Return To Paradise

In this movie (set in Malaysia), a young man has been sentenced to die for trafficking in hashish (anyone found holding more than x grams of hash is assumed to be a trafficker).  In fact, there were 3 men in possession of the hash but they'd left the previous day.  Had they been present, the penalty would have been a prison sentence and not death.  Through a series of events, the State Department quietly puts together a deal where the man will serve a few years and be released.

At the man's final hearing, the presecution asks the judge for leniency and the judge goes to his chambers to ponder the lower sentence.  During this time, a newspaper article appears decrying Malaysia's attempt to execute a Western man for such a "small" crime.  The judge is angered by the international distain for Malaysia's rule of law and throws out the plea bargain.  The man is hung the next day.

I wonder if something similar happened in the Karla Faye Tucker execution.  The Parole Board and Governor Bush, faced with  mountains of appeals (national and international) to give Karla mercy, were forced to follow extremely strict rules of behavior rather than be seen as weak.  The intense public scrutiny of clemency process forced them to proceed as if Karla's case were exectly the same as any other case.  Now, normally this is a good thing.  Unfortunately, most of the world doesn't understand why we killed a person who is no threat to anyone.  In other words, "the same as any other case" is a bad thing because the entire process stinks.

Put in those terms, this scenerio was highly likely.  I think this makes Texas seem even more blood-thirsty, though.  Rather than use Karla's situation to take a step toward mercy and civilized justice, Texas fell back on a pattern of lack of mercy.  Texas' cruelty was brilliantly spotlighted for the entire world to see.  Is it any wonder that most Texans still believe Karla needed to die?  To believe otherwise is to admit we were wrong and Texans are nothing if not stubborn and independent.

Well, at least some of us Texans know the value of mercy.