#53 September/October 2001
The Washington Free Press Washington's Independent Journal of News, Ideas & Culture
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Urban Work


Reel Underground


Goodbye Glaciers Hello Wildfires

Richest Nations Urged to Create Green Taxes

‘Drill, Dig, Destroy and Pollute’
Enviros Blast Bush ‘Conservation’ Measures

Are You Kyoto Compliant?
Take the following quiz and see if you meet international standards for fighting global warming.

UN: Poor will Suffer the most
The poorest and least adaptable parts of the world will suffer most from climate change over the next 100 years, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

US Coastal Areas Most Threatened by Climate Change
by Cat Lazaroff

Europe Tests WTO on Caged Hen Rules

Gary Condit, Feminist Icon & Maria Cantwell, President?
by Mike Seely, contributor

Amnesty needed
Bush “Guest Worker” Program a Trojan Horse to Bust Labor
by David Bacon, contributor

Why People Hate Lawyers
fiction by John Merriam, contributor and attorney-at-law

Pesticide Potpourri

Mercury in your Mouth
“Silver” dental fillings are increasingly recognized as a health risk
by Christine Johnson

Widespread Toxic Exposure
The CDC says there are too many chemicals in our bodies
By Cat Lazaroff, Environment News Service

Bush: Empty Palabras?
opinion by Domenico Maceri, contributor

Periodical Praise
Nudie-phobes should stop badgering librarians
opinion by Jim Sullivan, contributor

Take Aim At Bad Ads
by Linda Formichelli, contributor

Democracy on a Rear Bumper
by Glenn Reed, contributor

Political Pix

Fast Food Not Fast Enough: Take Time Out for Dinner
opinion by Jim Matorin, contributor

Slow Food Catching on Fast

Is Bush shooting for the world execution record?
opinion by Sean Carter


opinion by Sean Carter

With the recent executions of Timothy McVeigh and Juan Raul Garza, the federal government has now executed more prisoners in a two-week period than it had in the previous 38 years. And considering that George W. Bush is now the President, this number can only be expected to skyrocket during the next four years.

As Governor of Texas, George “The Texecutioner” Bush held the proud distinction of being the deadliest governor in US history. In five years of “compassionate conservatism,” Texas executed 152 inmates, including a record-breaking 40 executions in 2000 alone.

During this peak year, Bush averaged an execution every nine days. Furthermore, he racked up a whopping seven executions in both January and May. And in August, he accomplished a “daily double” by executing two prisoners on the same day in the same prison.

In fact, if Texas were a country, it would have ranked fifth in executions during Bush’s reign. Of course, as President, fifth place will no longer be good enough. During his term, he will do his best to make sure that America is Number One.

Unfortunately for the Texecutioner, his path to the record books will not be free of obstacles. In 21st- century America, the only inmates on death row are the mentally retarded, insane or innocent. After all, everyone else had the good sense to plead out to life without parole. However, recent events within and outside of the legal system, are further shrinking the number of possible “executees.”

For one, the US Supreme Court recently overturned the death sentence of John Paul Penry, a mentally retarded Texas inmate. As governor, Bush denied Penry’s requests for clemency despite the fact that Penry has the mind of a seven-year old as he likes to play with coloring books and still believes in Santa Claus.

The Penry case was decided on procedural issues and does not ban all executions of mentally retarded inmates. In the fall, the Supreme Court will rule on this issue in a case involving a North Carolina inmate believed to have the mind of a 10-year-old.

Nevertheless, the Penry case has thrust the issue of executing mentally retarded inmates into the spotlight. In response, the legislatures of Florida and Texas have joined 12 other states and recently passed laws banning such executions. Perhaps surprisingly, Jeb Bush, the Governor of Florida and First Brother, signed the Florida bill into law.

Furthermore, the recent execution of a schizophrenic inmate in Ohio has caused an international uproar. Amnesty International and the European Union both decried the Ohio execution.

Lastly, continuing advances in forensic science are threatening to diminish the last class of death row inmates—the innocent. Each year, DNA evidence and other new technologies are being used to free more and more wrongfully convicted death row inmates. This will further reduce Bush’s pool of potential “executees.”

However, no one should underestimate Bush’s ability to “get things done,”—especially when it comes to executions.

Sean Carter is an attorney. He can be reached by e-mail at scarter926@yahoo.com.

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