Monday, June 12, 2006

In the news, the headline reads “Papal Nuncio hails RP abolition of death penalty.”

The news writes “PAPAL Nuncio Fernando Filoni has hailed the abolition of the death penalty law by Congress, saying this reflects the government's respect for life.”

If abolition of death penalty means respect for life, what does it say to those whose lives were not respected by such offenders? Where does one draw the line between being humane and being just?

Below are excerpts from two US Supreme Court Justices Harry A. Blackmun and Antonin Scalia. Blackmun begins his opinion with a description of how death penalty is administered:

"Bruce Edwin Callins will be executed by the state of Texas. Intravenous tubes attached to his arms will carry the instrument of death, a toxic fluid designed specifically for the purpose of killing human beings. The witnesses...will behold Callins...strapped to a gurney, seconds away from extinction. Within days, or perhaps hours, the memory of Callins will begin to fade. The wheels of justice will churn again, and somewhere, another jury or another judge will have the...task of determining whether some human being is to live or die."

Scalia replies with a description of the murders committed:
"Justice Blackmun begins his statement by describing with poignancy the death of a convicted murderer by lethal injection. He chooses, as the case in which to make that statement, one of the less brutal of the murders that regularly come before us, the murder of a man ripped by a bullet suddenly and unexpectedly, with no opportunity to prepare himself and his affairs, and left to bleed to death on the floor of a tavern. The death-by-injection which Justice Blackmun describes looks pretty desirable next to that. It looks even better next to some of the other cases currently before us, which Justice Blackmun did not select as the vehicle for his announcement that the death penalty is always unconstitutional, for example, the case of the 11-year-old girl raped by four men and then killed by stuffing her panties down her throat. How enviable a quiet death by lethal injection compared with that!"

We live in a world where values are warped.

Note: check out Angel on DeathRow, a documentary of Frontline, the (PBS) Public Broadcasting Service's flagship public affairs series.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Irregardless. I often get uneasy whenever I hear this word. The word “irregardless” is redundant. The negative prefix “ir” and the negative suffix “less” makes it a “double negative.”

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Fourth Edition reads:

Irregardless is a word that many mistakenly believe to be correct usage in formal style, when in fact it is used chiefly in nonstandard speech or casual writing. Coined in the United States in the early 20th century, it has met with a blizzard of condemnation for being an improper yoking of irrespective and regardless and for the logical absurdity of combining the negative ir– prefix and –less suffix in a single term. Although one might reasonably argue that it is no different from words with redundant affixes like debone and unravel, it has been considered a blunder for decades and will probably continue to be so.