Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at Flickr at Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court:

20 May 2006

Kumbaya ringin' in my ears

Well, I should've figured the guilt-ridden hippies wouldn't stay quiet all too long after I wrote last week's column calling for the execution of a cop killer. This, even though I've heard from several law-enforcement officers thanking me for publicly saying what's on most of their minds (Some of those letters will appear in next week's issue).
Guess some folks can't see past their Free Mumia paraphernalia. Whoever can find an explanation as to why cop killers shouldn't be executed wins a free vat of tofu.
(Names withheld, and spelling errors kept intact.)

"Like you, I believe the murder of Officer Gary Skerski was a real tragedy. It saddens me, just like every murder does. What also saddens and sickens me is the way you exploited his death and used it as a platform for advocating the death penalty in your article "Leathal Rejection" which appeared in the City Paper this week. Shame on you. Your use of emotionalism in the article typifies the only tactic those who support the death penalty have left to latch on to. After all, it is irrefutable that the capital punishment system is discriminatory, does not deter crime, and legitimizes an irreversible act of state violence. Indeed, the death penalty is a system that is crumbling under its own moral weight, and one day will collapse completely.The bottom line is an execution cannot logically be used to condemn a killing. Does the person who murdered Officer Gary Skerski deserve to spend his life in jail? Yes. Absolutely. But killing someone to show that killing people is wrong leaves this society, already entrenched in a culture of violence, in an even deeper quandary." (this one came from a fella whose name is all over Amnesty International anti-death-penalty sites yet, if he's the same guy, opted not to include that in the letter)

This is in answer to your editorial on the death penalty. The alternative to the death penalty is not "living on your block", but life in prison without parole - a sentence that could hardly be called soft on crime. It is also important to note that an IQ in the 50's means mental redardation, and the supreme court has ruled that executing people with mental retardation is unconstitutional.

And finally:

In response to the editorial by Brian Hickey entitled: " Lethal Rejection" I want simply to distinguish between fact and rhetoric.
Fortunately our country was founded on, and still attempts to preserve, fundamental principles of equal justice for all and equal protection under the law. We have a justice system which often operates in ways that disappoint and frustrate, but the underlying principles are sound.

Laws are in place precisely so that emotions do not replace good judment and reason in the meting out of punishment. Mr. Hickey resorts to inflammatory and defamatory language to argue justice in a case where most Americans would agree that the victim was tragically and undeservedly slain. He uses perjorative words to describe the killer at least 7 times (soulless scumbag, yellow-eyed cop-killer, monster, etc.) while suggesting a "shoot-first" response would be appropriate. He then scoffs at the Supreme Court's ruling in 2003 that the execution of the mentally retarded (not "mentally impaired" as used by Mr. Hickey) is unconstitutional and questions whether we would want such murderers living on our block, an invented outcome as the alternative to a Death Penalty sentence is life in prison WITHOUT PAROLE. While Mr. Hickey appears to dismiss the finding, well documented in Pennsylvania, that blacks are disproportionally sentenced to die, I applaud the attempt to make our justice system live up to its promise of "equal justice for all."

Also, Philadelphia Will Do, Philadelphia Weekly's outsourced blog, kindly (albeit sarcastically) mentioned my piece on Friday.

(hippie photo taken from the University of Michigan Web site)


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