Sometimes I wish I was Chinese

There is something to be said for Process.   But there is something to be said for results, as well.

They say the difference between following “process”….appreciating process….understanding process, as opposed to the age old “decision by emotion” way of doing things is the difference between a child and an adult.   In the end, having a process in place isn’t just good form, but the expression of a superior society.   It makes for a more mature, and civilized place to live.

Well, I say fuck process.   I want results.  NOW.

I’m talking about the death of my brother.  I’m talking about the length of time it has taken to try his killer, who sits in jail, well fed….clean.   Off the streets.   Certainly never to see those streets again.
It is when I think of him, that quite frankly, I wish I was Chinese, and that this had happened in China.
The son of a bitch that killed my brother would have had a bullet in his head a long time ago. 
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It’s been nearly two and a half years since that morning I arose and saw I had missed not one but several phone calls from my sister.  Strange.   I instantly worried for my father.  An Old Man, I had long since prepared and made all the arrangements.  

I usually kept my cell on mute, as not to wake me before I wanted to be awoken.   My customers were on the West Coast anyway.   But upon seeing my sister had called I untangled myself from the bronze legs beside me and gave her a quick call.

Her tone of voice told me something was wrong and I mentally braced to hear the inevitable about dad….except it was my brother’s name she mentioned.   I didn’t show any emotion.  Still I must admit while surprised I was not overly shocked.   I had last seen my brother at my grandmother’s funeral not 6 months before.   Though younger than myself, barely over 40, he had lost a lot of weight, had yellow skin and shrunken eyes with very large, dark bags.   I mentally observed he wouldn’t make it to 50.   He simply lived a hard life.

Still, I didn’t think he’d die this young.  The circumstances of his death are not important.   He was set up by a woman, and ambushed by a man.   He opened the hotel door thinking it was her, and another fellow on drugs stepped in the doorway and shot him.  Walked past him to my brothers suitcase and robbed him of several thousand dollars.   My brother perhaps lived 30 seconds.    This was March 2012.

They caught the killer a few days later.   A traffic stop of all things.   His father is in prison, too.   There were three accomplices.  All women.   Within 3 days all were in jail, and there they still sit.   The woman that set my brother up has apologized to my mom, and she is serving a 20 year sentence.
With good old fashioned biblical glee, I was very satisfied with the capture of the killer. 

“Now he will die”, I thought to myself. 
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China’s executions are down, but still higher than the rest of the world combined.

There are over 50 offenses that qualify for execution in China.

Those of you that have studiously read my posts(well done!) will know that I have written more than once on the ludicrousness of China’s death penalty process.   I.E. it’s too damn quick.   Sloppy. It’s NOT as process driven as you think.  Still, 15% of death sentences are apparently overturned to mere life imprisonment.  And of course the trials are usually SECRET.  

But at the risk of a good slap in the face by my readers in the name of Hypocrisy, well….you have my permission to start forming a line.

I like the lack of empathy that China shows for it’s truly guilty convicts.   One needs process when building a subway…a skyscraper….a bridge.   But once a person has been shown to be truly guilty of taking another life, and the proof and evidence are truly irrevocable, than put the bullet in the chamber.
I know this comes across as a turn off.  Perhaps even Crass.    But justice walks a fine line between proper Empathy and Fairness.
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Oklahoma is a “death penalty” state.  

Growing up in Oklahoma I’ve always supported the death penalty. 

However, to my surprise, it really hasn’t stopped the killing now has it?


There are approx. 50 people on Death Row in Oklahoma.   One has been there since 1984.


The average stay on Death Row is nearly 8 years.   The average age is 38. 
The shortest stay on Death Row in Oklahoma was 30 days, back  in 1922.

The first official execution was in 1915.  It was via electrocution.   The last electrocution btw was in 1966. There has been but one hanging over the past century, and that was in 1936. From 1966 until 1990 there was a moratorium on general Execution.     Lethal injection began in 1990, after the moratorium ended.


Now I realize that Oklahoma has been in the news lately, over the past couple of years, for senseless killings and botched executions. 


(My take on the above is so what?  This guy was on Death Row for a reason, which the media refuses to focus upon: he buried his victim alive)

I myself have in the past referred to Oklahoma as our “North Korea”.   Oklahoma is a state with Neanderthal policies, that will perhaps in my lifetime never vote in the majority for a Democratic Presidential Candidate.  Guns are everywhere.   Oklahoma’s approach to violent crime is simple:  more guns.

Yet Oklahoma does do something right:  it is the national model for pre K education …(you’re shocked right?)


With Oklahoma’s penchant for Death Row, one would think that the only qualification for admittance to Death Row would be having ended someone’s life.

And that is what I thought, too.

Indeed….I was quite frankly looking forward to witnessing the execution of my brothers murderer.   

Upon my hasty arrival back to the US, I had a conversation with the DA’s ofc.
20 seconds into my first conversation with the Prosecutor, I was told otherwise.

Turns out that simply killing a person in Oklahoma is not an automatic ticket to the Death Chamber.  Indeed…contrary to what I had perceived, it’s actually quite hard to be executed for killing someone in Oklahoma.    Turns out there are “rules” for this sort of thing. 

This hard bitten state towards violence has “rules”?

“Criteria”.

Indeed, there are apparently 7 criteria, only one of which needs to be met in order to qualify for execution.

I won’t write them down here….they are below.  Needless to say, to my great anger and dismay, this fellow would not be subject to the Death Penalty after all.   Merely to life in prison.

I looked into this.  The Prosecutor had a point.   Of the 623 murders that took place in Oklahoma from 2008-2010….only one lucky guy made it to Death Row. 

Just One.   

Those that did not meet the threshold received usually life. 
I’ve been told the killer of my brother will probably receive Life yet with the possibility of parole after 60 years.  

_________________ 


I like China’s noted lack of empathy for the accused.   I’m not saying they have empathy for the victim, but the process shown to date in simply getting a known killer tried and found guilty in America is exasperating.   Process blinds compassion.  It frowns upon empathy for the family of the victim.   Should there not be a sense of urgency?  Should the family be allowed a sense of closure, within a reasonable timeframe?  


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Upon hearing of the sentence my brother’s murderer would probably get, I felt great anger and emotion.   You see….I wanted to see him die.  In my lifetime.  I do not want to see him die of natural causes.   Living the life of an old man, repenting in old age.   I want him to die before he can repent.  

Living in China would allow me this luxury.

It got worse. 

My brother’s trial was originally scheduled for end of 2012.   This was the expected timeframe I had anticipated.   Then it was pushed back to June 2013.   I stayed in constant contact with the Prosecutor.  I arranged my time in China carefully.    I was ready to book my tickets back home to the trial.

Then there was another delay.  My brother’s killer…the week before the beginning of the trial suddenly said he had an alibi.  That’s right….

An alibi.

For 15 months he had sat silent.  Denied he was guilty, or even at the scene of the crime, despite the video evidence of him having arrived and left the hotel.  Despite his accomplices all having confessed(except for some inexplicable reason his dumb girlfriend).

Now on the eve of the trial, the judge had to make a decision.  I would later speak with the crime reporter for the local paper.  He admitted to being surprised that the judge would fall for such a tactic.  The judge delayed the trial.   The Prosecutor called me.   Her words were “the judge doesn’t want the verdict thrown out on a technicality upon appeal” and is thus playing it safe.

Yet it seemed to me the rights of the accused were being kept in everybody’s scope of vision.  Utmost care was being taken to address every need of the accused.  False claim, deliberate mistruth or otherwise.  

Meanwhile my father wasn’t getting any younger.  He’s 76 years old.  It seemed the State was indeed showing empathy, but to the wrong party.   The Public Defender was getting away with a grievous abuse of power, manipulating….LYING, to protect his client.   The Public Defender is not supposed to knowingly forward false data to the Judge…..right?(right?)

The trial was pushed back to August 2013.   But I knew it wouldn’t take place.  I wrote a long letter to the DA himself, and gave it to the Prosecutor.    I have neither heard from or spoken to her since.    

However, my instincts were right. 

The killer’s attorney had a massive heart attack(I believe he died, but I’m not sure….I hope he did), and as such the trial was indefinitely postponed.  

Now my mother tells me his trial is set for August 2014.  The previous delay you see had been because the previous judge recused herself, for some “conflict of interest”.    I don’t know the story.  I’ve given up tracking it.  I really have. 

I wonder if my father will live to see justice done?  I don’t know. 
But I do know if I were Chinese, the trial would be a distant memory.


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