Friday, April 15, 2005

 

Credit where due

The Express-News has done an excellent job of featuring news from the current legislative session in a special section they call "The Lege". A couple of notes from there today:

Life Without Parole

It looks like we will finally have a "life without possibility of parole" sentence. As a Catholic, I am pleased that Texas now meets the doctrinal requirement to enable me to oppose capital punishment in most cases.

Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm—without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself—the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically non-existent."

I quote that doctrine at length because people are constantly accusing the Church of hypocrisy in unconditional opposition to abortion but not capital punishment...as you see, the church's position is firm, but allows for exceptions - for example, in my opinion, incarceration of Osama bin Laden would pose a continuing threat to society due to the undoubtedly bloody and persistent efforts which would be made by terrorists to effect his freedom.

As an added bonus, the bill reached compromise by removing the old "life with parole after 40 years" option, which conflicts with the above teaching by allowing the possibility of eventually releasing a dangerous murderer back into society.

State Senator without a Clue

A bill was approved to display race on Texas driver's licenses. Thankfully, the bill was amended to allow Texans the option of refusing to include this information. Nice of them to allow us to at least strive to get past racial obsession.

Unfortunately, the debate gave racebaiting senator Royce West another opportunity to put his ignorance/hypocrisy on display - twice!

West later added in an interview, "In a perfect world, we shouldn't have to look at race, but the reality is that we look at race, and it divides us every day."
Yes, it divides us every day, Senator...thanks to people like you.
But West said there is a "huge problem" in collecting statistics on stops because the information isn't displayed on the license.

He said that law officers often must make a visual determination of race and such perceptions aren't always accurate.

Wow. Step back for a moment and reflect on this. Disregard for now the fact that so-called "racial profiling" has been shown to be a statistical myth, supported only by anecdotal accounts.

Just look more closely at what West is saying: law officers cannot tell a person's race, so it needs to be placed on a driver's license...so the law officer will know for sure...the same law officer who has been accused of "racially profiling" the driver! According to West, a law officer, from 30 or 40 feet away, maybe through tinted auto glass at high speed, can determine a driver's race in order to "racially profile" him - but the same officer cannot tell the driver's race from two feet away as he is handed the driver's license!

Can you imagine the level of ideological blindness required for West to not see this obvious contradiction?

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