-Delta) straw?"

The more things change...



David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 4:27 p.m.

Mashed it is! I personally enjoy the white bacon-gravy, thick and creamy. I realize how much of an issue that gravy is, so it's just my preference, okay? Let's not fight ;)


SDaniels Sept. 28, 2009 @ 5:03 p.m.

"...slinging of mud-scented caca..."--La Placa, my appetite for bubbly au gratin is now tragically impaired :)

nan: "you're coming at this from the point of money spent..which is of course your right and a worthy argument in this financial climate"

nan, $$$ is far from my first concern. I only threw that in the pot because it is important to consider a topic from all angles, and I did not see the financial raised in La Placa's blog.

For 99% of my life, I've been against the DP, but that resolve has wavered after watching a few Court TV trials. Should this thread yield a serious discussion, I'd be grateful for the input. The resolve-wavering happens when I became aware of the facts of cases such as that of Michael King, recently convicted and sentenced to death for the horrific killing of Denise Amber Lee. Listen to her brave 911 call on her captor's cell phone from the back of his car--if you can. It is hard to take.


There are so many other victims, of course. The first case that turned my stomach--and resolve--almost 180 degrees? Jessica Lunsford.


Then again, cases like that of Cameron Todd Willingham, very likely wrongly executed(recently rehashed in the New Yorker), takes me back in the other direction. I am very thankful for the work of law students and profs on the Innocence Project--which almost redeems Barry Scheck, who along with so many, shamed themselves during the first OJ trial.



The one thing I'd like to point out, friends. You are all thoughtful, rational human beings; the kind who should be represented on juries, but maybe can't for trials in which DP is an option? We shouldn't leave such important issues, and trials to folk who are too certain of their views, either...At any rate, convince me to return to my former position, please!


CuddleFish Sept. 29, 2009 @ 12:43 a.m.

"Now if we could just solve the rest of the human problems raised in this blog."

That part is probably easy. I think it involves free-range chickens and an unconditional love of humanity.

By refriedgringo 11:28 p.m., Sep 28, 2009

Ding, ding, ding, ding, I think we got a winner, folks!!!


SDaniels Sept. 28, 2009 @ 5:14 p.m.

11: PS: La Placa (sorry, I just cannot refer to you as "robbiebear" for some reason--feels like talking to a four-year-old :)

Not to hijack the thread in another direction, but I do hope that you reconsider your support of KFC. Can you perhaps separate out the issues from your problems with Peta? They are selling a diseased product produced in the most unsanitary and morally reprehensible of ways.

There exist options for eating chicken that are healthier and more environmentally sound. Why don't you buy yourself a free-range carcass and a deep fryer? Experiment with your own sauces? Restaurants conscious of these issues also exist, and will provide you with an awesome coq au vin or chicken cordon bleu, or country fried? :)


nan shartel Sept. 28, 2009 @ 10:04 p.m.

well the gravy recipe was very titillating SDaniel..yum yum...shivers run down my esophagus to my anxious waiting stomach below

DP I'm just so squeamish about it...like i don't like to be cast in the image and likeness of GOD...maybe that a cowardly attitude on my part

if everyone backed away from being involved in these kinds of decisionary tasks what kind of environment would we be living in

the death penalty moves out of the rationalization area of my mind...out of that place of philosophically detaching from the living human being at the end of the rope or the three syringes each moving smoothly and soundlessly down one after another

and so i must admit I'm still on "the horns of a dilemma" on this one...i recluse myself and leave it for wiser heads then my own to logially and carefully sort the whole issue out

wonderful discussion SDaniel...thx for bringing it


CuddleFish Sept. 28, 2009 @ 5:18 p.m.

I agree with you about the Innocence Project, thank God for them, and really for that matter thank God for DNA testing, it has revolutionized the justice system, we don't have to rely on eye witnesses who are notoriously bad at IDing, cops who lie, crooked assistant DAs, judges who don't know beans about the law and interpret it any way they want.

I have never been seated on a DP case, and would never want to be. It's tough just sitting on a criminal case where you know someone could go to jail depending on your verdict.

The link you provided about Denise, where are the audio files?


SDaniels Sept. 28, 2009 @ 10:10 p.m.

re: #29: Thanks go to LaPlaca (who sounds like a great cook, though not of free-range chicken :) for bringing this up, nan--this gentleman's blog :)


rickeysays Sept. 29, 2009 @ 2:10 a.m.

But what if I have an unconditional love for KFC?


David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 5:22 p.m.

The problem with allowing the State to kill as punishment for a crime, ideologically, is the biggest problem I have with the death penalty. It isn't that certain criminals don't deserve to die horrid and slow, painful deaths, it's in permitting a government to decide their fate. I don't think that society should leave that decision in the hands of politicians, nor should they task a jury to decide a person's life or death.

The problem with people is that they're people. We're emotional bastards! Most people went nuts when Michael Vick killed dogs. No surprise there, I certainly don't think he got what he deserved for it. Yet, many are openly dismissive of Roman Polanski's arrest! He basically raped a thirteen-year-old girl.

My point isn't whether one crime outweighs the other, it's that - based on my example above - the human race doesn't seem to be capable of keeping their emotions out of their decisions. And when such decisions involve a death sentence, I'm inclined to think that a mistake is going to be made sooner or later. I don't want to be a part of such an error. That's why I'm against it.


nan shartel Sept. 28, 2009 @ 10:12 p.m.


wow...I had no trouble at all taking a stand on animal cruelty!!


nan shartel Sept. 28, 2009 @ 10:17 p.m.

i'll call u Robbiebear La Placa...but understand i only do so as a sign of complete respect for your wife and two lovers


CuddleFish Sept. 28, 2009 @ 5:30 p.m.

I don't think they are dismissive of Polanski's arrest. I think people are, and should be, outraged that the judge reneged on a plea deal. Whatever the merits of the case, and we don't know all the facts, but let's assume the worst, the judge (who surely knew what he was doing) made a ruling. You can't go back and say, Oops, changed my mind. Further, I think Polanski would have come back a long time ago had he had some assurances that he wasn't going to face another trumped-up trial circus. By the way, y'all ready to hang the man, fine, I got no problem with that. I do note that Mr. Polanski has not had any more incidents of sex crimes since that time, that I am aware of. And I do note that his victim, if that's what she was, has said she was over it and didn't want him to go to jail. Last, in the intervening years, Polanski has given the world some great art. His human failings, like Michael Jackson and so many other troubled geniuses, are part of the package.


SDaniels Sept. 28, 2009 @ 5:40 p.m.

Attention Gravy Seekers:

I posted this recipe a while ago on the Reader site, and they awarded me a $25 certificate to a restaurant for it. However, when the envelope arrived, it was open and empty :) Meaning to write them back about this...Anyway, it is a tasty gravy, goes well with mashed, to be sure:



David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 5:43 p.m.

"I don't think they are dismissive of Polanski's arrest."

Many are, from what I've been reading today. The French really have their lingerie in a knot over it, and even some Americans think it's over-the-top. But my point wasn't about Polanski. It's more about how we tend to react to crime, in general. We tend to classify crime, sort of along the lines of our ideology. To ask us, then, to decide whether or not someone deserves to die for their crimes isn't fair, neither to us nor to the criminal, in my opinion.


SDaniels Sept. 29, 2009 @ 11:13 p.m.

"But what if I have an unconditional love for KFC?

By rickeysays"

Yeah, well, too bad it isn't JUST your problem. The rest of us have to deal with the environmental fallout from these places, even if we don't eat there.


CuddleFish Sept. 28, 2009 @ 6:21 p.m.

Was me that asked, thanks SD, will have a listen.


CuddleFish Sept. 29, 2009 @ 9:48 a.m.

But what if I have an unconditional love for KFC?

By rickeysays 2:10 a.m., Sep 29, 2009

We're dreamers, man. But we're not the only ones.

I hope someday you'll join us. And the world will live as one.

Dreamers, man.


David Dodd Sept. 28, 2009 @ 10:27 p.m.

By the way, Robbie, I have to check in with this:

"There are three concepts, I have found, that will turn a person's passions beyond reason and logic...Abortion, Gun Control, and Capital Punishment..."

Or, really, sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. I'm all about dumbing it down ;)


CuddleFish Sept. 28, 2009 @ 10:40 p.m.

I agree about the standard chicken farmer, nan. Free-range chickens are a different matter. Same with free-range cattle.

Dignity, a pain-free and good existence, means something.


antigeekess Sept. 28, 2009 @ 7:47 p.m.

Abortion, Gun Control, and the Death Penalty? Really?

Abortion: All hot air until the question "When does life begin?" is answered (and my answer, although perfectly logical, doesn't make anybody happy).

Gun Control: A little late, ain't it? I suppose we could start, but the horse is already outta the barn on that one, I'm afraid.

Death Penalty: If guilt is absolutely certain (irrefutable DNA & such), I'm okay with it. I'm from Texas, where as Ron White has observed, we're putting in an Express Lane. :)

Saw an interesting story a couple weeks ago. My home state also says it's sorry in a BIG way if you happen to get thrown in jail there for a couple decades and are later proven innocent:


Quite a few of them, apparently, which is why the "if guilt is absolutely certain" caveat where the death penalty is concerned.

And please don't call it the DP. That's Dr. Pepper, which is like, TOTALLY a (Dallas) Texas thang! :)


SDaniels Sept. 28, 2009 @ 7:52 p.m.

AG, you'll have to deal with it. No one at any US court entity calls it anything but DP. Cutting two syllables saves a lot of time, something we need our bureaucracies to do better :)

Fishikins, I hope you took your sedative before listening to that.


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